Tony D.

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Italian-American producer from the early days of hip-hop cut the occasional record in front of the mic.
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New Jersey rap artist Tony D. made a promising debut in 1991 with his Droppin' Funky Verses album for 4th & Broadway, an album he both produced and rapped on; however, it was several years before he returned to the rap game, primarily as a producer. From Trenton, NJ, and white, Tony D. surely wasn't your typical rapper in the early '90s. His debut release was impressive, particularly for its time, featuring the two singles "E.F.F.E.C.T." and "Check the Elevation." Unfortunately, 4th & Broadway underwent challenging times, eventually meeting its demise, and Tony D. never got the chance to record a follow-up album for the label. It also didn't help that he was white and from Jersey rather than New York; in the early '90s, rap was still evolving as a genre, and whoever didn't fit the prototypical mold was often refused opportunities. Nonetheless, Tony D. made a low-key return several years later, in 1995, with an album for Contract Records, Flav (Beats) From the Cave. During this mid-'90s era, he also began producing tracks for other rappers such as WC, Wise Intelligent, and Kwest tha Madd Ladd. In 1997, he recorded the Pound for Pound album for Grand Central and then moved to Rufflife, where he recorded Master of the Moaning Beats (2001).