Get to Know tobi lou
SCOPE is stoked for our Homecoming 2021 headliner, tobi lou!!! Hailing from Chicago, he represents the Midwest in a captivating way with his upbeat rhythms and catchy flow. Keep reading to find out more about his plethora of talents and the upcoming concert!
tobi lou is a genre-bending rap artist with a knack for blending deeper lyricism into light beats, putting his own spin on what emotional artistry looks like. When talking about his music, he says, “I wanted to cover heavy stuff but still be uplifting — sad stuff doesn’t have to sound sad.” He’s perfected this sound throughout his discography, showcased in recent hits “I Was Sad Last Night I’m OK Now” and “2hrs.” Even his first release, 2016 single “Txt Me,” features a catchy, lovey-dovey hook over a crisp beat, giving a good first impression of the “tobi lou sound.”
Take an inside look at a tobi lou performance before the big day.
Despite his evident talent, he had no intention to enter the industry. He had plans to continue his career in semi-pro baseball until he had an injury. He says music was always his first love and began working on his art shortly after his athletic career ended. Within his first few releases, he established a sound and image of his own. He says his genre-fusing mix of alternative, soul, rap, R&B, and synth pop is inspired by a range of influences. He credits early Kanye as one of his biggest influences, along with Andre 3000, Pharrell, Timbaland, and Frank Ocean. He also cites musical inspiration from early Maroon 5, The Neptunes, Kings of Leon, Missy Elliott, Ludacris, and Busta Rhymes. In addition, cartoon series Sailor Moon and Adventure Time have had a creative influence on both his sound and imagery.
In reference to his influences, he says, “I don’t know if it’s like, they let me know visuals were important, or I was just so in love with what they did visually, that visuals became important. From then on, I took visuals super seriously — probably more seriously than I do my music.” He is known for his signature move of pairing cartoon art with bright colors in his music videos and album covers. It showcases his individuality while forming the perfect visual embodiment of his fun tunes. If you’re a visual person, make sure to check out some of his videos!
His first EP tobi lou and the Loop came out in April of 2018, featuring the hit “Buff Baby” whose catchy intro caught attention as a viral dance on TikTok. Along with his captivating lyricism, the EP brings a genre-bending mixture from bubbly acoustics on “Darlin’” to the warped synth on “The Fun.” A few months later, in August of 2018, he dropped his first album, tobi lou and the Juice. The album includes a collaboration with electronic music artist Galimatias on “High Score.” We also hear a funky feature from alt-pop singer Zack Villere on “Birthday Boy.” The album also includes one of tobi lou’s personal favorites, “Just Keep Goin.”
His most recent album, Live on Ice, was released in 2019, and uses elements of synth-pop along with bass-heavy beats creating an 87-minute experience. It’s an album you want to listen to cover-to-cover, but I do have a few favorite recommendations for you. For something upbeat to dance to, check out “Smiling at my Phone,” and “Looped Up” featuring rapper VERNON. Another notable hype song is “My Party,” which includes a feature from singer Tony Bigz. Looking for something a little more mellow? Listen to “Berlin/Westside” and “Orange Reprise” with producer LEJKEYS.
His most recent work includes a feature on “Gucci”, released in February of this year with Chicago rapper Rockie Fresh and lo-fi R&B artist Jeff Kaale. In September he released “WIDE Open”, a fun R&B mix with some light acoustics. Be on the lookout for his upcoming album Parrish Blue, releasing later this year! Want more tunes to prep you for the Homecoming show? Check out the playlist linked below, which has been curated with some more favorites!
Playlist by Kelsey Jones based on suggestions from this post. These are absolute essentials.
Don’t miss his performance at our FREE Homecoming show, along with our opening act Berhana! The concert will start at 8 PM on the Pentacrest this Friday, October 15th -- hope to see you there!