's name may not be familiar to you, but he's been around the block. Known previously as Brothatone, the name change has spiritual significance while the rapper's style and mission stay the same: to deliver truth in an authentic, real-life manner that those who may not understand doctrine and theology can still relate to it.
NRT's first officer of hip-hop, Dwayne Lacy, threw five questions at Tony in celebration of his recently released The Tillman EP
You used to be Brothatone. You changed it and you are not using your real last name. Now, you know that your parents did not give you the last name Tillman. Where did the whole concept of the last name "Tillman" come from?
Yeah man, my mom didn't give me that last name. I wanted to use my real first name but still have a moniker that sounded a lot like a last name with meaning. And Tillman was the name i believe the Holy Spirit placed on my heart. In the Bible, tillmen were men who tilled the earth for crops. Jesus actually speaks of himself as a tillman in Mark 4 with his "sower and the seed" parable. I feel, musically, that's what I do. I sow a message in the hearts of my listeners—a message of hope and redemption through Jesus Christ. That's the concept of the name.
This album is very well-produced and has more of a mainstream sound. What would you say to fans that may not understand this slight transition?
Really it wasn't something i did intentionally; that's just where my heart is right now. I think it sounds different, sonically, because of the producers I had a chance to work with on this project. I think as an artist I'm growing musically and I'm just writing from a place of growth.
You know I had to do it… With the growing debate and concern, I have to ask you this question: Are you a rapper who’s Christian or a Christian rapper and why?
I'm both. I'm a rapper who is Christian, and a Christian who raps. I'm a Christian in my faith and lifestyle, and a rapper in my profession.
Do you think what has happened with Jay-Z and Samsung will change how artists sell their albums?
To be honest I'm not sure. I think it's too early to tell. A part of me says I doubt it, but you never know.
I see that Derek Minor is coming out with a new one. What else is next for the label and also for Tony Tillman?
Yea, Derek Minor is dropping his third studio album, Minorville, in a few months. Canon is going to drop an album as well as Chad Jones. And I'm working on an album now, hopefully to release early next year.