Remembering Tony D: My Memories (and Tenth Planet)

April 13, 2009 – 10:16 am

(Updated 2018-09-21 with new embed and link to Wayback Machine cache of the playlist.)

I figured I’d close out this week-long tribute to Tony D with a brief post about what he meant to me. (There may be a few more posts in this series in the coming weeks contributed by others.)

I first heard Tone on WPRB back in 1989 when flipping through local radio stations, looking for something to listen to. I was 13 at the time and absolutely obsessed with hip-hop. Back then in the Philly area, there weren’t a whole lot of stations playing hip-hop, so when I stumbled on a college radio show that was not only playing dope music, but also laying into the commercial crap at the time like Young MC, I instantly fell in love. Over the next four years, I’d listen faithfully every week to Club Crush/Raw Deal, taping almost every episode.

Tone’s presence on the show was always very big. He would never step to the mic and sound tired or bored. He was always hyped up about pushing his latest production or promoting an upcoming PRT show. Any time there was a Thursday Night Live session, he was in the thick of it, freestyling or dropping verses that would later show up on his solo album or the Crusaders for Real Hip-Hop project. You could tell there were times where he had some disagreements with Easy M or G along the way (like when his name was mysteriously chopped out of drops for the show), but he would always find his way back on the air and make some noise.

Back in 1990 I sent Tone my first (very) crappy demo tape and then pestered him for several weeks to see if he had listened. He told me one week that he had received it, and a few weeks later he told me that he didn’t have it. “It was in my bag,” he told me, but either he had lost it or it had been stolen. Looking back now, I realize that he was just being polite to a 14-year-old kid who had sent him a seriously awful demo. Rather than telling me I sucked and crushing my dreams, he chose the higher road and didn’t say anything. I really appreciated that courtesy, once I realized what he did.

Post-PRB, I kept up with his music and periodically listened to my old PRB tapes for old times sake. Then, in 2003 or 2004, I dropped him a line and we started talking about music and the radio show. He joined up with Paul from WPRB and co-DJed the “Tenth Planet” show for a while in 2004. His involvement there was unfortunately cut short — I think he said it had something to do with management. I ended up a recording a bunch of those shows as well.

When I launched Normal Bias, Tone was absolutely psyched. Anytime I posted a new show, I’d let him know and he’d download it. We chatted about behind-the-scenes stuff with the show and he’d share new tracks he was working on. Word is that there was even a “Raw Deal” reunion in the works. How great would that have been? I’m going to miss those chats.

The audio included here kind of goes against format in that it was recorded off of a stream directly to an MP3 file rather than cassette, but it’s a great 3-hour set from the September 11, 2004 edition of “Tenth Planet.” Tone’s on the wheels the entire time. The playlist for the show is still online at the IA (and included in the comments ID3 tag on the MP3).

RIP, Tone and deepest condolences to your family.

(Also, a few things you may have missed: comments from Tony here on Normal Bias: 1 2, and memories of Tone from G: 1 2 and Pumis.)

Download episode or stream below

  1. One Response to “Remembering Tony D: My Memories (and Tenth Planet)”

  2. nice words. the homey Chairman Mao posted on Tony D last week…

    By khal on Apr 13, 2009

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