Che Bong's sound advice 

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Toney Wren, better known by his stage name Che Bong, started playing music as the drummer in a high school band that specialized in Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Foo Fighters covers. He moved to Colorado Springs in 2006, where he ventured into the local hip-hop scene as half of the duo Hiatus with fellow emcee iBe Hustles. He subsequently co-founded Bullhead*ded, the city’s hardest-working and longest-running rap collective and will unveil his sophomore solo album, Telescope to the Heavens, with a January 27 CD-release show at the Black Sheep. Following are some of his favorite tracks, past and present.

“Wish I’d written that” song: “As” by Stevie Wonder. I guess I wish I would have written anything that Stevie Wonder wrote. He can write about anything and make you feel any kind of way. “Visions,” from his album Innervisions, is also a fantastic song, and it’s still relevant today.

First records I bought with my own money: EPMD’s Strictly Business, Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s It Takes Two, and Tone Loc’s Loc-ed After Dark. I used the money from all my birthday cards that year. I had to have been 9 or so, maybe 10. It was the start of my vinyl collecting addiction. I still spend all of my money on these records.

Essential Sunday morning listening: That’s such a tough question. I’m always playing music around the house, and my Sunday morning soundtrack is always different depending on how I’m feeling. Last Sunday, it was all-day music from War, which definitely has a Sunday morning vibe for my crib. Long live War!

Artist more people should know about: Phony Ppl. These guys are super dope. I love their lyricism, their musicianship. I feel like they’re part of a new wave of young artists who are bringing some of the old style with them. It’s crazy all of the dope artists that have been coming out with great music this year. My mind has been blown by all genres.

Current favorite cover song: There’s been so much dope music coming out this past year. I like what a lot of people have been doing, but the song that I’ve been singing around is Nai Palm’s “Crossfire.” I can’t seem to get that one out of my head lately. But I also like Moses Sumney’s “Plastic,” so I got to go with those two.

Guilty pleasure: Spending too much money on records. I just can’t help myself.


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