SwagRight Toni Opens Up About Her Early Life, Creative Process & More
Who is SwagRight Toni &What Is Your Background?
America’s Favorite Stud, Billion Dollar Baby, The Gay Agenda, SwagRight Toni or Toni Wells. People have called me many things but in essence, I’m everything the music industry has been missing. I come from the little big city of Ann Arbor Michigan, a college town just outside of Detroit. Although I grew up in one of the richest cities in America I grew up in the worst part during the crack epidemic in the 90s. Ultimately shit wasn’t as sweet as it seemed and the hardships I endured mixed with the privileges afforded me by where I grew up molded the artist before you today.
Your biggest influence in hip hop?
Hip-Hop is my influence, I truly am a child of the culture. Personally, my favorite rapper is DMX but as an artist, my style is a mash-up of so many people I’ve listened to over the years. Childhood growing up on artists like Snoop, Biggie, Pac and Chuck D who you can hear influences in my single Slave House. As a teen in the Napster era I suddenly had access to everything rap new and old. Falling in love with DMX and the Ruff Ryder Movement. Diving into Huston culture and the DJ Screw movement. Smoke culture had me listening to rappers like Devin the Dude Cypress Hill and Ludacris. As much as I love the older artists I’m proud of the new generation of rap that has been inspired by Hip Hop’s founders. Atlanta’s takeover has been inspiring musically and as far as how we do business as independent artists. My love for this music runs deep
Your first release and what leads you to the game?
My background in the music industry for the last 5 years has been in artist management. My first single “Cakes” was released on Thanksgiving Day 2021. I had a lot to be thankful for and making the transition to signing myself as a artist was number one. Honestly, I had no intention of making this song by myself. The original plan was for me to get several other artists into the studio and work on a collaborative track where I wrote The Hook and arrange the song and they would actually be the talent on the track. I was happy to just get my DJ Khaled on and not rap. Unfortunately after booking studio time and scheduling to record with everyone not one artist showed up. Me and the engineer just decided we should record the hook, I freestyle the rest of the song and we made history. My latest single Fake is the story behind my feelings towards a lot of the people who I’ve worked with in the music business and my journey into being an independent music artist.
What kind of emotions do you try to give the person listening?
I really don’t want to control the emotions the Listener has when they listen to my music as long as they feel it and it’s invoking some type of emotion within them it’s good music to me. Most of the time I just want the underlying theme of my music to be fun but It really depends on the song. For instance, with my first single “Cakes” it was just a strip club song something to shake your ass to and have fun. On the other hand, my second single slave house was filled with sociopolitical commentary but ignorant rapper shit at the same time because we woke up but still we having fun. I’m going to be driving into deeper subject matters with my new music. For instance, my new single “Fake” touches on business friendships and betrayals and my upcoming single “Problems” is about my own personal battles with depression.
What is your creative process like?
I’m always singing or rapping to myself honestly I’ve probably forgotten more hit hooks than most artists have ever written. My production team keeps me loaded up on beats. So sometimes the song concept comes from the beat or sometimes it’s just something I started writing in my head already. Good music and good lyrics haunt me like the ancestors talking to me in my head. Saying them out loud and putting them to music is a level of satisfaction only artists really can understand.
Where do you see yourself in the future with this career?
Working hard and being Kanye rich is the goal. How I go about it is optional. I love being an independent artist and I put the work in to be able to monetize my brand and benefit from leveraging ownership. At the same time, I can’t say I would never sign with a major label. I just know my entertainment lawyer will be looking over every detail before I sign anything.
If not rap, what else would you be doing right now?
I would love for Politics to be a part of my next chapter but I could see myself running a nonprofit to benefit the African American community here in America and offset systemic racism
How much have you grown as an artist?
I feel like I’ve truly found my sound in the last 12 months. Because becoming an artist wasn’t planned and I’m not someone who has been recording music. I wasn’t sure of the sound I wanted to create as an artist. After putting together the team of producers that I work with and finding two engineers who have helped me mold my sound I’m honestly proud of how much my music has improved so quickly. I’ve been able to consistently create better music every time I am in the studio
How are you different from others in this game?
I go harder than so many of my peers. In an industry where some of the most talented people are very complacent and because of this they fall off and try to blame the people around them. I know that no matter how good my music is if I don’t put the work behind it all of this it’s a waste of time. I’ve put the work in to learn and master the business side of music. So now that the only artist I manage is me I feel like Jay-Z in 2003 “imma show you how to do this son”
Follow SwagRight Toni on Social Media:
Instagram: @SwagRight Toni
Twitter: @SwagRight Toni