Tone Loc/ Anthony Terrell Smith (1966- )

Tone Loc smiling in sunglasses and baseball cap holding a microphone and pointing to the audience
TONE LOC performing at CityScape for Viva Phoenix, Arizona, March 11, 2017
Photograph by Devon Christopher Adams for DOOM! Magazine under CC BY-NC 2.0 license

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Anthony “Tone Loc” Terrell Smith is an American rapper and actor. Smith was born on March 3, 1966 to Margaret and James Smith in Los Angeles, California. His father died when he was six years old which left his mother to raise him and his three brothers. Smith began rapping at the age of 13. Inspired by the Ohio Players and Funkadelic, he formed a rap trio with friends called Triple A but it broke up soon after forming. Smith got into the gang life, becoming a member of the Crips, a Los Angeles street gang. His involvement with the Crips led his mother to enroll him in Hollywood Professional School, a private school in Hollywood, California.

After graduating from high school in the 1980’s, Smith attended an unnamed junior college but later drop out to continue to rap. In 1987, two record promoters, Matt Dike and Mike Ross heard Smith and signed him to their record label, Delicious Vinyl. In 1989, Smith who adopted the name Tone Loc which came from his peers called him Antonio Loco, released his debut album, Loc-ed After Dark. The album which including the singles “Wild Thing,” “Funky Cold Medina,” and “I Got It Goin On,” sold two million units and was certified for double platinum. Smith was subsequently nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rap Solo Performance in 1990. That same year, he won an American Music Award for favorite dance artist. In 1991, Smith released his second album, Cool Hard Loc which featured the single “All Through the Night.” Less successful than his debut album, it failed to sell at least 500,000 units. Cool Hard Loc would be his last studio album released to date.

Besides music, Smith has acted in many films including Bebe Kids (1992), Posse (1993), Poetic Justice (1993), Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), Blank Check (1994), Heat (1995), Titan A.E. (2000) and other films. Smith also made appearances on television shows including Roc, Touched by an Angel, Living Single, and Martin.

Despite his success, Smith has had legal issues and health problems. In 2010, Smith was arrested for an alleged DUI. A year later, he was arrested for felony domestic violence and felony possession of an assault weapon, a Colt AR-15 Sporter rifle. The second arrest came after an altercation that he had with the Elise Ann Sharkey, mother of his three children. That same year, he entered a plea of no contest to both charges, and was sentenced to one day in county jail, three years of probation, 52 weeks of anger management counseling, and 30 days of community service. Smith remains active in the entertainment business as of 2021.