He brought Lil Wayne and Russ to Kennewick in February.
In June, he’s bringing Migos, Lil Yachty and more for a Mini Summer Jam.
It’s a business, yes. And he hopes the Migos show puts money in his pocket, just like the Lil Wayne one did.
But, La Fonte Joe said, that’s not why he’s working so hard to stage all-star hip-hop concerts in the Tri-Cities.
“I’m successful without coming here. But I’m local. I’m doing this for our community,” he said.
Joe, 35, owner of Bonaphied Entertainment, was born and raised in Yakima.
He started performing as a teenager with the hip-hop ground Bonaphied, alongside his cousin Terrence Anderson.
La Fonte Joe brought Lil Wayne and Russ to Kennewick in February. In June, he’s bringing Migos, Lil Yachty and more for a Mini Summer Jam.
“We were recording on a karaoke machine and building from there,” Joe recalled.
He loved music and wanted a career in the industry, but it wasn’t easy. There wasn’t a lot of money in it.
Then, when Joe was about 21 years old, Bonaphied performed at a G-Unit concert in Yakima.
That experience changed Joe’s life, but not because of what happened on stage.
“It kind of woke me up. The promoter made a killing,” Joe said. “I told my cousin, ‘I found a way for us to start making money as artists. Instead of doing shows, I’m going to bring my own show.’ ”
Not long after, he booked his first show as a promoter, bringing Texas rapper Gemini to Yakima.
It wasn’t exactly a smashing success.
“My first four shows, I lost money — $4,000 here, $2,000 there,” Joe said.
But he wasn’t discouraged. “Anyone else might have given up. I just don’t have that mentality,” Joe said.
Eventually, he started making money and working with bigger and bigger artists. He’s put together concerts around the country featuring stars from Snoop Dogg to DMX, he said.
I’m doing this for our community.
La Fonte Joe, promoter; owner of Bonaphied Entertainment
He likes to take the stage at his shows when he can, like he did when Lil Wayne came to Kennewick.
He also opened up the bill to other local artists, including the West Coast Records team and rappers Karma and Nobi.
Joe works with partner Sean Da Don on many of the shows.
Corey Pearson, executive director of the Three Rivers campus, which includes the Toyota Center, said the venue’s shows with Joe have been successful.
“He’s bringing a genre we haven’t been able to tap into as much,” Pearson said, adding that it’s been nice working with a local promoter.
Joe hopes to keep bringing concerts to the Tri-Cities. Along with the Migos show in June, he has some other events in the works.
“Tri-Cities is a market where, when you bring big artists, (people) come out and support,” he said. “I will continue to bring them as long as they continue to support.”