EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tony Jones from BTS’s “American Hustle Life”!


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Korean Hip Hop stars Bangtan Boys embarked on a new adventure at the beginning of summer by travelling to America to take part in their very own TV show American Hustle Life. Little did the members realize that they would be put through their paces in a true Hip Hop working holiday with Coolio, Warren G, Nate and Tony Jones, Legends of the American Hip hop scene.

One of the most prominent members of the show was Entertainer and producer Tony Jones. Sweeping the BTS fandom (A.R.M.Y’s) like a storm with his good looks, sweet charms and boyish playfulness, fans all over the world fell in love with the man who gave BTS member Jimin his nickname “ChimChim” and a person who embraced BTS fans like his own.

JaK Wave got the chance to sit down and hold an interview with Tony, where he explains a little behind the scenes of American Hustle Life, what the future holds for himself and BTS, and what his thoughts are on the movement of the Hallyu Wave.

Who is Tony Jones ?

Hello, I’m Tony Jones. I am an Artist/Songwriter from Texas that moved to Los Angeles last year. I have done songs with The Game & Slim Thug and will soon be back in the studio with super producer Nate Walka from AHL.

If you had to pick your inspiration in the music industry who would you pick?

Young Jeezy (favourite rapper for like 10 years), Jay-Z (greatest of all time), T.I, Kanye West, Drake, Rick Ross, & Will Smith.

What about your proudest moment in your life?

Getting my certification in Audio Engineering, moving to LA and pursuing entertainment, Linking with major artists, and working with BTS.

Had you ever mentored anyone before working with BTS? 

Yes, a couple of artists from my hometown of San Antonio and a few aspiring artists in LA. At first I was unsure how BTS would respond but after seeing how talented, attentive and obedient they were, I had a blast.

What are your thoughts of how men in Korea are portrayed by wearing make-up to put on a performance?

The make-up is part of the Korean culture and you have to respect it. It would be different if the boys did not know any better but they do. They have just figured out a way to get their voices heard on a broader level through K-Pop.

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Do you feel the Korean ideas of Hip Hop idols are outlandish or a new generation? Do you think they could ever break into the Western world if they produced songs in English?

Everything will be adapted sooner or later. Our country is still catching up on new ideas, trends and styles as well. Artists like Madonna, NWA and 2Pac changed the way some things were perceived here in the states. America wasn’t always open with sexuality and politically conscious topics. I like what BTS are doing there, “pushing the envelope.” There has never been a group like them before and I’m pretty sure there will not be one after. If these boys learn English, they can definitely transition to the states in a couple years. If they’re management doesn’t want to do it (after their seven year K-pop run), hopefully I am in a position by then to do it myself.

There are many people who bash BTS for their style, lyrics, or the fact they are Hip Hop Idols, what do you feel about people belittling artists on a whole, and those giving grief to BTS?

It’s called “hate.” Someone doesn’t like that they’re in a lesser position so they bash those in the limelight when that same energy could be used to better themselves. If you feel you can do something better, go do it. People like B-Free are clowns. Rapmon & Suga chose a different path to get their music heard, you can’t be mad at that. Especially, when Rapmon can out rap your favourite rapper. BTS has studied american culture and music very well.

Do you feel that meeting BTS has taught you anything, or allowed you to gain something in return?

I learned a lot from BTS. Aside from the fact that there is great music outside of America, I learned to be thankful to be from the US. It’s a different system over there and those boys work so hard. You can’t just do underground music in Korea and have the same national effect as you can over here without a major label or backing.

In your opinion, what is the best advice you gave the boys? Have you seen this advice in how they have been working with their recent release of “Danger”?

TI was not able to get in to studio with boys (sure we will work together in the future) but J-Hope did use a style I recommended in “Hip Hop Phile. To keep pushing forward no matter what. It’s not easy and sometimes you want to quit. There are some things that were not shown from the show. The fatigue, long nights, around the clock work ethic.

Since meeting the BTS boys have you learnt any Korean words, or are you able to sing along to any of their songs?

I sing along all the time (not sure if it’s the right words though lol). V attempted to teach me some Korean (good and bad words!) I would love to take a class to learn Korean fluently so I can speak the language when I visit.

Has meeting Bangtan opened up a whole new genre of music for you to listen to? Have you listened to any other K-pop groups or Korean Hip Hop songs?

BTS has definitely opened my eyes up to a whole genre I had no idea existed. The first song I heard was Bulletproof and have been a major fan ever since. I have attempted to listen to other groups but just can’t get into anyone else like these boys. BTS is definitely on another level and will be #1 there soon for a long time.

What were your first impression of each BTS members from day 1, compared to your impressions of them now? Have they changed much from your prospective? 

The boys are actually pretty genuine and didn’t change much. I think that is why we got along so well because I consider myself to be a real and genuine person as well. I love all of the boys very much and will always consider them as little brothers.

Will there ever be a chance that Tony Jones, Coolio, Warren G, or Nate will collaborate musically with BTS in the future? Or even with an “American Hustle Life: Season 2”?

I believe there have been talks about a season 2 and I would love to work with the boys again. Maybe in New York, Miami, London, Bangkok, Paris, Dubai, Seoul, Tokyo? Nate & I definitely will collaborate with BTS in the future, we’re going to make that happen!

Musically was there anything you learned from Bangtan themselves or from the K-pop music industry?

I wish I could sing, rap AND dance like Jungkook and since I have never actually produced a record, I could definitely take a couple pointers from Suga after hearing “Let Me Know.” BTS are great performers and I took a lot away from their shows at The Troubadour and K-Con.

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Was there ever an activity you would have liked to add to America Hustle Life that wasn’t done? Did you have much say within the show on what was going on?

Yes, we wanted to get in the studio and produce/write a record for the boys. We also wanted to take them to Runyon Canyon which is where almost every entertainer in the Hollywood and Los Angeles area hike/workout. We asked to take the boys out on the town to some Hollywood nightclubs but only a couple are old enough and we want to keep BTS’ image clean [laughs]. We actually had a lot of say in the show and the staff and producers incorporated a lot of our ideas.

Do you still have contact with the BTS Boys? Fans are going crazy in hopes that your friendship with them all grows further!

Yes we have direct contact with the boys. I still send them words of encouragement from time to time. I didn’t realize how crazy (in a good way ) the fans actually were until the staff informed me that BTS had hundred of fans waiting for them in the LAX airport and no one alerted anyone of their arrival. Also, I posted a picture on Instagram with Jin & J-Hope’s faces blurred before we were done taping and the fans still (before knowing who I was) knew who they were.

A question that is always prominent when talking about yourself with the BTS boys is your friendship with Jimin. It seems that fans are smitten with the friendship that you and Jimin have, and wanted to know what was it about Jimin that really made you close?

I love Jimin (as a brother!) I have no idea how we became so close. I really like his character and demeanor. I think I see some of myself in ChimChim (which was a completely random, made up nickname) when I was younger. He really knows how to connect with the ladies and really gets what “putting on a show” means. He will forever be my little brother for life. #Jony

We all know you gave Jimin the nickname “ChimChim” but was there any other nicknames for the other members given by yourself or Coolio/Nate/Warren G?

Yes, “Young Veezy” (V) & “Rapmon” instead of Rap Monster given by Nate

It seems as though fans of BTS and of the K-pop world are thankful for your understanding and open minded approach to how things are run within the K-pop world. You have become a leader of sorts in how we all want K-pop to be seen (more than just PSY) How does it feel to know that you have gained many fans through your understanding of a music genre?

It’s an honour and very flattering. I appreciate everyone (even though I can’t respond to everything on social media) for thanking me and reaching out to me. It was absolutely my pleasure. I got a chance to actually meet a lot of them at K-Con and we were able to take some pictures. If anyone is in LA, let me know.

Do you have any other messages for the JaK Wave Readers? 

I really enjoyed myself while working with BTS, it was an amazing experience. They have the most amazing fans. I am excited to follow the boys on their incredible journey not only in music but in life. I will be visiting Korea hopefully at the end of this year or early next year. Shout-out to my “little bros” and thank you everyone for watching “American Hustle Life.”

We would like to take this moment to say a huge THANK YOU to Tony for taking the time out of his busy schedule to hold this interview. It’s been a lot time since I had such a nice, and funny interview, and can say honestly that what you see with Tony, is what you get. If he is ever in the UK, JaK Wave will be sure to take him out and show him around! We hope that the future offers you a lot more opportunities!

Tony’s Twitter
Tony’s Instagram

Published by VeteranSplasher

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  1. Posted by Guest on September 11th, 2014, 04:25

    I love you Tony, thanks for loving and taking care BTS and us ARMYs~! <3

  2. Posted by Tajean H. Lee on September 11th, 2014, 04:25

    I love you Tony, thanks for loving and taking care of BTS and us ARMYs~! <3

  3. Posted by Guest on October 22nd, 2014, 22:47

    i am so lost why is my picture with tony in ehre omfg