The choice is yours, just
like the old chorus from the classic Black Sheep single, many people have the
choice to start something new or just follow the norm. By way of Togo, West
Africa , Tabi Bonney, now native to Washington, D.C, is not one to follow a trend,
but more so to do his own thing. Born to afro-funk star Itadi Bonney, Tabi has
grown up in the midst of the music business and as a result has seen and heard
and learned a lot from a young age.
First relocating to the
States and discovering Hip-Hop then in
his college years he forming up with fellow friend and student Haziq Ali to
form the group Organized Rhyme that swept the listeners ears and had gotten
them recognized as players in the D.C. Hip-Hop movement. With the Raheem
Devaughn assisted single "Doin' It." But it wasnt until his first solo A Fly
Guys Theme debut that solidified him as a major player getting records
that were hits like the "Pocket" and You.
Now hes is back with a new
single "Syce It" thats getting views on Youtube, and a burgeoning clothing
line set to make noise. AllHipHop.com spoke to the MC/entrepreneur
to find out what makes him different from the rest of the pack and how he wants
to leave his mark in the business we like to call The Show.
AllHipHop.com: Whats the
D.C. Hip-Hop scene like?
Tabi Bonney: Its actually
just developing in D.C.; I would say with me and Wale, other than that its a
go-go oriented city. You got other Hip-Hop artists in D.C. but for the most of
there stuff is Gangsta rap. So, thats why I say Ive been able to be at the
fore front of the scene because its not like anything else, its completely
different. And I say the same with Wale too, hes not rapping about being in a
gang. Thats why I think were able to shine.
AllHipHop.com: You are the
son of the afro- funk superstar Itadi Bonney. What was it like growing up in a
house full of music?
Tabi Bonney: Man, it was
just exciting! He would stay practicing with his band, going on tour, or in the
studio. I would just always be around it and always see it since I was born. He
would always collaborate with other people throughout Africa. So, its like I
heard all types of music; thats why my stuff is a little different, not the
AllHipHop.com: When did you
get into Hip-Hop?
Tabi Bonney: Man, I got
into Hip-Hop, Id like to say around the time we left Africa and came to live
in the U.S. for good. I was in elementary school and I just heard Salt-N-Pepa,
EPMD, MC Lyte, when I heard that it touched me on the inside, where I was like this
is just special music. Its really just speaking to me but I didnt know I
wanted to be a rapper then.
AllHipHop.com: You were
born in Togo, West Africa
Tabi Bonney: Yeah, but my mothers from D.C., since I was
born Ive been back and forth. I would start a school year in Africa, and then
spend the summer in the U.S., and then I would do school years in the U.S. then
spend the summers in Africa thats how it always went.
AllHipHop.com: So, you had
a cultural exchange in your early years, did you ever follow your father on any
Tabi Bonney: We lived in
France for about a year, we had a little European tour where they rented out a
castle and the whole band lived in there.
AllHipHop.com: In college,
you formed a group with your boy Haziq Ali called Organized Rhyme. Who did you
open up for when you did shows?
Tabi Booney: Man, we opened
up for everybody like LL Cool J, Cam ron when he first stepped on the scene
with Horse and Carriage, Maya, Trick Daddy, and Luke anybody that came
through Florida at the time, we opened for in Tallahassee.
AllHipHop.com: Around that
time you released an underground classic called, it definitely brought some
attention to you from the likes of Camp Lo and dead prez.
Tabi Booney: Yeah. More so
dead prez, like M-1 gave me call out of the blue and was like, I was reaching
out to you to let you know every where Ive been Ive been hearing the album.
We love it, I just wanted to hit you up and let you know that Im a fan. That
was my first official album, in which I was a little different, super lyrical,
in the underground scene and stuff like that.
AllHipHop.com: After that
album, you came out with your solo project, A Fly Guys Theme; you had
joints on there like You and the Northeast D.C. theme Pocket. How was it
different in terms of the previous project?
Tabi Booney: This was my
first real chance to be out in the public eye. Until then, no one had heard of
me except for people that were looking for underground stuff. You know what I
mean? This one you can say was slightly commercial, because the radio actually
picked up Pocket and had it in heavy rotation, and thats something that an
indie artist has never been able to do in D.C. So, I made history with that.
AllHipHop.com: The new
joint that you have out now is called, Syce It, the video is getting a lot of
views on YouTube.
Tabi Booney: Its just
starting to pick up on the radio, just a little bit, in the mix show it hasnt
been added yet. To me its one of my favorite songs it just expresses I think
how the public feels like I started out by saying: Im kinda like tired of
the same thing, kinda like bored with the same scene, now I dont know
about you but thats how I feel everything is just the same most artists that
are out feel like its a certain typical uniform; you gotta have a chain. That
why people who say they are trendsetters and leaders are sick of the regular
stuff. You need variety, I feel like Im that person thats gonna provide the
variety of things.
AllHipHop.com: The video
was your directorial debut; you had a real carefree vibe. You even brought out
the old school roller skates and were dancing out on them.
Tabi Bonney: Yeah, it took
me a while to find them. I went to so many spots all they had were in-lines; I
finally found a spot that had the regular ones. It took a little getting used
to wearing them again.
AllHipHop.com: Who produced
Tabi Booney: Benny D. DJ
Benny D, Akons DJ.
AllHipHop.com: Howd you
hook up with him?
Tabi Booney: Just like how
dead prez reached out to me on the Bonney and Carter album, I put out
the first release of A Fly Guys Theme, and he reached out. Hes in
Atlanta with my good friend Haziq, he passed him the album. And he wanted to do
something and this was the first track we worked on.
AllHipHop.com: What album
is that single on?
Tabi Rooney: Its on the
upcoming album, probably first quarter looking for a February release its
called Dope meets Fresh Fresh meets Superstar.
AllHipHop.com: Youve had
the opportunity to travel abroad and perform with full fanfare and sold out
shows. How was the music received?
Tabi Bonney: Yeah, in
Prague and Sweden. Like I said it just shows the versatility of me as a rapper,
a lot of rappers cant do that. Either they just stay regional or national. My
music was received well over there.
AllHipHop.com: Did you
release music over there as well? How were they able to get a hold of you?
Tabi Bonney: The Internet.
Technology is crazy right now; even a radio station from the Netherlands hit me
up via MySpace asking me to send them the CD. They love the music so much that
they wanted to start playing it in the Netherlands. Like I said earlier it goes
back to people wanting to hear something new and something different.
AllHipHop.com: Not only do
you record music but you also have a clothing line called Bonney Runway, how
did you start that?
Tabi Bonney: I started that
in my last year of college just for me, like I said not wanting to wear what
everybody else had on. Every time I would go to the store I would notice that
they didnt even have shirts in a medium, smallest size would be an extra
large. To me I felt I looked ridiculous in an xxl t-shirt. Thats what prompted
me to start creating my own t-shirts for right now. I felt there was nothing else for me out
there to wear, and it was really initially for me to wear and people started
asking where they could get the shirt. I thought hey why not just start putting
it in boutiques.
AllHipHop.com: Can it be
Tabi Bonney: Right now.
They cant they can check it out on Bonneyrunway.com, but Im revamping the
whole line in summer of 2008 itll be back in effect.
AllHipHop.com: Aside from
the upcoming album and the clothing. What else is in development for you?
Tabi Bonney: My next
project that Im working on all of 08, Im about to produce my own independent
film. Thats whats next up on my plate; I feel theres a void in there that
needs to be filled in film right now. Most black films that are out are
straight ghetto hood joints with people getting shot up, or a typical black
love story. I feel like theres nothing like a Ferris Buehlers DayOff
or something like that for our culture something fresh, dope, and fly.
that you want to say to the readers?
Tabi Bonney: Just for
people to per se be themselves and stop following what they think supposedly is
the trend. I think thats whats wrong with our culture right now, people
figure its the thing to do, its not a variety like when Hip-Hop first started.
You had De La Soul and Special Ed; they never dressed the same or sounded the
same. I want to take it back to when people werent afraid of being themselves
again.Tabi Bonney's website is www.bonneyrunway.com
Tabi Bonney's MySpace page is www.myspace.com/tabibonney