Tone Trump is a legend in his own right, someone who’s proven his talents in the rap game, firmly stands on what he believes in, and truly brings to life the real definition of a ”hustler.” In fact, he’s best known for his motivational catchphrases “let’s win” and “hustle or starve.”
In describing himself, Tone states, “The first thing I always say is I’m a Muslim. I’m a striving, praying Muslim. I’m a father, and I’m the greatest hustler alive. You can Google ‘greatest hustler alive,’ and my picture comes up first. I’m the ultimate hustler, in and out of music and film. In the streets, in my community, I’m just the ultimate hustler.”
Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Tone Tump, real name Tony Brice is a rapper, actor, father, influencer, motivator, and entrepreneur all in one. Having been raised by a single mother, who protected him from the poverty and violence that surrounded him, Tone is a proud praying Muslim, who’s got one hell of a story to tell.
With music being his saving grace, Tone went from being shot (and almost going blind) to signing a six-figure contract in New York. To date, Tone has been affiliated with 50 Cent’s G-Unit crew, as well as Jeezy’s CTE camp.
But now, he inks yet another distribution deal with Jim Jones’ Vamplife Records, who will be releasing his forthcoming project titled Still Striving. The album is executive produced by Kevin Gates, slated to be released this September.
AllHipHop spoke with Tone Trump who was posted in Philly shooting a commercial before heading to New York for the weekend. Read below as we discuss how he got his name, tapping in with 50 Cent and Jeezy, his new project, his relationship with Kevin Gates, his love for Nipsey Hussle, giving back, and more!
AllHipHop: What are you doing in New York?
Tone Trump: They have a Halal Food Festival this weekend, so I’m doing a Meet & Greet. Eat a bunch of good foods and shooting content, the fun part of the job. It’s 200 different Halal vendors. It’s massive, it’s going to be 20K people there. It’s a really big deal. Basically all the best Halal foods in the Tri-state area, we have a bunch of activities. It’s a big Muslim event at Nassau College in Long Island. It’s gonna be nice.
AllHipHop: You pride yourself in being a hustler. Where did you get that mindset?
Tone Trump: Yeah. My mom told me when I was nine years old, I was the man of the house. From the beginning of my life, I had a structure and I had a responsibility. I had to take accountability, to make sure my mom and my little sister was good. I always chased a dollar. At times, it got me in trouble. At times, it’s helped me make history. It’s a part of my DNA. I’m a born hustler. I gotta go get it.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your name?
Tone Trump: I got my name when I was little. I’m from Philly, and Philly is close to a city called Atlantic City, New Jersey. Atlantic City, New Jersey is a casino town. Before everybody started hating on Donald Trump and he became President, Donald Trump was loved by our culture. When you would go to Atlantic City, his name was real big. In the lights, you’ll see it. At the time, I had aspirations to live a fast life, get money lifestyle. That was the perfect name to attach to my mogul status and me wanting to be the ultimate businessman from the streets. I set that name and handle, and it stuck with me. The Tone part, my government name is Tony, so that’s short for Tony.
AllHipHop: You were signed to G Unit, as well as Jeezy’s CTE camp as well. Could you summarize your time at both?
Tone Trump: The G Unit relationship, many years ago 50 was shooting the pilot for a TV show that was covering artists in Philadelphia and the underground Hip-Hop scene. He put together a group of artists from Philly, I had the honor of being a part of that. We shot a show. The show was really really good. It never came out. A lot of us, a lot of the brothers involved got locked up. A lot of crazy stuff started happening. So obviously 50 had to move forward, but it was a great learning experience to get to build with 50 and Yayo and them.
That was 2009, 2010. Fast forward to 2012, I had a record called “Afghan” that picked up in the streets. Radio, Funk Flex started dropping bombs on it. Jeezy and them reached out, Jeezy got on the record for me for free. We did a deal. I ran around with the Snowman and toured with him for about two years and made music. Both of those situations were positive, I still love both of them brothers. I learned a lot about being a boss, and I move forward now as my own CEO.
AllHipHop: Talk about your new project that’s dropping, in partnership with Jim Jones.
Tone Trump: Yes ma’am. I just did a distribution situation with my company, MDF. The MDF stands for militant, discipline, and fearless. That’s my company. Jim’s company is Vamplife Records, then EMPIRE is part of the distribution situation. Our first project is called Still Striving, it’s a great project. I took a break from music. I’ve been working out the country, doing stuff in Africa and Saudi Arabia. Now, it’s time for me to get back in the streets. Music is therapy for me, and I wanted to get back to the music.
Still Striving is a project that reintroduces my music, my new sound. I got some great features on there, some big records. I got records with CeeLo Green on this project. Freeway, Jim Jones a bunch of great artists. Production from Ali The Greatest. I’m excited to get it out. It’ll be out in September inshallah, God-willing.
AllHipHop: Is it easy for you to get these fire features?
Tone Trump: Nothing is easy in the music industry. But I will say this: relationships is better than money. I’m somebody who when I first started off, I’ll be transparent, I didn’t have no money to pay for big features. But I had great relationships, I got a clean face. I’m respected everywhere I go. I’ve never paid for a feature in my career. I got records with everybody from Akon, Birdman, the late great Kay Slay, Jeezy. Not many people got Jeezy records, I got multiple Jeezy records. I got a whole album with CeeLo Green, five time Grammy winner.
My relationships from the streets to the prisons to the masjids to the industry are super solid, so I’ve never paid for a feature. I won’t say it’s easy, but winners respect winners and G’s respect G’s. When I reach out to people like Jim Jones, he sees what I’m already doing. Not just in music, but in the streets and in my community. I’m not talking about no gangster s###, I’m talking about positivity. They honor that, they all good men that come from the same struggle as me. I represent the trenches in the highest form, so it’s only right that they give Tone Trump a verse. It’s a good look for them too, so respect to all the people I work with.
AllHipHop: What’s your relationship with Kevin Gates?
Tone Trump: That’s my brother. That’s way beyond music, that’s my little brother. Recently I’ve put out some footage of him saying how I’m inspired him, but he inspires me as well. It’s a brotherhood. Obviously, we both Muslims. We both come from the same struggle. He’s one of my favorite people in the world. Couple years ago, I was dealing with some mental health issues. He was one of the people that helped lift me up and opened his home up to me.
Somebody like him, he gets six figures for a feature. He gave me a verse, he gave me a hook. Wouldn’t dare take no money from me, cleared the record right away. Shout out to Gates, that’s my brother. That’s beyond music. We’ll hurt someone about Gates. We’ll go to the ultimate level for Gates, and he knows that. We love him and his whole team and family. Shout out to lil bro.
AllHipHop: How did y’all meet originally?
Tone Trump: We met originally, through the streets honestly. Not no music stuff. When Gates was young, Gates was locked up in a juvenile situation. I was heavy on DVDs, and he was a fan of what I was doing. When he got his light, he reached out to me like a real one’s supposed to, and gave me my flowers. We’ve been linked ever since then, from traveling the world together.
When I went to Mecca, he was one of the first people I FaceTimed, because he had went right before me. We experienced things together through this industry. But more importantly, through our faith and through our families. He calls and checks on my kids and vice versa. It’s just a bond. It’s unbelievable. You would think we were born in the same city, but we weren’t. We connected through realness and through the streets, and through the honor of Islam.
AllHipHop: What’d it mean to have him executive produce your project?
Tone Trump: It means everything to me because Gates is younger than me, and Gates is very successful in this industry. He’s able to see things that I don’t see no more, because I really don’t pay attention to music. I’m creating my own genre. I call myself the TOP AHK, I represent the black Muslim struggle. I’m not chasing down being in the top Spotify artists or nothing like that. I’m trying to carve my niche into my own genre, then open the door for other young Muslim artists in the streets, who don’t want to compromise to the wickedness of the music industry.
For me to have Gates involved to EP my project, it means everything because he’s current. He’s poppin’ right now. He can help me with picking beats. He could tell me “no, put so and so on a song.” Different things like that. Even with the marketing, he says I inspired him. When he first started doing vlogs, Gates said he learned that from me. But now it’s ways that he does marketing, he knows how to go viral at the drop of the hat. We see him do it all the time. He’s on every blog site in the world saying the craziest stuff, but that’s an art to that. That’s a skill. Stuff like that, I can learn from my little brother, who’s a multi-Platinum artist. He’s not no regular degular. He’s one of the biggest in the world, so shout to Gates.
AllHipHop: I really respect how much you give back. Why is that important to you? Where did that come from?
Tone Trump: It came from my mother. Since we was little, even when we didn’t have anything, my mother taught us the importance of giving back. I’ll give you an example. I remember being in fourth grade, my mother would make an extra sandwich with my lunch. She’d tell me if somebody doesn’t have no lunch, you make sure you share this sandwich with him. As I grew older and I started to acquire things, first of all in my faith, I’m obligated to give back as a Muslim. Just as a man of honor, you should want to uplift your community.
We do feedings every Sunday in the roughest section of Philly, which is Kensington. We’ve raised millions and millions of dollars from Philadelphia all the way out to East Africa, with the work I do raising money for cataract surgeries, raising money for water wells. That’s what we’re doing now, we own a water well project. This is something that not just me, but the whole MDF, the whole family, we take a lot of pride in that. Me and my brother, sometimes we go out just me and him. We wake up one day like “let’s go feed the people.” We’ll order 100 meals and just hit the block.
We do it in every city we go to. When we go to Atlanta, you won’t see us at the hookah lounge, but you’ll see us outside the recovery center giving out Halal sandwiches. That’s the way we want to be remembered. Because right now, we working for our afterlife. When people tell my kids about me, I want them to tell them “your dad used to do this. He used to give back.” Not talk about rap beefs or no b#######. I want to make sure we set up our legacies, and that’s why it’s important to us.
AllHipHop: Hip-Hop celebrates 50 years this year, what does Hip-Hop mean to you? What was the moment you fell in love with Hip-Hop?
Tone Trump: Hip-Hop means everything to me. Other than the permission of Allah, Hip-Hop saved my life. I’ll never forget Kay Slay calling me. I was on my block one day and I was still doing illegal activities. Kay Slay called me and told me he was thinking about putting me on the cover of Straight Stunnin Magazine. I said “Slay, you can’t tell me you’re thinking about it and not do it.” Slay knew some of the stuff I was involved in, he said “you gotta pick.” I said Slay, if you give me this opportunity, I’ll stop what I’m doing. I never went back to selling drugs again.
I was on 54th Street between Market and Orange. He put me on the cover of Issue 14 of Straight Stunniin. I took music serious and I got a record deal about 20 months after that, it changed my life. It means everything. It’s embedded in our culture. You can’t be from where I’m from or be from my nationality — I’m black and Puerto Rican. You can’t be that and not love Hip-Hop. I’m talking, I had Kool Herc on stage with me when I did my signing party. I had Melly Mel on stage with me. I always try to make history with Hip-Hop. The first time Cassidy and Freeway was on stage together, was at one of my shows. I put that together to bring peace between them brothers after their legendary battle. For me, Hip-Hop is a tool of peace and love, and opportunity. I make money, I travel the world. I love this culture.
AllHipHop: What else are you excited for?
Tone Trump: We just opened up a new building in Chester, Pennsylvania. We have a cheesesteak restaurant called Union Steaks. We have a merch boutique, where we want to have all our merch and clothing, as well as other independent African American and Latino business owners with their clothing. All independent clothing and sneakers in our store. We have a podcast studio and a barbershop educational center, where we want to teach children how to do podcasts on and off camera, as well as get their barber license. Me and my brother have that business in Chester, Pennsylvania. I’m excited about that.
Inspired by the late, great Nipsey Hussle to give brick and mortars in our community. Nipsey was my brother too. I never got to meet Biggie and Pac, but Nipsey was my brother. He’s very dear to me, so I definitely want to mention him and say I love him. He’s the reason why we putting up these buildings and having centers for children. I tell people, this isn’t a restaurant. This is a building, we building up the same young black and Puerto Rican boys and girls to give them better options. Because right now in Philadelphia, in Chester and the surrounding areas, there’s so much gun violence. Instead of preaching about it, we gotta come up with solutions. We gotta say, “Yo I got a job for you lil bro. You don’t gotta do that.” That means more to me than any song, any video, any movie. So God-willing, we’ll be doing that. We do our soft grand opening on August 20th, cutting the ribbon. I’m excited about that.
AllHipHop: How did you and Nipsey tap in?
Tone Trump: That’s my brother man. I knew Nip before the world knew Nip. I was going out to LA, this was back in 2011. Honestly, I got into some drama out there. Nipsey Hussle being a brother in Hip-Hop once again, I got in some s### with some guys you don’t want to get in some s### with LA. Nipsey Hussle stood up for me like we grew up together. At the time, I didn’t know him other than through Twitter. He came through for me, frontline like “nah, he with us.” From that point on, they always took care and loved me.
When I first was going to Cali, I was going out there with some brothers from the red side. I didn’t know how that worked with the politics, so I wouldn’t really hitting Nip up. Nip’s like “man, f### that. You my brother. I don’t care who you with.” I was with Compton Menace and a bunch of the homies from the Piru side. Nip pulled up, took me around. Anytime I would go to LA, even if he wasn’t there, he made sure I had anything I needed. He made sure I was good. That goes for him and everybody from the 60’s, they my brothers. Much love to Kumasi, much love to Big U and the whole neighborhood.
Much much love to Nip. I just was in LA and I spoke at a masjid on Crenshaw. I donated a lot of money to that masjid on Crenshaw, in honor of Nipsey Hussle. It’s called Islah Educational Institute. It’s a black Muslim-owned school on 2900 Crenshaw Avenue. I wanted to do something special for Nip. All my merch that was Nipsey blue, we donated a portion to that school on Crenshaw. That was in honor of my brother Nipsey Hussle, so I’m really proud of that. I’m real real proud of that.
AllHipHop: If there’s one thing you want people to take away from Still Striving, what would that be?
Tone Trump: That I put together an authentic project. It’s gangsta. It’s no cursing from me on there, some of my features curse. But I’m showing the young boys you can express yourself. Be tough, be fly, be strong, without calling women the b-word. Without shooting, without the n-word at homies. We could talk about having fun, getting money, and living the dream, without self-destructing. It’s great music, it’s not boring.
And showing collaboration over competition. I got features from brothers from all over the world. I got Munna Duke from O’Block on there. I got Young Moe from VA. I got CeeLo. I got J. Stone from Crenshaw on there. I got Hardo from Pittsburgh on there. I wanted to get all over, strong, like-minded individuals who are leaders in their communities, to show that we can come together. We stronger together. That’s what Still Striving is about: do for yourself, but not by yourself. Link up with the brothers and sisters, and let’s build up.