Oluwatobi Ajibolade, also known as TOBi, is a Nigerian-Canadian hip-hop artist that caught my attention like the first gold speck to a gold miner. TOBi moved to Ontario from Lagos, Nigeria, at the age of nine. Now, at twenty-five he takes the music industry by storm with an incredibly emotional, lyrical, and impressive debut album, STILL (Spotify, Apple Music).
In STILL, TOBi brings forth a plethora of challenges and experiences he has gone through. He touches on the struggle of assimilation and cultural dissociation in the process of immigrating to Canada through a deeply lyrical and poetic structure, an innovative soulful rap flow, and unique, high-quality production. Listeners can hear years of turmoil and experience through TOBi’s expressive crescendos and slicing rap hooks. In an interview with BET, TOBi says “Every falsetto note, trill and yell feels like a slash at the shell that had been built around my identity for so long.”
Because of his incredible range and versatility, TOBi is not hindered by any means of musical talent. He uses his abilities as a living instrument to express his messages accurately and genuinely, creating a vocal base that would be entertaining to listen to without any other musical elements. On Instagram, TOBi proves this through an impressive slam-poetry style performance. Even though he has just breached into the music industry, there is no doubt TOBi is on his way to become one of the most exceptional singer/rapper packages in the industry.
STILL is beautifully produced which brings the project to the level of “mind-blowing” for a debut album. The production is intricate and cohesive, littered with interesting samples, and is a perfect platform for TOBi’s soulful, crisp voice to work on. The album is a very satisfying and cathartic project, allowing TOBi to convey emotions he has built up through years of growth. The next chapter of his life and career in the music industry will be an interesting one to follow as he has obtained some closure through this artistic launch.
To learn more about TOBi, check out his Instagram, streaming profiles, and his exclusive interviews with BET and Vibe.