Help Vote TOPE onto the A3C Music Festival Main Stage this October in Atlanta. The curators at A3C have handpicked TOPE for the "This Is My Year Fan Challenge" where fans have the opportunity to vote their favorite artist onto this year's festival. Hit the link and vote for TOPE today and everyday until Friday, April 21st!
While in Portland TOPE was featured on DJ Klyph's Klyph Notes podcast for an in-depth interview speaking on new music and recapping the last two years since TOPE's move from Portland to California. This episode of Klyph Notes is TOPE's most personal and open interview to date. Check out a preview of the podcast and download the full episode on iTunes + Subscribe to Klyph Notes as well: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tope/id917116791?i=1000384099705&mt=2
The career of Portland rapper Tope lies somewhere between the pre-streaming-era giants like Cool Nutz and Sandpeople and the current New Portland ascension of Aminé and the Last Artful, Dodgr. Those who followed Tope's music saw him rise from a local diamond in the rough to an artist being written about in national publications like The Source, all through DIY hustle. Part of what made Tope such an engaging presence was that his relentless drive was his muse. His songs inspired you to work smarter, party harder and not let where you came from limit the places you can go.
And then, he left.
In 2015, a few months after the release of his album BrokeBoySyndrome, Tope announced he was leaving Portland for the Bay Area. With him returning to play the monthly Mic Check party, we caught up with the MC born Anthony Anderson to ask him about watching the Portland scene evolve from afar, staying motivated and why he feels like late-period Michael Corleone. BLAKE HICKMAN.
WW: What brought you to the Bay Area? What opportunities were available there that weren't on the table in Portland?
Tope: For the most part, my opportunities have gotten a little bit smaller because it's such a larger market, with a lot more competition and money as compared to Portland. The Bay Area is the sixth-largest media market in the U.S.; Portland is 24th, I believe. So it's a pretty big jump. I would say the biggest difference is that everyone, and I mean everyone raps here. If you don't rap now, you probably did at one point.
What keeps you motivated as you continue building your career?
To be honest, I've been trying to find that motivation. I think for the first time since I was a teenager, I thought about doing something else for the majority of last year. Sometimes I feel like Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III with music. Like, I want to leave, but I really love this shit; it's in my blood. I had my laptop stolen, with all the music I had made in the last four years, at a show recently and couldn't make music for like a month, which might not sound like anything to some people, but I was going crazy. That kind of refreshed things for me again.
Looking back on it, what Portland artists had the most impact on yourcoming up?
I could do this all day. Proz and Conz was my Wu-Tang growing up. I remember the first time hearing Cool Nutz at Lents Park. Seeing Lifesavas open for De La Soul and bumping Spirit In Stone all summer with my homie Daniel. Buying Sandpeople's first CD from Gold. Being so excited that Sleep watched me rap when I was 19. Liv Warfield singing at my mom's funeral. Tony Ozier and original Dookie Jam, Farnell Newton, Dennis Dove, too many people. That's a lot of names for New Portland to Google.
What has it been like to watch the rise of artists like Aminé and Dodgr from afar?
It's been really, really dope. I remember Luck One and I having a conversation back in the day about him maybe being the one from Portland that could really pop, at a time when a lot people were talking about him and I. I knew it was real when I was living in L.A., and I was walking out to my car and people were driving by playing the song [Aminé's "Caroline"]. I know it's cool to hate on the popular guy, but I'm happy for Aminé. And he has a way nicer Benz than mine, so I have to give him props [laughs].
I think my guy Noah Porter was the first to show Dodgr, and her rise has also been awesome to see, in a completely different way. She's connected with so many Portland people that knew that they liked hip-hop but didn't necessarily see an artist that they could connect with in the local scene. She's going to be really big, like on Ellen big. Shout out to TYuS and Cassow, too. Portland has some stars.
What can we expect from your next full length?
You can expect 90-100 percent of the production to be handled by Stewart Villain. There's a lot of different sounds on this album, definitely some personal songs as usual, some radio sounding songs, songs on police brutality. It's hard for me to really define my music lately; it has a little bit of everything, I feel like. It definitely tells a story.
Watch some behind the scenes footage from the making of TOPE's new single THE MAN featuring Cash Campain and DJ Flip Flop, produced by Stewart Villain. Filmed and edited by ArtRapxWhiteT in Hayward, CA at The Storage.
After some recent setbacks, TOPE has been back to work on his new album with Stewart Villain dropping two recent singles, THANK YOU and THE MAN. Both songs very different from each other, but displaying TOPE's recent range of emotion and ability to open up and get personal while at the same time flex with some barsssss. Also catch TOPE with upcoming appearances in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle!
Stream THE MAN and THANK YOU below, plus watch TOPE - THE MAN (Behind The Scenes) below:
Sooooo, we had a change of plans about the originally scheduled premiere for this song, but who needs a Complex owned media site when you have your own fancy, shiny squarespace site..amiright?!?
New music out today entitled, "THE MAN" After dropping some personal, emo singles lol (MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE, BETTER PLACE, and THANK YOU) I had to get back on my shit and drop a banger + something I can do at my live shows. Thank you to bro Stewart Villain for consistently supplying me with heat for almost 6 years now, sheesh. Shout out to DJ Flip Flop for lacing some cuts on this song, mixing and mastering the whole thing, and putting up with me with I tracked down sessions and files my from various random studio trips down here. Also, shout out to Niyah Nelson for connecting me with the super super talented singer Cash Campain who really helping me bring this song together and smooth everything out.
This is actually the ONLY SURVIVING SONG from my stolen laptop last month, that I had mixed and mastered for the most part, so I hope you guys enjoy. (An update on my project with Stewart Villain, the album is definitely starting to take shape as I've record about 12 songs, with 6 of them in the maybe folder so far) One specific memory of this song is doing this for the first time in New Mexico on tour this summer at soundcheck and the entire venue getting out of their seat because they thought the show was starting right then and there lol. If you live in San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle come out to a show and hear THE MAN live this month!
(& If you made this far, hit share for me because I'm not popping and I need all the help I can get lol)
more info on THE MAN
Oakland (via Portland) artist TOPE returns with new music entitled "The Man" produced by Stewart Villain, featuring vocals from Cash Campain and cuts by DJ Flip Flop. It's been a crazy few months for TOPE as he moved from The Bay to LA and back, and recently had his laptop and entire new album stolen at a show in San Francisco. Bouncing back the only way he knows how, TOPE connects with long time collaborators Stewart Villain and DJ Flip Flop as well as new comer Cash Campain for the soulful and boastful new anthem, "The Man." After getting personal with his last single THANK YOU, TOPE gets back to the bars on his latest release, with Cash Campain smoothing things out. Catch TOPE live this month with shows in San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle + be sure to add your favorite TOPE joints to your Spotify playlist and spread the love.
After months of missing each other’s schedule, I finally got a chance to catch up with rising star and emcee, TOPE. If you didn’t already know, TOPE is dope and has been featured on W.Coast.K numerous times. Like HERE and HERE. If his music were wack (which it’s not), his work ethic would still put him on top. His professionalism and lack of ego in an ego driven industry is what stands out and sets him up for success.
Catch his exclusive W.Coast.K interview below to find his thoughts on the importance of building genuine relationships in the industry, how he knew he was meant to be a musician and the answer to the all too important question, “Kendrick or J.Cole.”
P.S. Don’t be a stranger when it comes to reaching out to TOPE, as you can find his contact info at the end of the interview
Read the full interview below:
Catch TOPE opening for Seattle's own Ryan Caraveo and HBK's Dave Steezy + special guests Thursday, January 12th at Brick + Mortar.
Tickets available HERE
And then the following night catch TOPE and Ryan Cararveo in LA with special guests, Friday, January 13th at The Mint.
Tickets available HERE.
Fresh off of "THANK YOU" his first release in over a year, TOPE teams up with Sofar Sounds to release "Rocky Live in San Francisco." A month after moving to LA, TOPE returned to SF to for an intimate, private show in the Presidio neighborhood. Performing classics from his discography as well as previewing his new single "The Man," TOPE jokes with the crowd and loosens up the audience with his stripped down performance of Rocky from the 2014 album, BROKEBOYSYNDROME.
Watch Rocky Live in San Francisco below and look out for more music dropping in 2017 from TOPE.
Where do I even begin?
First off, if you're reading this I JUST WANT TO SAY THANK YOU for taking the time.
It's been a minute since I've released some new music and I can't lie, I've been nervous. I don't know how to exactly describe my feelings with my own music lately, but I know that I've been in my head a lot. With my last album, #BBS, I was very focused on the theme and what I wanted that album to say. Even if I didn't dig deep enough into my own story or if the concepts went over people's head, I still accomplished a lot of goals I set out for myself with that project. From there I felt some pressure to deliver, to keep up my momentum, and I started thinking too much, or maybe I didn't think enough in the past. I also really started to get affected heavily by everything happening in the U.S. recently with Police Brutality, Black Lives Matter, and an increased sense of racism in the air. Like how can I be out here yelling "party and bullshit" when some real shit is happening every day, and I have an outlet to say something as rapper, and a white one at that.
Taking time to reflect on the last 9 years of releasing music, I just know moving forward I want my music to mean something. Even if I never reach the heights of success I once hoped for, I just want to make good music, music that people can resonate with and feel in their soul. Since I moved I've been taking a lot of time to figure out what I want my next step to be, musically and personally. When I decided to leave Portland for The Bay I didn't have a plan and that hindered my progression. I stopped releasing music, I detached myself from my former life, and just took a breath. The first year away from home I learned a lot about myself, tried to force myself to mature and deal with some of my own personal issues - most of them regarding my selfishness and how that affects the relationships in my life. Everything changed when I moved and I don't think I was ready for that.
To be honest I don't know when I wrote this song but I know it's something I've been feeling for a long time. The words "for all the times you doubted me, you know you brought the best out of me" seems like it's been a theme in my life, and probably for a lot of other people as well. With music, I always felt like I had to prove myself - to my city, to my family, to pretty much anyone that ever listened to my music or came out to a show. Even when I had success, I wanted more, I wanted to prove I could do it. I always wanted to prove my doubters wrong, prove I didn't need anybody, and I could win myself. I tried to use all the people that ever doubted me in life as my motivation, almost to the point where I started listening to the doubt and found myself fighting all my battles alone. I'm pretty stubborn I guess. I feel like this frame of mind can work, but only for so long until it becomes unhealthy, it's a fine line. For me THANK YOU speaks on a personal relationship in my life, our ups and downs, and wanting to prove my partner wrong whenever she said I wouldn't do this or do that. But it's not only this one relationship, it represents a lot of people in my life. Sometimes you really have to thank those people, or issues, that put you through hard times, because it makes you stronger in the end. Even if you can't see it at first, it's our adversities that shape as people, and lord knows I've see a couple of those in my life. For me this song is therapy, a reflection of the hard times that pushed me to get where I'm at today. And I still have so much more to work, so much more to accomplish but this is just a pause and a recognition, dedicated to anyone that has ever helped you in life, good or bad. THANK YOU wasn't really meant to be a single or anything but I just felt like the time was right with a lot of things that aren't going on in my life right now.
Hopefully you guys can relate.
Thank you to Stewart Villain for keeping me laced with beats, being an extremely talented artist, and good friend over the last few years. Shout out to Farnell Newton for being an inspiration, mentor, and overall a positive figure in general in the music community. (Farnell is my secret weapon man, I love hearing those horns on my songs!) Thank you to Erikka J for being such a professional and knocking out her parts super quickly and dealing with all my requests lol. Also shout out to DJ Flip Flop for mixing and Dyllyn Greenwood and the photo.
Hope you guys enjoy, sorry for the rant!
Portland's Mic Capes recently released his critically acclaimed album Concrete Dreams featuring the TOPE produced, Erykah Badu sampled "O.G.K." A big shout out to the people at Ambrosia For Heads for showing love!
Shout out to Blu for featuring TOPE's Let It Go featuring Rob Milton, Stewart Villain, and Farnell Newton and his newest compilation album Soul Amazing 6!
TOPE and Swa Playmaker hook up again for Only One, the third single off of their collaborative NO TITLE EP dropping this summer. Swa flexes his storytelling skills on this heartbreak tale of losing an ex-love to the game. With FLIGHTS and FIRST LOVE already available this TOPE x SWA EP is looking serious.
TOPE heads back to the Northwest on the 3AM Tour stopping in Bellingham, Washington on Friday, June 17th. Halee Hastad of Bellingham's What's Up Magazine recently sat down with TOPE to speak on his tour and upcoming album for another in depth interview featured in the June issue.
Making changes can be hard sometimes. There can be a lot on the line when one quits their job, moves from one place to another, decides to live with or without something. We all know how terrifying it is to face ourselves and know we are in need of something new, different, altered.
But these changes are necessary because they lead to personal growth. The ability to identify what one needs or doesn’t need is central to advancing our understanding of the lives we live.
And change, is just what TOPE, Portland-born, Oakland-based rapper, has done for himself.
Portland is approximately 630 miles north of Oakland. These miles were travelled by TOPE more than a year ago, as he left his life in Portland behind, heading to California to pursue furthering his already extensive Northwest rapping career.
Read the full interview HERE
TOPE recently produced an entire EP for Miami artist Swa Playmaker, available this summer. After releasing the first single Flights, Swa and TOPE team up again for "First Love." Be on the lookout for more music and the official video for Flights dropping soon for Swa Playmaker.
TOPE recently stopped in Moab, Utah on the 3AM Tour and sat down with Jenna Talbott for an in depth interview that made the front page of the Moab Sun News.
"Portland-raised rapper “TOPE” has set out on his largest tour to date, and he's sweeping through Moab to play a free 21-and-over show at Club Rio on Saturday, June 11.
Anthony Rian has released three albums, and is slowly releasing singles from his newest album, “3AM in Oakland.” Rian earned the name TOPE through his teens when he became a fixture at Portland’s local hip-hop showcases and freestyle cyphers.
TOPE moved to Oakland within the past year.
“It’s been the first time in a while I’ve been able to take a break, slow down, and take the time to think about what I really want to say as an artist,” Rian said. “It’s been me up with my thoughts real late at night. One night it dawned on me that ‘3AM in Oakland’ summed up the vibe of that moment of clarity – being able to reflect and move forward.”
Read the full feature HERE:
TOPE recently sat down with Jared Rasic from Bend's The Source Weekly to speak on the Portland Rap scene, musical influences, the independent artist grind, and more. The 3AM Tour comes to Bend, OR next Wednesday, June 15th for a free show at the Astro Lounge with special guest Caitlin Cardier. RSVP
The Source Weekly: How has the Portland rap scene influenced you?
TOPE: There's so many people in the Portland scene who have helped me along the way. I wouldn't be the artist I am without Portland and everything I experienced there. I think that's one of the great things about the scene there is that it's not hard to tap in, meet everyone, start doing shows and network. I used to hate on how small Portland was when I lived there, but after I moved I started to understand that's one of the things that makes it great. People are actually pretty open to hearing new artists and it seems to be doing better than ever right now. Portland's rap scene challenged me because I didn't always feel accepted and I still don't. I feel like I had to make a lot of things happen myself while a lot of people doubted me, but it was good for me.
Read the full interview HERE.
Catch TOPE on KSJS 90.5 FM TONIGHT at 10PM talking the 3AM Tour and more with Vibe Called West and Da Maddhouze in the building! If you're in the Bay listen in live, if not you can stream live here: http://ksjs.org/listen/
What’s your biggest advice for other indie artists out there who are looking to set up their own tours?
I think you have to have buzz in your hometown first. A lot of people overlook the importance of having a fan base at home first. If you can’t pack a show at home it’s going to be hard for you to pack a show anywhere else.
Also, make sure your live show is ready for the road, DO NOT rap over your own vocals besides choruses and some back up vocals. Thats the worst thing I see, people just rap over their CD. Then once you can book shows in other towns, its very important to network with other MCs in these cities.
Without these local opening acts or a major radio hit its going to be almost impossible to pack a show out of town. Overall make sure you’re ready, buzz and performance wise. Don’t be afraid to open for someone else in their town if they have a bigger draw, it might benefit you show and reach in the long run.
Read the full interview HERE via STOPTHEBREAKS.com