At the top of 2000, Terror Squad was poised for greatness as one of the more promising groups in hip-hop. The crew – first a bevy of Latino MCs from the Bronx – started to disintegrate after the passing of Christopher “Big Pun” Rios, and more, as members fell by the wayside or parted to pursue solo careers.
Tony Sunshine, whose magnetic vocals are heard throughout Pun’s posthumous album Yeeeah Baby and on many other Terror Squad fan-favorites, has been making a slow and steady comeback as a soloist.
“We’re prepping an EP right now, and we dropped off a new record at Sirius today with Sway and them,” said Tony, “which is the record featuring Chris Rivers.”
The Puerto Rican singer plans to soon follow-up with a second single called “Dance,” a club record he describes as “more pop.”
“I’ve already touched the streets. It’s not that hard to jump on a hip-hop track and sing a few notes and lines,” he explained. “But how many people can get on stage, perform a record and give someone an actual show? That’s where I’m at right now.”
After years of grappling with the proverbial man in the music industry, negotiating independency and fighting for clearance, Tony has slipped on his game face and is stepping out on the scene with fresh music – skillfully fusing hip-hop and R&B – and a new attitude.
We sat down with Tony days ahead of the reported Terror Squad reunion at this year’s Summer Jam, and we begged the most pressing of questions: will you be joining Fat Joe and Remy Ma on stage?
“Joe and I have never really had an issue. Joe and I have never really had problems over any type of money—that’s a rumor. My thing with Joe was always music, and that’s it. Plain and simple. [It was] never about money. I always felt there was more we could do as a team and as a unit, and I always felt like [Joe] had all these other R&B singers to work with, what does [Joe] need me for, you know? I just felt like I gave him a numerous amount of deals, a numerous amount of years and thought it was time for me to go.
On allegedly being dropped as an artist:
“Joe didn’t drop me as an artist, I chose to leave and try to do my own thing. I wanted to go in a different direction, and I wanted to be able to say that if I fail this time, it was my fault and nobody else’s. Not that anything is Joe’s fault. I just need the opportunity to look at myself and the situation and be able to try and know where I may or may not have gone wrong. Understand that when I did decide to leave, I left when Terror Squad was on top. I didn’t leave because Joe had no money or none of that. I left because I felt I needed to evolve on my own, not having proper guidance, being fresh off the streets and not knowing the business.”
On whether or not he’s involved with the Terror Squad Reunion:
“I would definitely be a part of it if it’s coming from a genuine place. As of now, we don’t know if I’m going to be appearing or not. But like I said, I don’t have a problem with it. I love Remy, and I never really had any issues with Joe. He and I have a mutual love for each other. If it comes from a sincere place, I’ll touch the stage with him. Why not? I’m a product of [Terror Squad]. It made me. I’m with it. As long as the business is right and the sincerity is there, I’m with it. Would I like to be a member of Terror Squad again, as a recording artist? No. I moved on from that. I’ll always be Terror Squad in my heart, can’t nobody take that away from me. I think that I helped build that brand. But it’s time for the Tony brand.
On missing Pun’s anniversary party (where other ex-Terror Squad members were in attendance):
“Like I said, I’m a different person these days. For me it’s business and I’m trying to build relationships and not burn bridges. My reintroduction to the game—I don’t want it to be that I went to a Pun anniversary party and a situation occurred because egos collided, and some people don’t know how to let certain things go. We grown men, like ‘that shit happened 20 years ago, bro.’ Let’s move forward. Let’s make music. I would support anything [Pun’s] wife does in his name and be there for his kids. But ultimately, where there is negativity around, I have to exclude myself because I have something to prove. Not to the world, but to myself.”