Home Interviews A Candid Chat with Flint Artist LKTonio

A Candid Chat with Flint Artist LKTonio

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Tell us about your story, where you came from, how you grew up?
I think about that one a lot. All the time actually. My story. Long after I’m gone, I wonder how would it be told? Will it ever be told? And that is why before I get anymore sidetracked with my rambling on, I just wanna send all my love in saying Thank you! For allowing me this opportunity to get my story out there by way of your platform.

I am LKTonio. Son Of Cora & Legendary Boxing Coach Jason Crutchfield. Some people call me LK. Others may say Tonio. Which is what I prefer, just don’t call me before, 10am. Unless we’re tight like that.

I come from the south side of a small forgotten city in Michigan called Flint. Well, not as forgotten these days, thanks to the infamous lead water. That’s why I refer to it as “The Forgotten City”, they forgot us, Ya know? Cause that’s how it feels here. It can be hard to fully understand if you’re not from there, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist.

With my nerdy love for Batman, I call it “Gotham”, because it’s almost like this feeling of a dark cloud over the city. It’s so crime ridden. We used to be the murder capital a few years back.

Aside from the whole morbid wave and being in the top five “Worst Places to Live in America”, Flint also has some not so sullen nicknames it’s known for like “Vehicle city” or one I recently learned of “Detroit’s Little Brother”.

Growing up was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Amazing memories, tears, laughs, and pain. The norm. But my upbringing isn’t as pretty as I look. In fact, growing up was a bit difficult, but we were so young the real world was over our heads. The odds were stacked high and we were put to the ultimate test.

My family; that’s my mom and three other siblings. An older sister, baby sister, and a younger brother right under me. I’m the middle child.

From birth I was cursed, tortured, tormented, and brought to the brink. I had to stand up and be brave at an early age to look my demons in the face. I was stricken with a rare unknown illness. Having my first surgery at 9 days old. I was left to be treated by a sick, scalpel-driven mad man! So guess who was next to be his twisted experiment? I am Him.

Coming from all that, what inspired you to get into music?
Music isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am. It’s what I’ve always done. All I know how to do. So some of my earliest inspirations were my mom and dad. My brothers and sisters. Older cousins. They all foreseen my natural talent for it, but outside of like, friends and family, my musical influences range widely from Michael Jackson, James Brown, Sade, Aaliyah, Bone Thugz, to Future, Lil Wayne, Biggie, Future, Drake, 2pac, Nirvana, FallOutBoy, Pearl Jam.

What are your thoughts on the music scene in Michigan?
For a while there was this long silence, but Oh it’s very much alive and kicking now! Finally, ya know? I felt like I was one of the only ones who wanted to see not only my city, but my state as a whole thrive musically and artistically. It’s still so far behind, not gonna lie. Slowly but surely I see it getting there. I’d like to say I’m apart of it, but I started it! At least for my city. Never forget that.

Who would you like to collaborate with in 2018? Why?
Rico Nasty: because the night of her first show in Michigan, I guess she liked my energy and was down to check out some studios in the area. Long story short the studio was closed. So we definitely gotta run that one back. I know it’ll happen one day.

HXLiOS: because even though he’s my brother we’re both always doing our own thing. And he’s the only guy around that actually makes me step it up on a track. Nobody can do that but him.

CUBAN DOLL: She loves Detroit. And she told me she was down for collabing with me in the dms, so we’re gonna make that happen.

iRL MAMi: Das my bby.

How would you describe your sound to new fans?
I like to call it “Beautiful Trap”, “Trench Music”, or “Alternative Rap” even. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still Rap/Hip-Hop based for sure. I just don’t want to be categorized or boxed in. But, my sound may take the listener to up His/Her listening levels to vibe out to it. My style is very versatile. Iguana like cause it always changes.

How do you separate yourself from other artists in the game?
By being myself. That’s all. I’m not out here trying to be like nobody else. I don’t care what people say or think of me and I’m not afraid to be me. I am who I always was. I’ve always been this. LKTonio is who I am 24/7. I can’t turn this off.

What has been a stand out moment in your journey thus far?
Well this interview with you guys for one! Shoutout EMCEE Network and Mama Tay, but sheesh um, I’d say all the previous I look at em like Trial & Error for me. Those include my first & second mixtapes and my first EP.

  • #LKv1 (Love Knowledge vol.1)
  • Gods Don’t Sleep
  • Phone-Mag EP (which gained a lot of buzz for me cause of the way we marketed it and the time we took spreading it)
  • “Tha’ Definition” Video
  • Putting on a statewide tour with over 30+ free shows throughout the state of Michigan fall 2016 and continued all of 2017. (And actually selling out some of the shows! Like the first 3, 4 shows sold out! And that shocked me, but at the same time it let me know I had spiraled out of my city’s circuit I had to keep going.)
  • Rocking shows with some of Michigan’s Rising Stars
  • Sitting down with Robb Bank$
  • Finally getting my music to every platform was a big deal for me
  • “Power Ranger” and “2-Stuck” singles are streaming everywhere right now

What is next for you? Tell us about any projects you are currently working on.
I just dropped the “2-Stuck” trailer on my YouTube shot by my in-house videographer; Brokeboiedits.

The full video is on the way, so the fans can expect that. Also I have a slew of EP’s I’m releasing including “RDY2DiE”, “RDY2CRY” and “35oo, Legend”. Leading up to #LKv2 mixtape and then we’ll see. More life, more opportunities, more blessings, more money, more shows and more videos is what I’m hoping for.

What are the main inspirations for the music you make?
Outside of close friends and family, just experiencing Life. Girls inspire me the most though. I’m here for da women.

Who are your favorite producers in the game?
Ah, there’s so many.

ZAYTOVEN. MiKE DEAN. HXLiOS. 40 NOAH. LADRiP. Heizenburr! TURBO THE GREAT. BiGHEAD. DDS. 16YROLD. STARNAD. YUNG ICEY BEATS. KANYE. The Whole 808MAFiA. um, TRAVIS SCOTT. MALLY RAW. G1. Chris Deniro. Mike Will. LADRIP. BOi1DA. DON CANNON. GENSHIN. MURDA BEATZ. WHEEZY. RONNY J. DR.DRE. & PHARRELL.

What have you learned from your journey as an artist?
How connected everything is. So you just gotta be aware of that, seriously. You never know who’s who. Being an all around good person is very important. Keep your “L’s”, which you can find me throwing up in various photos, that’s your Love, Loyalty, Life, Lessons, and any other positive words that start with a “L”. Trust no one and don’t smash all the groupies.

Is there a particular song that never fails to move you emotionally?
Oh, anything in-house moves me emotionally. My music. Hxlios’ music or beats. Kiko Swayzo’s music. Oh & Throwbacks. They hit me in the soft spot of my heart, haha, really though.

Do you have any other dreams and goals in life that go beyond music?
Of course. I’m like a jack of all trades. I want to do it all. Acting. Dabble a bit into the fashion world. Boxing Promotions. Who knows? For now, let’s just see how far we can take what we got going on right now.

Last question, what is one message you want to send your fans?
A message to all my supporters, believers, friends, fans, and family. LKTonio believes in each and every of of you guys back! Never give up. Always stay true. Hold it down. And don’t just Dream it. Live It!! Everyday. I love you!

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EMCEE
EMCEE is an urban lifestyle network focusing on the art and entrepreneur culture. Based in Detroit and Miami, EMCEE uses our broad network to uplift the community and showcase people who influence the culture and tell their stories.

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