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Rob $tone‘s passion for music is apparent in his approach to the rap game. The San Diego born rapper (the Lemon Grove area) was influenced by his father’s vintage music collection, opening him up to genres like reggae, Hip Hop, rap, rock and R&B. With that $tone has developed a flow and style all of his own.

$tone ultimately formed the 1207 Collective, made up of rappers and producers from his high school after returning to San Diego from Atlanta. With a hands on feel for trap music from its mecca, $tone brought his experiences to the West Coast to create.

In his standout single “Chill Bill,” $tone combines his love for filmmaking with music for a song that samples the whistle made famous by Daryl Hannah and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. The song has been streamed over 13 million times on SoundCloud and viewed over eight million times on YouTube.

After his debut at SXSW’s Fader Fort, $tone revealed that nothing can stop his matriculation in music. We caught up with the Cali native to get to know him a little better.

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How long have you been doing what you do?
About two and a half years now.

How did you get started?
I always wanted to be a rapper. I never really believed I could do it until after I saw how much better [my friend] Spooks got. I started going to the studio with him in Lemon Grove the summer we graduated from high school. That fall I moved to Atlanta and that’s when I really got started. I never really thought I could rap, but I knew I would be one day.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far and why?
Receiving Lil B’s blessing in Texas, signing with RCA and the Fader Fort. The Fader Fort was so much fun, man. Free Jack Daniels all week and I got to meet some big artists. Performing was dope too.

What is your biggest inspiration?
My mom, son and my squad.

Is there an early memory you’d like to share about getting into your craft, such as when you realized this was more than just a hobby or a passion?
When I decided to take music seriously, I sat at my computer desk and told myself that if I wanted this that I would have to dedicate my life to it and it will happen. Then I wrote my first song and from that day forward, I became a musician. I remember sitting outside of Morehouse University in my BMW with my homie D.White listening to O.N.I.F.C. by Wiz Khalifa. At the beginning of “Medicated” Wiz said, “You can be anything you want.” I never really put thought into it before, but the homie elaborated on it pretty tough and said, “you can do it too.” I think that’s when I really believed I could be a rapper.

Who have you worked with in the past?
Only 1207 thus far. I really cherish my work so it’s pretty hard to get me to work with people. I want to work with 21 Savage, Metro Boomin’, Kali Uchis, Kid Cudi, Cisco Adler, Cousin Stizz, Wiz of course and the list goes on, but not much longer.

What is your favorite part about working on your music? How do you describe your sound to people who haven’t heard your music before?
The creative process! I feel like a mad scientist or a great composer or genius of some sort. I enter a new level or a new consciousness when I create. It’s amazing. I love it. I cannot describe my sound in any way other than it’s me.

What characteristics do you believe are important to have in order to be successful?
Just be hungry and keep it 100. If you’re going to do it, do it.

What are your influences/what is some advice that has stuck with you?
Everything influences me. I’ll probably write a bar about getting interviewed tonight at the stu’. The one thing that has stuck with me the most comes from my dad. He said, “If you’re book smart and street smart then nobody will be able to mess with you.” From there I took more pride in being educated. College wasn’t for me though but I still enjoy studying different things, like Spanish.

What are you working on next?
I’m working on a surprise tape for everyone right now. I’m writing a 1207 musical with my squad and the help of my 12th grade art teacher. I’m also working on some music videos right now and a five minute film called The Rush, about the rush this rock star lifestyle brings while giving a peek on what goes on behind the scenes. It’ll talk about everything from haters, being away from your family, withdrawals, and other things. It’s gonna be dope.