As the spring weather draws near, it is hard to describe the effect that lakes have on the average Minnesotan. With the sheer ubiquity of lakes, they are an unrelenting part of our culture that founded the survival of most of our Midwestern ancestors. Many seek out these watery basins for a variety of reasons and are determined to utilize each one regardless of the time of year. While poets ponder these rejuvenating qualities, Minneapolis MC Tony Phantom tries to elaborate on this with his new EP, Lake Effect.
Released on March 9th, this eight track EP is a jazz influenced trip into the subconscious of the Wide Eyes MC as he reveals the fruits of meditation along the shores of great Lake Superior. Being a “fanatical fly fisherman,” Phantom cites that the retreat to the North Shore communities was the biggest source of inspiration as he explored the untouched wilderness and welcomed the generosity of the local residents to find his place in the larger scheme of things. When he returned home, he was compelled to share his experience with the world through the help of Detroit producer, Andre Biggz.
“I found Biggz by chance on Soundcloud,” said Tony Phantom. “I just reached out to him and he was real receptive to working on some stuff together.”
Rocking over Biggz’ wavy wonderment, Lake Effect also marks the first solo release from the MC in over three years. Although with his line “rhyme for life, not rhyme for a living,” some might assume that he had taken a break from music. Phantom elaborates that this is far from the case as he has been hard at work juggling new material while being dedicated to domestic bliss.
“It kinda started when Sean finished up Anonymo and started getting a lot of attention. I was pretty tired of the micro-managing of being in a group and it was so hard to travel with a family. Being real studio oriented, I never really wanted to tour as much as I wanted to make music. So in the mean time I’ve been doing things I love, and making a ton of music. I’ve been raising my son and we’re expecting a daughter any day now and I couldn’t be more excited.”
Along with his time and whirling excitement at home, Phantom clears up that there is nothing but love for his Wide Eyes compatriots, Sean Anonymous and Dimitry Killstorm as they continue to ride the waves of success from their respected solo projects.
“I learned a lot about rap from Sean. How it’s written, structured, who’s worth paying attention to in some cases. I learned a lot about how to be myself from Sean as well. I have never met someone more driven to do what he loves and take whatever is thrown at him and make the most of it. Dimitry showed me how to be a better person when we were younger when I wasn’t making the best choices, and helped me realize there’s a way to listen to music that benefits me creatively and mentally. I can’t say I taught these dudes anything specifically, but we learned a lot together. Everything from how we make music, how to use audio production software, how to throw successful parties and shows, good business, how to manage money, and promote ourselves independently.”
This level of comradery is seen within the EP’s posse cut “Can’t See.” Featuring Sean Anonymous and Phillip Morris, the song also features Shelltoe, of whom Tony Phantom will be joining on the 7th St Entry stage to celebrate the release of both Lake Effect and Shelltoe’s The Sumac Tape with the likes of Manny Phesto, Moonlight Grammar and Omen on Wednesday, March 25.
“Shelltoe and I hang out pretty regularly. We were sharing new music with each other and it kinda just made sense. We both said it at the same time, ‘we should throw a release party together.’ So it stuck.”
With all of this excitement surrounding him, the future seems to be brimming with possibility for the Minneapolis MC as he continues to craft new tunes (and home brews). For a man whose credo is DIY, the tides seem to be rolling in for Tony Phantom.
Tony Phantom & Andre Biggz “Lake Effect” is available on Bandcamp. Be sure to check him out with Shelltoe for their Dual Release Show at the 7th St Entry on Wednesday, March 25th at 8 pm with Manny Phesto, Moonlight Grammar and Omen. And keep up with everything he is doing through Facebook and Twitter.