Late last year rising Atlanta rapper Michael Aristotle released his amazing mixtape Mega Millions. The project had a dope concept which revolved around about a boy from the Eastside of Atlanta that wins the lottery and what he decides to do with it. He returned in July with No Pressure, his collaborative EP with Deante Hitchcock.
With the Summer coming to an end Micahel Aristotle returns with his new EP TONI. The 9 track project is entirely produced by Wili Hendrix with some additional production by Jaque Beatz and Mike24K. The EP finds Michael Aristotle sounding as confident as ever, flexing his flow and showing off his lyrical dexterity on tracks like “On A Wave,” and “TONI Freestyle” as well as giving you joints to two step to like “Inside” that will have you feeling like your on an island.
If you’re unfamiliar with Michael Aristotle, this is the perfect project to get started with and I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Stream TONI and check out the track by track breakdown below.
1. WAITING ON ME (FEAT. AMBER MAKAYLA) / PRODUCED BY WILI HENDRIXS
‘”Me & Wili had started on this song the night of Game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals. I remember because I had recorded like a demo/reference so that I wouldn’t forget the melody I had in my head, and I had to record it quick cause it was like 15 minutes before the game started. I was sitting on the couch in wili room where the studio was set up, that couch is also where I was sleeping cause I had to leave my old crib due to eviction. Wili had loaded up the logic software, and he started playing around with sounds, it sounded like a spaced out organ or something weird like that, also the bass that I love so dearly, and I immediately was like “this shit sounds hard!” and I started mumbling the melody for the hook and it fit perfectly so all I had to do was find the words and it came to me quicker than it ever has lol. I was inspired by what I was going through at the time. trying to figure things out, feeling self doubt, and a lot of people I loved seemed like they were starting to lose faith in me, that was weird, there were bridges burnt as far as relationships go, it was just crazy but when I made that song it lifted my spirit and motivated me more than ever. I wanted strong vocals so I hit up my good friend Amber Makayla, she sang in the church choir and she’s so great vocally I needed her to add strength to it. TONI was almost complete but when we finished the whole record we both said: “fuck it this need to be the first song”. I thought it not only opens the project up good, but it pinpoints where I’ve been at my life since my last project i released, which happened to be Mega Millions”
2. LOOSY / PRODUCED BY WILI HENDRIXS
“Recording this was fun & super easy. Wili was playing on the boards, as usual, and I had this lazy/cool melody I was repeating over and over. Wili was like “record it bruh”, so on the mic, I freestyled with the melody for the first couple of lines, and it sounded so cool to me I felt like I needed to finish it on the spot but at the same time make it an easy listen and not a full song. Originally, I was gonna make this the first track but then again I thought it made a great second track. The funny thing people don’t know is Me & Wili have a certain theory on great albums that affects the tracklist process lol. We usually feel like the Intro, Second Song, Middle of the album, and Outro are the most important. I never had any fun, easygoing songs and this one came out cool & organic so I knew I wanted to use this.”
3. DAPPER DAN / PRODUCED BY WILI HENDRIXS
“This was the first song Wili & I had created in our new crib. Recorded this shit in the living room. We moved in this cool spot north of Atlanta the week before July 4th. We knew TONI was missing something, and I wanted to talk my shit, let people know a little bit more about my childhood, and a banger all in one song, but I didn’t want it forced at all. Wili played a simple old piano sound on the boards and we thought it was cool, so he immediately started on the drums and all that, and I had the hook in my head in the matter of a few seconds. It sounded so cool, and I felt like I had the record that was gonna play from every car lol. It hits sooooo fucking hard. The line in the second verse when i said ‘frank nitted in the game x kitchen’ its crazy cause he’s a guy that works at my job and makes the absolute best lemon pepper wings I ever had in Atlanta, and he always salutes me for chasing my dream and wants to buy merch so had to shout him out lol”
4. ON A WAVE / PRODUCED BY WILI HENDRIXS
“Making this was kinda’ hilarious because when Wili had made the beat at his crib, he had an idea in his head to say “I’m on a wave” in a weird voice so he recorded it, I came in the room and laughed then listened to it again and was like “keep it in there that’s the hook”. Wili almost took the hook off cause he thought people would like to laugh at him but I said fuck that lol it’s weird enough to work, it’s really cool, so I convinced him to keep it on there. For the verses, the flow I’m using is something I always wanted to try. I feel like I floated on there. I originally had Cam Wallace on the second verse, but the more I listened to it I realized there was so much I didn’t say and it kept bothering me so I put a second verse on there and I didn’t want to have three verses so I’m gonna release the Cam Wallace version separately in a real cool way. I recorded the second verse at Treesound Studios (my second home, best studio in Atlanta). For the second verse, I wanted to make a moment and really grab my nuts. I’ve always been the guy to respect other people’s artistry and not be too cocky on songs, but I felt like fuck it, I need to make a statement, I need to let niggas know I’m not to be fucked with in this rap thing, I needed to stand over everything and just really let my nuts hang lmao. The words came to me naturally, just about people that fronted on me, how my life always has its twists & turns, feeling I’m the best from presentation to music, seeing things from the beginning that happened now, and then randomly saying “I’m the best rapper alive” to shake shit up. it was the first time I meant it. The Deante Hitchcock Voice Drop was sent to me the day I had to turn in TONI to all streaming services. Shout out to Deante!, two of the songs on our “No Pressure” EP were meant for TONI but it never made it so I had him do a voice drop instead, and as soon as i texted him for it he got it done in like 5-10 minutes and sent it back in.”
5. PICK A NUMBER / PRODUCED BY WILI HENDRIXS + ADDITIONAL PRODUCTION BY JAQUE BEATZ
” This is my favorite song. The thing I like about this song is like my way of saying “look i’m still figuring myself out but i want to figure it out with you and lets be together already” instead of “look i like you and I do want to be with you but you know I eventually can’t do that”, that’s what “Fallin” on my last project was about, and is usually the story of my love life lol balancing music & reality. Wili had almost given up on the beat, but luckily he already had the sound & drum pattern made so there was no going back and he asked me if I wanted the beat so I got it and I wrote the first verse downtown in the park right next to the aquarium. It was inspired by this girl of course (I’m not saying her name), and I was scrolling on ig seen her pic and it was on my mind so much I needed to write about it lol. the second verse is the first time in a while I really get deep about how a woman makes me feel. the line “all these people in the crowd for me still I can’t get to you” got to me cause she would come to the shows and I would get a great reaction from everyone including her, but afterwards when I was trying to be with her she wasn’t as receptive as fans that get new music from me lol she’s cool though. it made for a great record.”
6. ALL ON YOU (FEAT. DA KIDD HALF) / PRODUCED BY WILI HENDRIXS + ADDITIONAL BY MIKE24K
“We did this record in Mike24K’s basement. Mike24k stays in there creating most of his time. he never gets out too much unless is time to be with the squad at a show or something, I’m the same way that’s probably why we get along lmao. I, Wili, Mike & Half were just kicking it, but we know we wanted to make something because Half & Mike24k were working on their collab album and i really liked their sound and thought it would be tight to combine them and Me & Wili and see what happens. That night we made a rough draft of this song, with Wili doing the drums, and Mike24k doing the main sound over it. I finished the second verse in Treesound. I thought it would be cool and so random to put “raindrops keep falling on my head” on the song with a dope melody. In that session all 4 of us made like 3 more records that were all tight, I don’t really know where they’re gonna end up”
7. INSIDE / PRODUCED BY WILI HENDRIXS
“This was the last song we recorded for TONI. I was super nervous to make this song but I had to make this without a doubt. I made this the day my project needed to be turned in and it made the tracklist right after it was recorded. I woke up that morning and for some reason, i had an urge to play “run me dry” by Bryson Tiller, and in that moment I said, “why haven’t I ever made a record like this?”. I really like this sudden rush of dancehall and I felt like I should test my writing and try to write a dancehall song. This song is also important because I’m Belizean, which a lot of people don’t know, and my parents (divorced) always wanted me to make something that could cater to them, but I wanted it to happen organically and Wili got on the boards and made the magic happen in like 10 minutes. I went in the booth freestyled the words and melodies until I found something I liked, then I went back in and we had the song finished in an hour total. I also always wanted the song that all the girls can play while they’re getting ready for the club, on the way to, or when they’re on the IG smoking hookah lol I thought that would be cool and now I finally got it.”
8. GREAT ON GREAT / PRODUCED BY WILI HENDRIXS
“Great on Great is kinda’ about just being thankful that you’re alive even though shit might be unfolding before your eyes. The beat is so weird and dope at the same time lol, I love it. I think Me & Wili work so well together cause we’re not afraid to try shit that may sound weird, I mean both of us are weird, me more than him lol but we can always see the potential in something and bring it out. We made this like a week after we made “waiting on me” and I didn’t think it was going to make it on the final tracklist but the more I played it around friends they fell in love with it. It kinda took a life of its own. both verses I just wanted to show off my rap skills and ability to switch flows. I meant everything I said too.”
9. TONI FREESTYLE / PRODUCED BY WILI HENDRIXS
“I fucking love this. It sounds like the backdrop of a drug transaction, like if the movie “paid in full” was made in Atlanta. the drums just go so stupid I knew I had to go off with a repetitive flow and dope metaphors that would make people run it back 100 times. we wanted a bass heavy record for the project and it just came about easy. once again, the second verse I had to let my nuts hang. a lot of shit started to happen around me and personalities were changing, and of course, it bothered me so I kinda speak on it. girls that I dealt with that messed with my homies, or girls that didn’t show love until they heard my single playing on hot 107.9 that day, and family issues that I had to deal with. I felt distant from a lot of shit honestly, and this song was me just me in the gun range aiming at every issue I had. Also in the hook when I say ‘you cannot get with Toni’ i was trying to make another moniker/character in this world of mine. like a man/myth. that’s another reason I have my mother’s voice on the end. this project was named “TONI” after my mother. Her name is Antoinette, Toni for short, and she was chasing dreams at my age of being on Broadway doing ballet but she had got a foot injury and slowed down a little and had me and my little brother and her dreams had taken the backseat, so years later her creation, ME, is going after his dreams kind of like picking up where she left off except rapping. A lot of times my mother gets joy seeing me do what I love, bragging to her friends and watching my videos all the time. she lives in new york so, of course, i don’t see her much as I want but she sees me through the internet keeping up with everything I do. she introduced me to music in general, the music that would really shape me. so this project is kind of like a nod to her saying “look what you made momma”.