Early life, family, educational background
American voice actor, recording artist, actor and DJ rapper Shawn Darnell “Solo” Fonteno was born on April 8, 1968 in South Los Angeles, California, USA. He was raised by his father, Thomas Fonteno in Watts, Los Angeles – known to be home to mostly African American people in Los Angeles – and attended Locke High School. Shawn joined an African American gang until he was nearly fatally shot. The traumatic experience led him to leave the gang and change his life. While in the gang, Shawn stole cars, was a thief, and sold drugs.
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His life as a young mobster eventually came in handy as Shawn is best known for voicing the somewhat infamous Franklin Clinton in the 2013 video game ‘Grand Theft Auto V’.
He was once a member of Kam&Solo, a rap group associated with Ice Cube’s Lench Mob Crew.
While Shawn is best known for voicing savvy street mobster Franklin Clinton in “Grand Theft Auto V,” which grossed more than $1 billion, Shawn’s voice was also featured in “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” in 2004 as an unnamed named member of Grove Street Families.
His performance in 2013 was largely shot with motion capture technology.
DJ Pooh, a friend of Shawn’s and consultant for “GTA V”, asked him to be a part of Rockstar’s latest video game. Pooh also wrote and co-produced “GTA: San Andreas”, but he is better known as Red in the movie “Friday”. Initially, Shawn helped find actors to play Franklin and helped them with their auditions, but after a few weeks, he decided to take the part himself. Once he got used to the form-fitting outfits the actors had to wear for the motion capture technology, Shawn quickly fell into the character thanks to his past as a gangbanger and drug dealer.
When interviewed by USA Today, Shawn stated, “I’ve lived his life before… He’s been surrounded by drugs, the crime, lived with his aunt – I lived with my grandmother, so there was a lot of fame.”
He also told Gamecrate about the benefits of acting in the video game during their interview with him. He thought to himself, “Wow, I can pretty much relive what I went through without getting hurt or going to jail or being nothing at all.” Shawn added that not only has he been shot at, but he’s also fired guns, so he knows what it’s like on both sides of a gun.
In 2010, Shawn got together with Steven Ogg and Ned Luke, and the trio spent nearly three years voice acting and doing the motion capture for the game. They would record in voiceovers and “film” in a studio.
They initially found the unusual process challenging, as the motion capture suits were uncomfortable and the sets often weren’t fully built or fully functional. Shawn also felt a bit insecure about his acting skills as his last role in the movie “The Wash” was in 2001. Fortunately, his castmates were kind enough to help him when he asked.
He further described the filming process in his interview with USA Today: “It’s just conditioning yourself to imagine what’s going on… close your eyes and imagine you’re playing in a real living room.” He said he hoped his appearance in “GTA V” would lead to more roles in the future, and both Ned and Steven said acting in the game rekindled their love for the art.
Thankfully, all their hard work paid off as the game made $1 billion in its first three days and the trio could barely speak in public without their voices being recognized. In 2014, the cast of “GTA V” was nominated for Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game at the Behind the Voice Actors Awards.
In 2020, Shawn posted a video to social media, begging GTA fans to be patient with Rockstar Games’ eventual release of “Grand Theft Auto VI”. He explained that the process is very long and complicated, especially since it will presumably be a multiplayer game. In the video, he asked them to “Don’t knock Rockstar down, man.”
He also said that “GTA V” took more than four years to develop – longer than most fans may have realized, “You have to understand, it’s a process to release these games.” Although Rockstar has not officially announced “GTA VI”, “GTA V” will be launched in 2013, and fans are eagerly awaiting the sequel.
Thanks to the excitement of the fans, there is a lot of online hype and conspiracy about “GTA VI”. Most of the game’s leaks suggest it’s set in Vice City – a location that hasn’t been in the franchise for nearly 20 years. Following Lazlow Jones’ announcement that he was leaving Rockstar, the future of his radio DJ character is currently unknown.
In 2018, Rockstar launched what became another huge hit, “Red Dead Redemption 2”. They haven’t released another game since and have yet to confirm more release dates for upcoming games. However, there are several rumors that a sequel to “Red Dead Redemption” could be coming in 2021 or 2022.
Rockstar is currently planning to release a next-gen version of “GTA Online” and “GTA V” as the games are still popular, so with these versions in the pipeline, a sequel probably isn’t the first priority. of production. But with any luck, Shawn’s explainer video was enough to calm GTA fans’ impatience as Rockstar works on the long and complicated task of completing the sequel.
Plus, hopefully Shawn’s video has also convinced fans that the Rockstar team isn’t milking “GTA”, in fact, listening to their requests and doing their best to make it right.
Shawn is married – her name is unknown and the date of marriage probably around 1990 – and the couple have one daughter together named Bria. His wife encouraged him to leave the gang and live a better life. He also has a daughter, Brittney, who is a baker – it is unknown if his wife is also Brittney’s mother. Shawn helps Brittney open her own bakery, and she’s baked and catered big names already.
Exclusive: Shawn Fonteno, the voice and likeness of GTA V’s Franklin Clinton, talks to The Source…
Shawn had a public business feud with Ice Cube and described the fight in “Beef 2”, a documentary. Shawn said he knocked out Ice Cube and stole his necklace after they had a business disagreement. The fight reportedly took place at a traffic light and Ice Cube was the one who started it. In the documentary, Shawn said that after hitting Ice Cube, he woke him up again and “screamed in his ass.” Grinning, he added, “Somehow his chain fell into my hand… then, suddenly, his Rolex began to jump off and get into my hand. I don’t know how that happened.’
The feud was colossal news in the 90s and was part of an even bigger feud between Ice Cube and Cypress Hill. Ice Cube reportedly stole a hook from one of Cypress Hill’s songs and turned it into a single of their own. At the time, Shawn (better known then as Solo) was close friends with Cypress Hill.
He later apologized for the feud in a YouTube video titled “GTA V Shawn ‘Solo’ Fonteno Full Interview,” when his daughter, Bria, interviewed him on her channel, Fonteno Media. He also added that he would like to work with Ice Cube in the future.
— I AM WHO I AM (@Shawn_Fonteno) October 24, 2014
Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts about Shawn
- In his spare time, he enjoys customizing and riding Harley Davidson motorcycles.
- He has a small dog, which he loves and loves very much.
- He sells his own merchandise online.
- His role models growing up were his grandfather, grandmother and uncles.
- His cousin is American rapper Young Maylay, the voice actor of lead actor Carl “CJ” Johnson in “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”.
Shawn is 1.83 m tall and weighs about 88 kg.
Wealth and salary
Shawn’s net worth is estimated at $1 million, as of late 2020.