These opening bars are from Jay-Z's self-criticizing song "Kill Jay Z" that described the killing of his ego. Which was a very strong bold statement. To fall on the knife and be reincarnated as a new you. So when artist Dialtone decided that he himself needed to kill the name Dialtone, it was a shock to everyone. Just coming off an amazing year that had seemed to be capped by amazing music and the vision of No Parking Studios coming into fruition, So hearing this track was very surprising, yet not totally. For anyone who has followed his career has seen this gradual transition in the works for the last few years. His music had a more focused sound that he delivered on each time. Dialtone of the past had always rapped about Tulsa and having things, but now his words seemed more intentional. His verses seemed more quotable. He had even taken up art. This is where the lines started to blur, Can Dialtone, the Hartford legend, be an artist? Would his old neighborhood friends what he was creating? The box of Dialtone would be troubled with these questions. But the artist Tone's Beach would already have his place and a clear vision of how to get there.
Many think the album titled Tone's Beach is when this name first appeared, which may be somewhat true, but anyone who's followed his discography knows that there was an earlier variation of this name that was used on the track "Tones Island" that featured Steph Simon and Grand National. This was the last track on his Magnum album that alluded to the idea of Tones Beach. The idea was still being defined. but the ingredients were all there. On the track, you could hear the prominent bass guitar that brought that West Coast funk, it was the funk sound that became the key element in his progression. Dialtone was finding his sound. It was as if he spotted the island that wasn't quite on the map. A place that wasn't inhabited, but was somewhere he could claim as his own.
"They can pay you 12 dollars an hour but can't tell you what you worth"
The quote above comes from the title track off the album Tone's Beach. Lines like these showed a sort of a shift in Dialtone's raps. His raps seemed to have evolved to a clearer understanding of his worth and the true value of things as seen on songs like "Mr. Robot", Droit Moral Cryptocurrency Casinos and Resorts, and of course, then there's "No Parking Studios". The song was the perfect introduction to what is becoming a living representation of his vision of having his own and building it something that he can pass on to his kids. This was his legacy. This was also around the time that he changed his Instagram to the album's title @tonesbeach. But back to the music. The musicality of the album was totally different than anything we ever heard from him. Many people might think that this is a foreign sound to Tulsa because it's mostly attached to the West Coast music that was made popular by Dr. Dre, but for the Tulsa native, Dialtone knew that this was the sound that originated in Tulsa. This was his people's sound that others had taken and introduced to the West Coast. But most importantly this was the sound that was Tone's Beach!
The next album released from Dialtone was Oasis, which sounds just like it means. Tones Beach finally finding his oasis. Though at this point he still has yet to use Tone’s Beach as a credited name on the album, this album sounds like he's in a totally different space. Like he's finally settled down and got the beach comfortable for him, and is now hosting friends, which are the featured artists on the album. The featured artist list includes long-time collaborations such as Steph Simon and Grand National, but it also featured new ones, most noticeably the artist "Jay Worthy". Which was a strategic win for Dialtone because the cross-pollination of both artist's audiences has helped Dialtone come up in the related artists’ algorithms. This has introduced him to a totally new fan base. And it's all organic!
"All the styles we got em,
This brings us to Intellectual Property, the most recent release in Dialtone's discography. What's most interesting about this album was that it came at a musical gap in Dialtone's career. This is something even he spoke on in the song 20 Below. This line spoke about how he had shelved rap and focused on building his No Parking Studios empire. Many people thought that he had lost sight of rapping, some even counting him out. The wolves were coming for the throne. This caused Dialtone to release Intellectual Property which when you listen to it you quickly realize that Dialtone's pen is sharper than ever. He's so in his bag in this album and so in tune with his vision. Which has always been family, loyalty, friends, Tulsa, and legacy. His raps reflects this, the town that he's from and the real value he sees in things. The goals that he set in Tone's Beach have clearly evolved to bigger ones. To an island so big I don't even think he could've imagined. But the hard work he put in made it the one he deserved.
So this brings us to the last track on Intellectual Property called "RIP Dialtone". Right when you feel like he had found his way. Why would he decide to kill him off? This is the time to vast in the fruits of your labor. He's built this beach. Why not just retire on it? But just stopping has never been his style. It's when you step back and look at his discography as a whole that you start to put the puzzle back together and something new takes shape. So clear is it now that it was so easy to get lost in the big picture. Much like his paintings, the clues have always been there. You just had to stop and pay attention. He was Tone's Beach!
Thanks for reading! Make sure you go stream Dialtone's new album "Intellectual Property". Also watch his latest video below "94 Super Tight" ft. Steph Simon and Keeng Cut:
And I was never the perfect ki-d,
The church has always been a staple in the black community. For generations it has been a place of not only worship, but has also been a place of family, community, values, and overall a place that prepared you for living a Holy life. And anyone who has lived on the northside of Tulsa knows that church is a way of life. Especially on a Sunday. Sunday is The Lord's day, and in north Tulsa this means churches are filled with family and friends who are all coming to hear The Word. The church is more than just a building, It's sacred land. One church that's a symbol of northside churches is the Praise Center Family Church located between North Peoria and MLK right on Apache. It's here that local rapper Steph Simon chooses to shoot a scene from his video Silver n' Gold which features fellow artist and churchgoer Dialtone. The two actually went to church together and have a long time friendship and have numerous collaborations together. But it's 45 seconds into the video that you hear Steph Simon disrespect this sacred land as he raps, "starring at the baddest bitches off in the serv-ices".
You throwing up big C’s but you ain’t a Crypto
At 1:24 on his track Mr. Robot. Dial Tone raps the lines, “We out for this Crypto. You throwin up big C’s but you ain’t a crip tho.” It’s lines like these that are deeply ingrained into the bars of Dial Tone’s latest album “Tones Beach”. Crypto for the later part of 2017 became a trend. Something that saw success just as quickly as it saw failure. But for Dial Tone this new form of currency and technology was never a fade or a trend. For him it meant a new way to play the game, especially for a game that was designed for him to lose. For him it meant ownership. Something that Dial Tone has been rapping about since his earliest projects. And now his latest project “Tones Beach” will be sold for crypto.