Southern graduate Antonio Ifill releases new hip hop EP “Square One”
Dylan Haviland – General Assignment Reporter
Antonio Ifill, also known by his stage name Tone Eyeful’s new EP “Square One” is an energetic and compelling hip hop piece emerging in New Haven. As the track “Back to the Basics” suggest Ifill is working from the ground up to improve himself as an artist and perfecting his musicality.
Originally born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Ifill moved to New Haven at a young age. An important aspect of his musical upbringings was his parents who encouraged his pursuit in the arts.
“My mom is actually a singer so it’s kind of funny because growing up when I first started getting into music I made a song with her over a track I made about my ex-girlfriend and she sang on it. That was pretty dope to me,” said Ifill. “Then my dad was always putting me onto real hip hop not any of this stuff we listen to today. But I always had that musical ear from the start.”
Ifill implemented his musical upbringings with his first mixtape “Crown Street King” in 2010. Almost right after the release of the mixtape, Ifill continued to release EPs and singles as he worked towards his career as a hip hop artist. Each mixtape and single pursued with passion and hard work.
Ifill commented that he tries to write every single day and studies music as a part of his growth as an artist.
“I’ve progressed an extreme amount, as one is supposed to progress when they are putting in as much hard work, I have come a long way from “Crown Street King,” said Ifill. “Progression to me is important because I feel like track by track if I am not seeing a constant progression I need to take a step back and assess the situation.”
Ifill’s progress has lead him to open for several known hip hop artists including Big Sean and French Montana. Recently, Ifill had the opportunity to open for Nas at Sin City in Waterbury.
“That was a once in a lifetime experience, hopefully not once in a lifetime but it was definitely one of those experiences where you just have to take a step back and say ‘I’m really here right now’” said Ifill. “He is one of my inspirations, definitely one of the people I look up to. I grew up on his music, a lot of his music.”
Joking that music helps “keep me sane,” said Ifill, his new work in “Square One” will be followed by two new EPs soon after. Amongst the new music constantly being created, Ifill has said that “Square One” is a piece that he can truly be proud of.
“That was a real 90s feel I wanted to give, that classic hip hop style and the producer I linked up with me and him actually had that vibe to where we made that music and just “Square One” was dope for me,” said Ifill.
As his music career grows Ifill remains a part of the New Haven music community. Reflecting on his older work, “Mister New Haven” released back in 2011, the tape comments on the importance of the city to him and the talent that lies within it.
“The music that I have been making lately has been more positive and to uplift people and bring out a new side of them. The city is world-renowned for Yale but what they don’t know is that there are some great musicians here,” said Ifill.