A soul-searching and emotionally unguarded rapper and singer from Canada via Nigeria, TOBi arrived in 2016 with the FYi EP. After a relatively solitary phase early on, he began collaborating more frequently, working with several artists on his 2020 sophomore album, ELEMENTS, Vol. 1, and releasing multiple singles featuring guest spots from Maxo Kream, Flo Milli, Baby Rose, and others.
Born in Lagos and a native of Canada since an early childhood move to Ottawa, Ontario, Oluwatobi Ajibolade developed an interest in music as a youngster and began to use the art form as a way to channel his emotions. His commercial recorded debut as TOBi was made in 2016 with FYi, released by the Sony-supported upstart label Same Plate Music. The EP featured the assertive single "Deeper" and "Don't Wanna Think," a bluesy Kweku Collins collaboration. A handful of singles scattered over 2017 and 2018 -- while Ajibolade juggled collegiate studies in behavioral and natural science -- led to the 2019 release of his debut album, STILL, also issued by Same Plate. Remarkably unreliant on the signal-boosting strategy of incorporating high-profile artist features, only VanJess made a guest appearance. This course was reversed somewhat when the album was re-released in deluxe form the next year as STILL+, which included new songs and remixes, and featured appearances from Shad, the Game, Kemba, and various others.
Second album ELEMENTS, Vol. 1 was released later in 2020, and from there TOBi issued several singles or remixes of earlier songs with new performances from other artists. These included a 2021 remix of the ELEMENTS track "Family Matters" featuring Flo Milli and the new R&B-flavored song "Come as You Are" featuring Baby Rose. ~ Andy Kellman