COVER STORY: Tony Cleveland

Le'Deana Brown cleveland fotb tony

Words by @LeDeana                                                                                  Photos by @ColliMedia


What do you mean when you say your “keep it real bill” is bigger then a lot of people’s monthly expenses? Without a doubt my “keep it real bill” through the roof though. It exceeds my monthly expenses at times so I know it exceeds yours (laughs). But like I said it’s just a lot that come with it though when you holding it down. You gotta rise to them occasions though you feel me. That’s all I be doing is playing my part carrying it like how I’m suppose to. Aiding and assisting those that need it though. I know the difference between somebody trying to get in where they fit in too or as oppose to the people that really need it. So free all my friends and RIP to my brother Hogg Head they just apart of what come with it.


Tell us about your annual “keep it real bill” when it comes to the kids. Our annual back to school drive. Shout out Wayne Head, Fat Pat, Baby D! Shout out boys like that that come together and make it possible. I wouldn’t say make it possible cause we gone do that regardless. But thank you for making it that much better so more people can come and enjoy that. We put on every year. Backpack a couple hundred kids making it an event cause a lot of people don’t want people to know when they need something. So we kind of try to disguise the struggle with celebration. So it be like haircuts, bounce houses, horseback riding, a petting zoo, a zip line. Just bringing something to the ghetto that normally wouldn’t be there though. Just to put on like I said a lot come with it.


So you like to bring things to the hood but do you also take the hood everywhere you go? I think I seen you jump out the plane holding up your hood. So tell me about your philosophy and traveling experiences. It’s good to travel. It’ll mature you and broaden you too though. You gotta move around and take time to explore things other than what you’re use to. Cause a nigga really don’t know nothing they like a goldfish sitting on the counter. You gotta move around so you can come back to the people that don’t travel and share your experience with them. And probably motivate them or spark something in them so they can get up and bust a move. Lead by example.


What is your favorite traveling experience and what is the thing you’re most proud of? I would have to say my favorite travel experience is any time with my kids and that’s what I’m proud of too. How they hold one another together. We do it real grand though when we step out. We might be in the mansions in the hills in Hollywood somewhere. Or Disney somewhere in something exclusive though and it be like 7 rooms 10 beds and I’m looking for my kids and they all like on 1 little let out couch. I be proud of that. Anytime I’m with them just to hear the conversation they have. Just to hear them singing music that I listen to man its crazy.


How do we hear the music that you listen to in the music that you make? It’s just a product of what we do what we heard or where we come from. That’s all I really bump. I don’t listen to a lot of rap music. But I like that old school. Shout out to my moms and RIP to my granny. Just keeping me hip and in the loop with what good music is and that’s what I make. So that’s why they know when they hear mine from when they hear yours it’s a difference. I just be doing me though and people love that. If you listen to my music you would have to know something. You gotta know a little something and you will catch on to a lot. It captures them and ya momma and them too though.


It’s important to you to be active in your children’s life. How do you balance fatherhood and business? It’s so crazy because it’s nothing that I try to balance. Everything is natural with me. Fatherhood comes natural. Talent and business come natural. This G shit comes natural you know. They all priorities and they all deserve my attention. So I just handle them like how I know I’m supposed to with love and care and all that.


In your song you say Hol Up but don’t hold up? [sings] If I say Hol Up then don’t hold up cause I’m calling you back! That just stems from being active though before the rap. Just being in the field running that line just tryna keep everything brief. People like to talk a lot though they be needing a lot of instruction but I just keep it short and funky. Give them the rules and give them the instruction where I’m at and Hol Up that’s it. It’ll be funny to go back and interview people that know where that really stems from cause they hate it. They’re like, “Dang dude heck dude I was still talking man!” People call back like 3 times. Like bruh I done already told you what’s happening so get like me and Hol Up.


Do you think that’s rude? It’s structure in my camp or don’t call. I don’t think its rude. Cause a lot of people lack direction and they just be reckless and careless even with they talk over the phone. So it’s like me cutting something short before you say something crazy. I don’t think that’s rude I’m just thinking about both of us. So I’M really being considerate. Hol Up.


You often say “Set the tone.” Where did that come from? RIP to Hogg Head. Hogg Head said that. He always believed in me early you feel me? I really just started embracing the other side of the music thing. My talent and the influence that I carry, I use to be blind to that. But bruh use to always be like, “You set the tone bro that’s why yo name Lil’ Tony. You set the tone."


IG: @TonyCleveland_  FB: Tony Cleveland  YouTube: FOTBisAArmy

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