Onaje Jordan & Tone Beatz are “Alpha” Males (Interview)

Hip-Hop is a competitive sport. This is evidenced by the many beefs, diss tracks, social media back & forth’s and endless online discourse by fans of who got who? That being said, there are also benevolent entities who never forget their own inner fan of the art. Usually this seems to be more on the production end as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Pro, Alchemist, the DITC crew and others big up each other and help to spread shine on newer beat-makers.

Onaje Jordan is a laid-back individual who delivers aggressive and at-times violent beats. The Chicago based producer been in the beat-making game for a while (longer than you would think) and most recently released projects with emcees including Substance810, G Fam Black and Killy Shoot. As a member of the Hometeam collective he usually laces joints for fellow members Chuck Chan, General Back Pain, Lupus Dei, Deuce Hennessy and the aforementioned Killy.

Tone Beatz hails from Atlanta and has been dropping heat over the past decade with a melodic but gritty edge. He has laced joints for artists including Left Lane Didon, Jay Nice, Marq Spekt and Josiah The Gift. He has also released two projects alongside spitter All Hail Y.T.

The duo are releasing a full-length album together entitled Alpha on 10/29 which their contribute production to individual tracks featuring a “stoopid” amount of real spitters on each track. These include G Fam Black, Jae Hussle, Wizisbeast, Mrk Sx, O The Great, DNTE, Whatamess, Charlie Chan, Southside Jonesy, Revenge Of The Truence and more. Below is our dual interview with the producers.

INTERVIEW

Why/how did you two decide on a dual producer album?  I can’t recall the last time I heard a producer album where the producers contributed their own tracks (as opposed to collaborating on the same beat)

Onaje:  I thought it would be dope to have a versus concept for an album. Since I am a producer I thought about who could share this adventure with me. Since Tone Beatz is family I reached out and he was down for the cause. It would be dope if I could get other producers involved in a yearly series. Maybe me and Wavy or the homeboy Flu, you know producers that are making their own lane in this game.

Tone: Onaje came to me with the idea and I love it! I think we should do this every year.

First Onaje single from Alpha

How did you two first get on each other’s radar? 

Onaje: We run in the same circles. He also produced some dope projects with my HomeTeam brothers. This is really like working with family.

Tone: We been working with the same artists & I respect his grind

First Tone single from Alpha

In this digital age, I have heard many cases of collaborators not only never meeting in the flesh but also never talking via phone, have you guys ever got on the jack to chop it up?  I’ve heard that you both are laid back individuals (which many of the great producers are), do you care about meeting artists in the flesh?  Politicking?  Do you think you would lose any love for the art if you had to?

Onaje: Because of the pandemic everything was through email. We talked and texted while working on this project. Bouncing ideas, songs and concepts between each other. I like working with artists one on one but technology has really made that obsolete. I learn to adapt to the new ways of recording music. 

Tone: Well unfortunately that is the new way..but I do think the “digital age” made the world smaller and I don’t mind it.

How did you decide which artists to contribute to the album?  Did one guys use of the artist preclude the other’ guys usage? (in other words did you consciously try not to re-use artists for this)

Onaje: We used some of the same artists. It was cool though. Every emcee involved with this album is like family. That made it easier for me and Tone. We didn’t have to hunt anybody down for verses.

Tone: Well first off.. you gotta be dope and you gotta be on your grind!!!! I really don’t think about the “resue”thing cuse if we have a great chemistry, let’s keep building.

From Substance810 & Onaje Jordan full-length project A Righteous Offering

Over how long of a period did it take to make this album, from idea to completion?

Onaje: Six months or so. We had the title of Alpha and we built it from there.

Tone: I think it took about six months.

Onaje, your production credits (at least according to discogs) goes back to 2017 when you had music appearing on projects by Asun Eastwood and Supreme Cerebral, how did you start getting your beats placed?  What advice would you give beatmakers trying to get on?  Tone, same question to you and your credits going back to 2011 including work with MarkQSpekt and Da Buze Bruvas

Onaje: I sold my first beat in 2005. I used to go under the name of Bigg Unit. I was fortunate enough to be mentored and given  production game from Boogz and No.ID. If you are an upcoming producer in this game go befriend a veteran producer and be a sponge. The homegirl “That Blessed Girl ” was a prime example . She would hit you up if she liked or was inspired by your production. That’s why she was so dope when she was around, she soaked up the game from everybody. God bless the dead.

Tone: It’s bout right ..I been grinding hard since 2016

From All Hail Y.T. & Tone Beatz full-length collaboration The Spoils Of Babylon

Do you constantly make beats without a project in mind or the reverse?

Onaje: I am a nerd. I listen to classic Hip-Hop music, get inspired and make beats. Like everyday. No social skills, my best friend is my records and the MPC. It works for me.

Tone: Ummm not really..I like making beats with an artist in mind.

What else are you guys working on at the moment?

Onaje: Me and Killy Shoot are coming. Get ready HomeTeamEmpire.

Tone: Me & Waterr have something special coming.

More info:
https://www.instagram.com/onajejordanbeats
https://www.instagram.com/tonebeatz

Leave a Reply