Born in Los Angeles, Tony Williams dreamed like any other child. He loved music, he loved basketball, and he even dreamed of becoming a pediatrician. At an early age, his family moved to the valley and at 15, feeling unwanted and alone, he ran away from his abusive family life. Apprehensively, he returned home. Even though he had 2 younger siblings, Ryan and Erin, Tony sought family connection with Los Angeles gang bangers. Fighting and manifesting trouble became his life. At 17 years old, he was kicked out of his home. Abandoned, he experienced homelessness and dark depression.
Nevertheless, the dreamer Tony received a basketball scholarship from the University of Washington Huskies. However, not having the proper guidance and not understanding the importance of a scholarship, he didn’t pursue it.
In the streets, Tony had a reputation for passionately expressing himself and helping his peers see from a new perspective. Word in the hood about him was “that nigga’s too real”. He decided to keep the nickname and “Tony2real” was born.
Tony’s genuine love and concern for his younger brother, Ryan, helped balance him and he eventually chose to step away from the gang environment and became a licensed barber. As his skills superseded others and his barbering gift exposed his creativity, his love for rap flourished after listening to Snoop Dogg’s smooth flow on the “Doggy Style” album.
It was a basketball tournament hosted at Jamie Foxx’s house, where Tony sat beating on a table that Jamie asked, “What are you doing?” Tony responded, “Rapping.” Jamie immediately walked Tony into his home studio and said, “Rap.” Tony rapped a few lines but didn’t have enough material. That’s when Jamie told him to ALWAYS BE READY. This advice lit his rap flame.
With the help and support of his brother, Ryan “OneTruth”, Tony began writing raps, producing videos, and they created T$M (Ten Step Mafia). The “T” represents ten toes down for you and yours (holding your own ground) and 10 steps ahead of the game (of life), the “$” is for stacking and stepping. The acronym for Mafia meaning: Money And Family Influencing All.
When they began, Tony didn’t know anything about music production. Driven by ambition and determination, this self-taught man purchased equipment and learned how to create beats, use the mics, write lyrics, shoot videos and edit them. Was it easy? No. Did he fall? Yes. But with each new song he knows that he can only fall forward. It’s all a lesson.
Now Tony realizes life is not about gangs, red or blue colors. It’s not about separation but about coming together. It’s about creating a loving family and having the financial means to take care of them. Tony desires to uplift and inspire everyone who crosses his path. He knows his purpose is to help others and for this knowing he is eternally grateful.