Exclusive Interview with Tony D – Legendary Poor Righteous Teachers Producer

Science dropped by Martini & Jopparelli. Apr-13-2008

Here at Music Selections we are all Italians: if you think about any Italians that made a great contribution to hip hop, it’s really difficult to think of any.


Some people may come up with Kid Capri (well, he’s half afro-American and half italo-american… but the name says it all and he’s the best mixtape dj ever..) and that’s it (I don’t count local Italian mc’s because all they did was copy American mc’s…).

Well, Kid Capri it’s not the only one in the hip hop history who left an heavy mark on it: have you ever listened to a Poor Righteous Teachers album or Yz ‘s “Thinking Of A Master Plan “? If yes and if you were wondering who produced those gems, here’s the answer: Mr. Tony Depula a.k.a Tony D.

Tony D has produced so many classics and it will take too long to name them all: if you want to know more about him, here’s the interview he kindly agree to do for Music Selections

Dj MP45:First of all, thanks for letting us have this interview. We should start from the beginning: what was your first exposure to hip-hop? I read that you started as a DJ, so which were the songs you were playing at that time?

Tony D: Grandmaster Flash and the Sugarhill stuff but Run DMC and the Def Jam early 12′s really were my favs.

Dj MP45: How did you switch from DJing to production and which equipment were you using when you started?

Tony D: the Mantronik album cover with roland 909 made me go buy one. So back then I had that and a 4 track cassette. ..

Dj MP45: Did you do a lot of crate digging in the past and do you still do it these days?

Tony D: Of course, but the record stores have dried up so it’s more of a challenge. I find myself digging in my own stash more than going out and breakhunting I have gathered so many old records that I still have fresh stock to go through…digger for life.

Dj MP45: Which are your top 5 non-hip hop records?

Tony D: I like the funky people James Brown lp’s, Monk Higgins, Andy Bey, Children of all ages: dope lp!

Dj MP45: Who are other producers that inspired your work and why?

Tony D: Marley Marl: he was the first to samples drums……

Pete Rock : trademark sound with horns and he pioneered the raw remix. .

But Paul C was the best on the SP1200 which I still use today. . . Plus he was ahead of time. . .

Dj MP45: Which songs do you wish you had produced yourself?

Tony D: Give The Drummer Some by Ultramagnetic Mc’s, T.R.O.Y. by Pete Rock and C.L Smooth and DWYCK by Gangstarr

Dj MP45: You produced a lot of politically-charged acts such as Poor Righteous Teachers: were you comfortable with their message or was it just music to you?

Tony D: Sometimes I felt a little odd hearing all the anti-devil stuff but I was pretty much accepted into the hip-hop urban community because I been down since day 1 . . .

Blvd. Mosse – Move To Something Funky

Dj MP45: One of my favourite songs you produced is the Blvd Mosse “Move to something funky”: I tried to find more info on this group, but I couldn’t find any: how did you start working with them and do you have any interesting anecdotes about that time?

Tony D: Actually with the explosion of random hip hop, BLVD MOSSE unreleased is in demand as I have other material from them as well as other artists from Trenton that never came out.

I met them in North Trenton. They were from that area where I was already scouting acts.

Dj MP45: Let’s move to the present: what do you think about the state of hip hop at the moment and do you think there are producers who can still carry that flag?

Tony D: It goes up and down. Sometimes I think Hip-Hop’s dead then Kanye or Lupe Fiasco comes out with something dope.

But overall, crunk, bling and gangsta rap have put a dent in the culture of Hip-Hop

Dj MP45: Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, it is very much appreciated , I know readers of our blog will be happy to find out that a fellow Italian gave such a great contribution to hip hop.

Tony D: Thanks paisons…peace.

Check out one of his former groups, Crusaders For Real Hip Hop. Dope production here….

Crusaders For Real Hip Hop – That's How It Is

Check out also this YZ video… respect for the necklace

YZ- "Thinking Of A Master Plan"


24 Responses to “Exclusive Interview with Tony D – Legendary Poor Righteous Teachers Producer”

  1. IlMago says:

    cool !! grande Prea

  2. Ozzino says:

    Bang! This is a knockout post…

  3. Nice interview.
    Only one thing: saying “(I don’t count local Italian mc’s because all they did was copy American mc’s…)” is not fair. It’s like saying that whoever writes a novel is copying Homer or that painters now are copying what someone did in the Reinassance…
    I am not talking about quality, but you cannot tell me that people like Colle Der Fomento or Kaos copy american MCs. Hip Hop was born in USA, but there are a lot of non English-speaking MCs that did their thing.

  4. “there are a lot of non English-speaking MCs that did their thing”

    Sure, but they have importance only in their country. You don’t listen chinese hip-hop, do you?

    I think MP45 is talkin about the hip hop movement from a global point of view. Only american rappers have worldwide audience, that’s a fact.

    Tony D’s beats are listened all around the world, while nobody in Canada or Japan cares about (italian artist) Kaos’ latest joint.

  5. mp 45 says:

    Antonio, it’s true that some italian mc did their thing in italian: my man marty used to be very nice on the mic and had some rhyme stolen by a guy called ….neffa( remember that one marty?!!)…shark wop biters…

  6. no, it was not Neffa! It was Piotta!

    Marty once performed before Piotta as a support rapper and few weeks later Piotta came out with a line exactly the same!

  7. IlMago says:

    Italian mcs are just swagger jackers!

  8. Bè, support rapper è un po esagerato. Diciamo che son saltato sul palco ubriaco fradicio.

  9. Antonio says:

    In italiano per ragioni di pigrizia…

    (I don’t count local Italian mc’s because all they did was copy American mc’s…).
    Resto della mia idea: questa frase, oltre che ingenerosa, è sbagliata, proprio a livello concettuale.

    Inoltre: ma siamo proprio sicuri che Tony D abbia tutto questo pubblico, in giro per il mondo? Manco fosse Dr. Dre…

    Ultima cosa: non capisco il francese, ma i dischi degli IAM me li sono comprati eccome. E pure alcuni dischi in spagnolo, lingua a me oscura.
    Ovviamente, conoscendo l’inglese, preferisco investire nel mercato americano. Se capissi il cinese, chissà!

    P.S.: mi spiace per Marty, ma queste cose capitano. Nas dice che Biggie Smalls gli rubava le rime, all’inizio, e Jay si è costruito una carriera sul liricismo di B.I.G.!

  10. Kaos One : Pharoahe Monch = Bobby Solo : Elvis Presley

    con una differenza: “Elvis never meant shit to me” (© Public Enemy)… :-)

  11. I wonder if I blasted a little Elvis Presley
    Would they pull me over and attempt to arrest me…

  12. Moka says:

    Always on point!!

  13. mixdiggerz says:

    Hee there,
    I building a blog spot to post your update`s of your mixtape`s, mixes, shows, dj mixes ect.

    I just post your latest update`s on my blog spot,
    if you don`t mind?
    If you mind, let me know.

    In the future you can post your update`s your self and i will post them on my blog.
    I`m only post the link to your side.

    And when you support me you can put a back link on your site
    Thx and keep up the good work.

  14. Mr Mass™ says:

    Dope Interviews Kid
    Keep Up keep Up Keep Up

  15. [...] Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, can I have your attention please? Today I am very pleased to introduce to you our second interview. The man in charge to answer our inquisitive questions this time is DJ Nes from the considerable Dirty Waters blog. Some of you might already know him: he is a very skilled DJ (as you can see from this video), he has an impressive vinyl collection, he got knowledge…but most important thing, is a cool guy, we definitely love his attitude. To cut it short: enjoy this chat and don’t forget about our previous exclusive interview with Tony D – Legendary Poor Righteous Teachers producer! [...]

  16. Big P says:

    R.I.P. Tony D R.I.P.!!!

  17. [...] Many,like myself, didn’t really know his name but we knew his work. Primarily his production on the classic “Thinking of A Master Plan” by YZ and Poor Righteous Teachers albums and King Sun. As well as some uncredited work with Naughty by Nature and others. In Memory of Tony D DJ Books wanted me to repost his Best Of PRT tunes. So not only check this mix but read an 2008 interview Tony D did with Martini & Jopparelli HERE [...]

  18. [...] had the pleasure to interview him few months ago for this blog (here) and i have to say he came across as a nice, humble [...]

  19. D says:

    First of all, R.i.P. to Tony D.
    Then something on another note.
    About the quick shot at the Italian Mc’s, or any non-american mc doin’ his/her thing in whatever country. Dude, you are definitely entitled to your opinion, but you are being VERY superficial about hip hop and it shows.
    Rap has to be relevant to the people you are rapping to. Rap is not some blablablabla over music. You rap and you say something, play with words, or storytell, the whole nine. Now who gives a f*#k to rap for a Japanese or a New Yorker? They have their own stories, their own day to day life, their own slang. Leave it alone, stick to your gunz. One could cut a track with international guests for fun and fame, but at the end of the day you rap for your people, because they are those that can RELATE. And thats exactly the point, this side or that side of the atlantic.
    That’s what it’s about and always been about. This holds true for Mc’s all over the world. True, Kaos or Colle can only rap for Italians, but you said another thing: you said they copy american styles. Prove it. I think you should take that back, but whatever. Listen to Us hip hop all you want, like we all ( used to) do. But quit taking cheap shots.

  20. djmp45 says:

    “or any non-american mc doin’ his/her thing in whatever country” i didnt say anything like that as i quite like some uk stuff…
    i said they copy american style because rap was born in america so they must copy it…i havent heard an italian mc inventing a whole new style , if you can name it, please tell me and i’ll do my research and you might be right…otherwise i’ll stay with my opininon…
    it’s not a cheap shot i think…if you listen to the level of hip hop in uk or france compared to italy is another planet…that’s why you have people like guru working with mc solaar or Hijack gettin signed to syndicate records….and nothing like that on the italian side…
    “One could cut a track with international guests for fun and fame, but at the end of the day you rap for your people, because they are those that can RELATE”…that’s why when kaos started he was rapping in english …to speak to his people…

  21. D says:

    Ha! Mc Solaar? Hijack? Kaos rapping in English? what year is this?! It’s ok, man. We leave it at that.