Eastern Michigan University student Antonio Byrd, known as Queso Tone, dropped his debut album titled "Raw Ambition" on Feb. 17. The project explores a variety of topics and demonstrates a unique sound that shows promise for Queso Tone's future in the music industry.
Queso Tone is a rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer from Detroit, Michigan. Apart from being a student at EMU, he spends his free time with his family and friends, making music, and participating in NEXT Scholars.
Personally, I am more of a metalhead and rock enthusiast, and the farthest I've gone into rap before Queso Tone was Kim Dracula. Queso Tone's album managed to impress me, and "Trust" was an earworm for me before the single. His music managed to be contagious enough for me, despite being out of my typical genres. I anticipated the release of "Raw Ambition."
This is a different reaction from the typical reactions that I give peers when they share their music with me; Queso Tone is already good and his voice isn't cracking in the recordings he's sharing (maybe that's a more intimate thing or a style I'm unfamiliar with though)!
Queso Tone is also standing with survivors of sexual assault. "Criminal Intention," featuring artist Karma, was a cathartic experience for me as a survivor. In my humble opinion, it is important for men to take part in the fight against crimes that are disproportionately against women.
On the track "Psychosocial," Queso Tone opens up, going just as hard as Slipknot's song by the same name, but in different ways. The beat is easier to keep up with, and Queso Tone discusses his struggles with anxiety, unhealthy relationships including friendships, loss, and grieving.
"Raw Ambition" is raw. Despite his personal struggles, Queso Tone encourages others to believe in themselves, notably in the song "Super Villain," which I could honestly imagine in a Marvel movie.
It's important to listen to local artists, and there is some sort of solidarity in supporting those in our area. Moreover, Queso Tone has catchy beats that have had my metal self engaged. I think that you don't know until you try.
"Raw Ambition" is out on Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music— and from someone with interests typically out of this genre, I would give the album a 7 out of 10.