Some of the most creative and talented musicians in the world come from Toronto’s flourishing scene. Tobi is another one of those artists. The Brampton-bred musician makes music that is unlike anything else you have heard, not only from our city, but in the world. It’s easy to credit his slick singing vocals for this, but he also shines when it comes to rapping. Not only is his voice easy on the ears, but he has important things to say. His music has context. Tobi is a Nigerian-Canadian who’s family emigrated to Canada when he was 8 years old. His music speaks about masculinity, vulnerability, self-reflection and personal growth. After an incredibly successful 2019, Tobi has rereleased his debut album in a deluxe form, STILL+, and it is one of the most exciting projects to come out this year
It’s difficult to describe the sonics of Tobi’s project. It has the smoothness of an R&B record, with soulful samples, and breezy horns on tracks like “City Blues”, but it also includes songs that are cinematic and intense in nature, like the double-hit of “24” and “Werking”, both of which sound like something a boxer would use as walk out music. These songs are followed by one of the most deliberately focused tracks “180 / Serenity”, in which Tobi does it all and does it at his best. Some of his most inspiring bars come from this track.
Tobi also explores his thoughts through melodies over electronic synths and moving strings. On the “Still Searching” interlude, after sharing childhood struggles, he reminisces about asking his mom to buy him Jordan brand sneakers, even though he knew she couldn’t afford them. Tobi is personal in his writing but is always relatable. He is vulnerable and empowering all at the same time.
One of the catchiest songs on the album is “FEEL”, which starts off like an open-mic performance, before the drums come in and snap us out of his trance. The song is comparable to some of our favourite tracks Daniel Caesar’s Freudian, which was another incredible project from the city.
All the guest appearances on the album come at the end. The last track of the original release was the VanJess assisted “Come Back Home”, which sounds like it samples Stromae’s “Papaoutai”, especially because of the similarities in the chugging drum pattern. The energy of this song is universal.
Before ending the project with two brand new solo songs, this rerelease is topped off with a couple of remixes. First is “City Blues” featuring The Game, yes, that Game. The Game bodies his verse and gets detailed about a chilling experience he was apart of at 16. Hometown heroes Haviah Mighty, Shad, Jazz Cartier and Ejji Smith all appear on the aptly titled posse cut “24 (Toronto Remix)”. The final guest verse of the project was courtesy of the Bronx-native Kemba, who did his thing on a remix of “180”.
To close out the release, Tobi drops off a gem with “Holiday”. A beautiful song that brings the best of everything we’ve mentioned earlier. Melodies, pianos, horns, bars, and sweet drum patterns all play a role in what we can expect to hear from Tobi in the future, but also from him now.
Give STILL+ a listen and let us know what you think.