After nearly one year since his first feature here on Positive Publicity, Tawobi is back.
Over the span of just seven months, the self-proclaimed “friendly neighborhood struggle rapper” released two completely different albums. The first – a heavily conceptual peace titled F.A.T.E. which he wrote, produced a majority of, recorded and re-recorded from about 2015-2018. This was his independent, coming of age art film describing his experience of dropping out of school and pursuing art and music fully. The fourth-to-last song ‘Failure’ begins with the sound of a heart monitor and his government name spoken by his father, whose voice can be found throughout the album. This stems from a 5-hour long conversation they had around 2015 in his grandma’s home in Maryland.
On ‘Failure’ he gives his opinion on the word itself. True failure being never making the attempt to do what you’ve always wanted. This is my phenix moment and realization.– Tawobi
This past April, he dropped a collab album between he and his Highest Basement label mate, Lord Trippy. It’s a purely fun stoner album that allowed me to strictly rap. He ended up doing a bit of production and executive production on this record, but only made the beat for the title track, called ‘Who’s Smokin in the Baffroom’ – a ode to a personal past time for both rappers.
This combo move is stupid. This is legit like a doin a hadouken into the backwards spin kick thing and ending on a Shoryuken. An album filled with skits, influence, anime and philosophy to 11 tracks of razor sharp punchlines and exotic $80 8th’s over 808’s. I feel like I’ve said too much already.– Tawobi (a reference any Street Fight fan would appreciate).
Welcome back Tawboi! So, in the year that we first met (can you believe it’s been a year??), you’ve done so much. Before we even get into the music making of it all – I have to know how you managed all of that. Music goes beyond the writing, recording and mixing, and also includes so much promotion. How did you handle all of that?
Holy shit its really been a year?! And shit um a whole lot of motivation, doubt, weed, alcohol, shrooms, Adderall and my support system and family over at HBC (Highest Basement Collective). Also can’t forget the big homie Justin Miller (slowaveaudio) who mixed both of these last two albums (bless his heart for making my voice sit right), Ryan Schwabe who mastered Baffroom and Garret Haines who mastered F.A.T.E. I’ve been trying to step up to the plate when it comes down to all the responsibility that comes with being independent.
One of the first things I heard from someone that worked at a label was that they didn’t know how to market me so I’ve been trying to figure out new and creative ways to present the music and releases and keep them alive and growing past their due date. You know now the audience is right at your fingertips, the people are the A&R’s so I been trying to be more interactive and let the personality shine through and make connections beyond just dropping music. I’m really focusing not only on the music but making the entire release and transformation a moment that everyone is a part of. I think Baffroom was my biggest step forward with this so far and I’m trying to go way bigger with my next cycle. I go back and forth between needing a vacation and accepting that I’m not gonna be out of here for an extended period of time for another year.
You’ve received great responses from audiences from your recent work. Along with audience reactions, what is it that keeps you motivated to make music?
I don’t know what else I would do! I think a week is like the longest break I’ve taken, and I was still doing marketing stuff or shooting video/photo shoots. I gotta do this, like everybody gotta take a shit so I’ll be here for a while. This past year has definitely been a confidence boost big shouts-out corona, I got laid off last year before my birthday and haven’t looked back. It ain’t perfect and I got a long ways to go but the bare minimum dream I had as a kid has come true. I’m making music full time, paying rent without a 9-5 and largely doing what I want when I want with all my homies. The progress and growth is a big part of what keeps me goin. I know it’s working.
I’m not asking you to pick a favorite here… but of your singles, albums and videos, is there one that your particularly proud of?
Shit dude, that’s like picking between kids. Face I’m definitely big proud of. I’ve been a fan of Awful records since 2014 so I was really hype to get my hands on an Ethereal beat! It’s also a beautiful thing to see a song you wrote in the back of a corner store deli do this much and the video’s a blast. I’m really proud of both these albums I’ve put out in the last 7 months though. F.A.T.E is like my oldest kid so we’ve grown a lot together and its more mature, wiser more complicated. Baffroom by me and my HBC brother Lord Trippy is like a new born, that mother fuckers just happy to be here! All energy and new ideas and making folks smile whenever it comes around. Two very different kids and I love em both! I think F.A.T.E is my best piece emotionally and story telling wise and Baffroom is way more fun, casually listenable and definitely has my best punch lines. Yea yo its too tough to choose. A special shoutout to the video for white people song off the Backwoods E.P from a while back too , every once in a while someone new gets mad a bout that.
In terms of music – what are you really looking forward to in the future? And not even in terms of music, what are you looking forward to?
Shit I’m excited for HBC! Moses Mosima’s about to drop his album Cul De Sac, then it’s IHATEYOUSHEED season. I know the homie Eli616 got something new on the way soon. I’m lookin forward to life man I’m tryna travel a little, work with new artists and more people I look up to. I’m looking forward to some synch licensing opportunities (fingers crossed) and this next cycle/transformation I’m getting ready for. Shit I’m lookin forward to this new Danny Brown album! I’m excited to live man, do new shit.
What should we be on the lookout for from you next?
Some merch, some videos, some interviews and of course music. Got some singles I’m getting ready to get mixed and mastered and I’m working on two albums right now, one being the follow up to last years F.A.T.E the other is an album with our in house producer duo OVRTHNK.