Q&A: MC Toni Monroe
Being a female MC is unique enough - but Toni Monroe has shattered the expectation of the role. Not only is she a woman, but she's a woman who doesn't fit any physical stereotype. And not only is she not concerned about being different, she's completely embraced her self-image.
I recently talked with Toni about what makes her who she is, and the challenges she's faced as a plus-size woman in her profession.
What made you want to become an MC?
As far as me being an MC, I just feel like it was just one of those things. It was all or nothing. Anybody can rap, but I wanted to do it and really understand what I'm getting myself into. Part of the reason I wanted to become a professional in this industry was knowing there was such a lack of women in hip-hop.
Is there someone you'd say was particularly influential or helpful in your career?
Yes. Freedom Alive. I think to make me strive to find inspiration and to be able to really understand the craft and respect the culture. That and to push me to put out the best material I could. It's about also having a message.
You have a new mixtape that's just dropped. What's on the mixtape?
There's definitely lyrical content, there's definitely message. It's different from anything that's out there. It brings back that essence of hip-hop.
Your gender, race and appearance all make you stand out from most artists in your genre. From your experience, how much do you think physical qualities like that really affect an artist's career?
I definitely think it's still an issue. It's an issue to be heavy in America period. More than half the country's overweight. Definitely image is a big thing.
You look at like Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah and even Oprah, we love thiese women, and we love them because they're real and we can relate to them. [It] doesn't fit the typical Hollywood mold.
You've not only embraced yourself, but you're using your differences to promote yourself. What kind of feedback have you gotten from listeners?
I'm not running away from who I am. Obviously, being plus-size and female are it's just what I am. It's not a gimmick. I'm a big girl and I'm comfortable in my skin. You don't have to be a size zero to make it in this industry. It's not about what I look like, it all comes down to music.
What's going to make you consider your career a success? Do you have any specific ambitions?
I think that's to be able to take care of my family. Once I'm able to provide for my family and people that have believed in me. I think that's my success.
You've collaborated with a lot of interesting people. Is there someone you'd still like to work with?
What music do you listen to?
I listen to about anything. It's very rare that I'm listening to radio. I listen to Glee, I listen to jazz, I listen to R&B, I listen to heavy metal. There's not just one genre that I attach to.
My thanks to Toni Monroe for this interview! Find her on Twitter (@tonimonroe). For more on Toni, you can visit her official site.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.