Hometown: Washington, DC
Rappers are often deemed products of their environments. What then of an MC born Tabiabuè Bonney in a little-known West African nation, and who now splits time between LA and Washington, DC? From the country of Togo to the land of go-go? From a childhood sans indoor plumbing to a jet-setting, globetrotting lifestyle? Sounds incongruous, even implausible. Yet Tabi Bonney has made a career of doing what others won’t or can’t. While other rappers are stuck serving the same postured, provincial look at life, Tabi’s point of view is refreshingly borderless. And his perspective is both incisive and ironic as the son of one of his homeland’s most prominent entertainers: musician Itadi Bonney, who was exiled for criticizing the Togolese dictatorial government.
Imagine honing one’s voice as an instrument when its very use is hazardous. But Tabi Bonney revels in turning obstacles into opportunities. His irrepressible, anthemic tracks are known best for unusual cadences and pitch-bending inflections; opening salvo “The Pocket,” off 2006 debut A Fly Guy’s Theme, rode its high-octave hook onto every major US video outlet. In fact, Bonney is the only truly independent artist –no label, no publicist– to appear on MTV’s Sucker Free countdown.
A Fly Guy’s Theme gained momentum with second single “Syce It” produced by Akon heat maker BennyD, and “Doin’ It” featuring fellow DC denizen Raheem DeVaughn. Alongside his keen ear, Tabi displayed a sharp eye, directing two music videos off his debut. He’s since created a production company, Cool Kids Forever Films, with an aim at Hollywood. And his personally-designed Bonney Runway clothing line —www. bonneyrunway.com— continues to sell out of boutiques in New York, LA, Miami, DC, and London. Impressive. READ MORE