By Noe Gutierrez
Chris Thomas is committed to his community and helping younger generations learn about team work, ethics and basketball skills through his Indio Warriors Youth Basketball program. In a way, Thomas is the mild-mannered philanthropist Bruce Wayne. While the Batman character is personified by Thomas’ alter-ego, hip-hop/rap artist Tiptoe Stallone.
Thomas talks about his humble beginnings, “I was born and raised in Indio, CA in a single parent home by my mother in Mecca Vineyards where I resided for the first 16 years of my life. I started rapping when I was in 4th grade. At least I thought I was flowin’ then. I was really good at poetry and rhyming words together. Then one day I heard my older cousin Clarence Lynch Jr. rap and that began the birth of my favorite pastime.”
Although much of hip hop music does not contain rapping, Thomas has been able to maintain the hip hop culture throughout the development of his songs. “I have different ways I come up with a song because in my head I’m really rapping all day long randomly thinking of concepts but each day is different. Some days I let the beat determine the song and some days I write with no beat at all.”
Thomas has an impressive list of locales and venues he has appeared at. “I’ve performed at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, numerous car shows, Plan B Entertainment and Cocktails, The Red Barn and several shows hosted by a local hip hop radio station. I have also performed at most of the nightclubs in the desert that allow rap music. I’ve done shows all over California as well as the U.S.”
“In the future, I’m getting ready to drop this project called “EverybodyHatesChris Vol. 1” this June to kick off the summer. I’ll be throwing a local talent showcase called “Don’t You Know I’m Local” where artists have a platform to showcase their music during a performance.” Thomas’ soon to be released album Da Reality Show – Starring Tiptoe Stallone will anchor his record label, Indio Spot Entertainment, where he hopes to sign other musical artists and facilitate collaborations. Thomas also has a succession of shows in the coming months.
Thomas credits his mother for providing for him and instilling the confidence necessary to help others. “The Boys and Girls Club in Indio was my father. My mother raised me to love all people from every ethnic group. She was a waitress so she dealt with people from all walks of life and I learned that as well.”
Thomas is just as passionate about helping others as he is about his music. He has taught basketball and life skills to children since 2007. “I’ve coached kids 6-17 years old in a non-profit basketball program called Indio Warriors Youth Basketball where we have travel teams compete against other elite youth basketball players around Southern California. I also volunteer in the city of La Quinta where I teach kids in the Coachella Valley in my Warriors free fundamental program for ages 6-17. The rewarding part of helping these young players is just giving them somewhere they can learn the game and teach teamwork. Showing up to their high school games and seeing them blossom from the hard work they put in is rewarding.”
Thomas has several videos that he has shot around the Coachella Valley. He shares about this medium, “The visual aspect is becoming the biggest promo outlet as of late. It’s important to any artist that’s serious about his or her craft to have videos. It’s the best way to help the listener get a better understanding of the message you’re sending. If I could I would do a video for every song.”
Thomas has a diverse background in music and explores these themes in his own music. “My musical heroes are people like Marvin Gaye, Tupac, Ice Cube, KRS One, EPMD, Scarface, Redman and mostly anyone that puts on a great show. I grew up on all types of music. As a musician I define myself as versatile. I can write rhythm and blues and I can sing just enough sometimes. I can tell a story or freestyle off the top of my head and I can make party music. I also write political music and just different topics but reality rap is my forte.”
In my limited knowledge of the genre, hip hop and rap are still a fairly new classification of music. Only about 30 years in and the innovation appears stagnate. I asked Thomas about hip hop and rap’s longevity. “The sky is still the limit for hip hop and rap because it is a huge market in the music industry. I just think the more accepted it becomes the more watered down it will get. I miss the days where talent got you in but I respect any artist doing their thing and trying to make it. There are so many artists nowadays so everyone has to put the work in. The West Coast is re-emerging!”
Thomas, along with his cousin and business partner, has developed S.L.A.M. (Support Local Artist Movement) an avenue where artists can submit videos, clothing lines, modeling and exclusive music to www.globalwestdivision.com.
You can find out more information about Tiptoe Stallone and Home Invazion on soundcloud.com, facebook.com, youtube.com, reverbnation.com and bandcamp.com.
By Noe Gutierrez