Rene Francisco Sotomayor, better known by the stage name T-Bone, is a conscious/inspirational Christian rapper. His father is Nicaraguan and his mother is Salvadoran. His name came from being called 'Bones' as a youngster because he was very skinny. The 'T' was "added to give the name a little slang edge."
According to published interview, he started rapping at the age of seven at parties and in rap battles. He was close to getting a gangsta rap record but, after changing his life, he opened for a noted rock group at that time which led him to getting signed to his first inspirational record deal that very night.
His first three albums: Redeemed Hoodlum in 1993, Tha Life of a Hoodlum in 1995 and Tha Hoodlum's Testimony in 1996 were released on the independent Metro One record label. All three albums were characterized by being gangsta rap albums, which was rare in the inspirational music scene at the time.
In 1997, he released History of a Hoodlum, a compilation set of hits from his first three albums was released on the Metro One record label.
After a brief hiatus, T-Bone released his fourth album, and first on the Flicker Records music label, Tha Last Street Preacha, in 2001, to critical acclaim. Tha Last Street Preacha was nominated for the Rock Gospel Album Grammy Award. and saw T-Bone break into the Christian Contemporary Music market. It was the first rap album to debut at No. 7 on the Christian Contemporary Music charts.
2002 saw an increased exposure of T-Bone to both Christian and mainstream markets with the release of his fifth album, Gospelalphamegafunkyboogiediscomusic. The album was characterised by the guest appearance of hip-hop legend KRS-One on the title track - returning the favour of the controversial guest spot T-Bone had made on KRS-One's Spiritual Minded album earlier in the year.
2005 saw the release of his most controversial, and successful, album to date: Bone-A-Fide. Bone-A-Fide's album cover controversially featured T-Bone in an image evoking Che Guevara, leading to concerns that e was promoting communist ideologies—charges he denied. Adding to the controversy were collaborations with two major secular rappers: Mack 10 and Chino XL.
Bone-A-Fide was his first album not to be produced by long-time collaborator Chase Dante and, perhaps deliberately, saw T-Bone move away from the previous West Coast sound of his earlier albums to a smoother, more East Coast sound. Also, in 2005, he was featured as Jairus in the rock opera !Hero, along with Michael Tait of Tait and dc Talk, Rebecca St. James, and Mark Stuart of Audio Adrenaline.
Bone-Appétit: Servin' Up tha Hits, a compilation set of hits from his last three albums was released on September 25, 2007.
Pa mi Dios y Pa mi Gente (For My God And For My People) was released on April 7, 2017 and Broken English was released on March 15, 2018.
T-Bone stars in the film "The Rally" co-starring Kenneth Copeland. It was out in late 2009-2010.
Performer at 2004 GMA Gospel Music's Dove Awards (UPN, PAX)
Featured performer at the 2003 MovieGuide Awards
Featured performer/Presenter at the 2003 Arpa Awards (Telemundo/Univision)
Presenter at 2001 Stellar Awards
Featured performer at the 2000 ALMA Awards with Kirk Franklin
Television appearances include "E!", "Live at the Apollo", "MTV's "The Cut" and "From the Church to the Charts", "LA TV", "Urban Latino", "Despierta America" (Univision), "Entertainment News" (Telemundo), "Entertainment News" (MGM Latin American Network), and "Keeping it Real" (Soundtrack Channel)
Awards and nominations
2001 Tha Last Street Preacha - Best Rock Gospel Album
2007 Category: Best Rap/Rock Gospel Album of the year: Bone-a-fide!
2008 Category: Best Gospel Performance: "With Long Life" with Israel Houghton
Visionary Award Nominations
2009 Category: Hip Hop/Rap Performer of the Year
Winner of Rap/Hip-Hop Song of the Year "Name-Droppin"
Winner of special event album (!Hero, a rock opera)
Nomination for Rap/Hip-Hop Album (Gospelalphamegafunkyboogiediscomusic)
Nomination for Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song (Raised in Harlem from !Hero)
Nomination for Rap/Hip-Hop Album, (Tha Last Street Preacha)
Nomination for Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song (Ride Wit Me)
Nomination for Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded (King of My Life)
Nomination for Rap/Hip Hop Album (Tha Hoodlums Testimony)
Nomination for Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song (Keep on Praising)
Nomination for Rap/Hip-Hop Album (Tha Life of a Hoodlum)
Nomination for Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song" (Throwing Out Tha Wicked)
Nomination for Rap/Hip Hop Album (Redeemed Hoodlum)
Nomination for Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song (Lyrical Assassin)
"Alabemos" by Marcos Witt ( Sigues Siendo Dios )
"With Long Life" Israel & New Breed
"Lonely Man" Audio Arenaline (Lift)
"We're a Band" Audio Adrenaline (Live from Hawaii)
"A Few Good Men" Mack 10
"You Can't Win" Chino XL
"1,2,3 Praise!" Virtue
"Joy" Feat. Joi of Brownstone
"The Slam" tobyMac
"The Slam [d Dubb Remix]" tobyMac
"Rubber House" Rachael Lampa
"With Long Life" Israel & New Breed
"To Da River" featuring Lil' Zane and Montell Jordan (from The Fighting Temptations)
"I'm Thankful" by Yolanda Adams (from the album Believe)
"With long life" by Israel Houghton and New Breed
"Te Amo," by Israel and New Breed
"I Can't Schleep" by J.C. Crew
"To Da River," featuring Montell Jordan and Lil' Zane from "The Fighting Temptations Soundtrack"
"Raised in Harlem," featuring Michael Tait for !Hero
"The Struggle Continues," featuring KRS-ONE for Spiritual Minded
"I'm Thankful," featuring Yolanda Adams for Believe
"Lonely Man," featuring Audio Adrenaline for Lift
"My Story" and " God is Exalted," featuring Carman for R.I.O.T.
"Little Jackie" and "What a Fool I've Been," featuring Crystal Lewis for Fearless
Dwayne "Muffla" Simon (Run DMC, LL Cool J, King Tee)
Chase (Dr. Dre, Az Yet, Rakeem, KRS-ONE, Mista Grimm)
David Bannister (Carman, Cee-Cee Winans, Jaci Velasquez)
Lifetime music sales exceed 800,000 units
Selected to do commercials on MTV for "The Cut"
Did four commercials on MTV with Beyonce and Mike Epps for "The Fighting Temptations"
Partnered in 2008 with the Hands & Feet Project, started by Christian band Audio Adrenaline, to build churches and an orphanage in Nicaragua. T-Bone's parents will be moving to Nicaragua to run a children's village.