- An Interview with TobyRaps Jammerzine Exclusive 20:42
Today’s Jammerzine Exclusive is a time-capsule of sorts. This is that special moment where you catch an artist at that cusp of where they could be an influencer a year from now. And that is evident in his new single, releasing tomorrow, titled ‘Nothing Left to Lose’.
‘Nothing Left to Lose’ is one of those tracks that capture a state of mind. A moment in time, if you will. A few minutes of reflection recorded into a mix. This subtly somber track has that sonic brilliance combined with introversion desperately needed in this day and age of isolation and, sorry to say, lashing out. I’m finding more and more that as we show our anger and hostilities on social media and, more and more, in person, that it’s saying more about ourselves than it does about what we are angry about. ‘Nothing Left to Lose’ is a positive note and commentary about self-reflection, realization, and action.
What TobyRaps had to say about the track:
‘I heard the demo version of this song that Chris made when I was working as a landscaper last April and I fell in love with the message. I had moved back in with my parents after living in Los Angeles for the last year, the pandemic had just come into full effect, and I was generally feeling in a very low place in life. I had been submerging myself in self-help books/podcasts to research for the next album that I planned to make called Make Yourself Happy.
As a result of that research, I had begun to dapple in meditation and mantras, and positive self-talk. I realized that a big reason for the persisting feeling of failure that I was constantly inhabiting, was my negative self-talk, so I started looking myself in the mirror every morning and saying “you’re gonna make it.
This is all part of the plan.” So when I heard this melancholy yet strangely uplifting song that Chris had made, I fell in love immediately and pretty much wrote the verse in one sitting. It’s one of my favorite verses I’ve ever written and I listen to in pretty constantly, to remind myself that if I’m feeling hopeless, or feeling negative in any way, the best course of action is to be friendlier to myself in my head, focus, and get back to work.’
An excerpt from the interview:
‘It was about my year that I lived in Los Angeles and the struggle from being a transplant from Cleveland, Ohio. From a small town to living in a huge metropolitan area. The ups and downs, ebbs and flows of somebody trying to build your base. I went out on a little tour. Like a two and a half week tour with my friend Pharaoh. He records at the studio I record at.’
Tobyraps is Ryan Tobbe – a Cleveland native known for improvising songs while busking in public, witty songwriting, and of course, rapping. With Chris DiCola as his composer and producer, Toby established his mission in the music industry by releasing his first full length studio album ‘Make People Smile’ in 2018.
The album’s message (and its matching merchandise) sparked a consistently expanding movement in Cleveland, gaining Toby a fanbase and traction. Following the release of MPS, Toby competed in the Testify to Hip Hop battle rap challenge, earning acceptance to the contest’s first round in New York City, and moving on to battle rappers from around the nation at the Microsoft Center in Los Angeles.
After taking Scene magazine’s 2nd best Cleveland rapper in 2019, Toby relocated to Los Angeles, where he expanded his audience by performing at shows, networking events, and right on Hollywood Boulevard itself on Friday nights. His year of life in LA inspired his second full length album, ‘Make More Friends’, a 17 track homage to finding his way in the world through a new city, new relationships, and new struggles.
The album’s title track has surpassed 50k plays on Spotify, where Toby has gained over 5,000 monthly listeners from countries including Brazil, Italy, and the Philippines.
Since the release of MMF, an East coast tour, and the COVID-19 pandemic, Toby has moved back home to Cleveland, where he is working on his third album with DiCola at Signal Flow Studios. The album cascades seamlessly from his former releases with the title ‘Make Yourself Happy’.
Old and new fans alike can expect Tobyraps to deliver his one-of-a-kind charm through impressive wordplay, honest perspective, and a broad sonic landscape on this release, and many more to come.
Photo by Josh Richey