The revolving door of new music talent can sometimes feel like one big game of chess — a board of different players with a variety of strengths and weaknesses, constantly moving and fighting to outsmart the competition towards supremacy. As the album cover suggests for his debut LP — out now on all streaming platforms — Same Plate Entertainment/Sony Music recording artist TOBi is headed towards a certified win when it comes to becoming the next big crossover music star here in the States. Possessing the look, charm and overall talent to become a 2019 breakout star, the Nigerian-Canadian rap/soul sensation may very well be approaching his checkmate moment with the release of STILL.
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This album was years in the making with several iterations throughout. STILL being true to my life story, it was best for it to be split into 3 chapters of learning and unlearning; Searching, Conflict, and Salvation. With it finally completed and seeing the light of day, I have so many people to thank on this. It feels pretty surreal thinking about the collection of humans that have contributed to this beautiful body of work. First my executive producers @davidleigh_ and @jontanners for seeing this thing from inception to completion and staying up late nights to hone in on concepts to sequencing and everything in between. @natesmithvi thank you for being a constant force of positivity throughout this process and never compromising the vision. @findmason, @jonaboon, @ejjismith, @pipvangenabeek, @takeadaytrip & @russchell, @prodnahum, @therealcvre for contributing to the sound design. @freenlosh and @arthurmcarthur for being toronto legends and working with me on this one. @mixedbydula thank you for coming thru like Horry in 4th with the mixing of this album. @josefadamu and @jeremyrodneyhall for your creative genius and seeing my vision through. @deaddilly for being generous with your time and gifts on the visuals. @illmindproducer for producing, doing sound design and taking a chance on a young to spitter after hearing me freestyle at his pass the aux session one winter night 2 years ago. Thank you @timsuby for the mentorship you provided and the guidance to become a better songwriter in which I’m very grateful. Lastly, I want to thank @jonathandmaster and the rest of the @sameplate and @sonymusicglobal team for believing in my vision and executing on a high level with PASSION. Let’s leave an impact on the world. STILL is out everywhere tomorrow. May 3.
Comparisons to the likes of Anderson .Paak and Theophilus London are sure to come, but TOBi occupies his own lane that combines Hip-Hop, R&B, jazz and Afrobeat on one common platform. The silky smooth flow on cuts like “Growth” and “Caged Bird Sings” sit perfectly next to stark contrasts like the African dance music-inspired “Come Back Home” alongside Nigerian-American R&B duo VanJess. His single choices are pretty on point as well, as “City Blues” is easily one of the standout songs that resonates well after the 13-track album finishes spinning.
How is he able to infuse all these different vibes into one sonically-pleasing package of music, you ask? If you let him tell it, which we did after chopping it up with the star-in-waiting during his private album release party in NYC this past Wednesday, it’s all about staying true to self. Here’s what he had to say exclusively to The Source about the creation of his debut album STILL:
“I want people to know that you’re never out until you count yourself out. We can be our toughest critics, but we can also be our biggest champions. No matter what dream you have, in your heart, you’ve got to stay true to it and stick to the path. That’s what STILL is — this album is me, despite all the odds, setbacks and obstacles, sticking through to my passions and what I love, and just continuing to persist in it presently and mindfully. That’s it.”
— TOBi, Same Plate Entertainment/Sony Music
Whether you’re looking for a soul star with a niche for eccentrically ethnic fashion — seriously, give this guy a modeling contract ASAP! — or a MC with the cadence to rock with the best of them, TOBi is making his bid to be all that and more. So far, he’s making all the right moves. Checkmate soon come.
Stream STILL by TOBi below, and let us know what you think of the project by sounding off over on Facebook and Twitter!