Interview: It’s ToBy Season

We’ll forever be in ToBy season! The born and raised in Miami, now Los Angeles-based indie rapper isn’t the normal 2021 rapper. ToBy is inspired by the likes of many different artists, such as The Killers and composer Erik Satie, but his number one inspiration has always been Childish Gambino. What drew ToBy to Childish’s music is that he’s an overall creative person, who managed to make good music at the same time. Childish Gambino’s art showed the indie rapper that he didn’t have to pick and that he just had to be a “Jack of all trades” when it came to his projects.

While recently in a Brooklyn park on a nice fall day, we got to sit down with ToBy to talk more in depth about his inspirations, his music process and what we think separates him from other rappers out there today.

Back in October, ToBy released his highly personal debut full-length album L’Esprit, which was an ode to his late grandmother. The only way he could describe transforming his grief into his music was “hard.” “I don’t know another word for it. It was hard. It was constantly confronting an inevitability but I felt like it was necessary. It was a project I needed to make to soften the brunt or acquaint myself with the idea of her passing.”

When working on L’Esprit and his other music projects, his recording and writing process is different for each release. “It’s like the idea of being possessed by a muse or an inspiration. You don’t really force it. You can’t force it. If you force it, it’s not going to sound good. Whenever you need it, you need to trust that it’s going to come to you; otherwise, what do we work hard for?” Needless to say, ToBy’s hard work definitely shows through his music.

With his album recently dropping, ToBy has been keeping himself busy but not just with music. Outside of music, he also dabbles in acting and comedy. “I’m a person outside of this [music]. I love to laugh. I love writing. There’s so much intelligence in humor.” With Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover being his main inspiration, ToBy’s dream role would be something like what Donald’s doing with Atlanta. “He’s writing on it, he’s directing episodes, he’s curating music, he’s providing music. He’s in front and behind the camera in every single shape, way and form. It’s kind of like his mental love child.”

What’s next for this triple threat? ToBy’s working on some videos, putting together live shows and a lot more coming in 2022.

Now for some advice from ToBy: “Life isn’t that f*cking serious. There’s always going to be another day until there isn’t. Smiling as much as possible can help you offset the other not-so great things you have to go through.”

All Images: Sarah Waxberg

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