If the word “smooth” could be personified and packaged into an album, TOBi’s “elements vol. 1” takes the crown for it. Smooth in several different ways, from his flow, cheeky lines, and production, this album is one smooth ride in a world that TOBi created.
I don’t know where to place this album’s genre. I don’t want to put a genre to this album. It doesn’t fit into one aesthetic; it creates its own. The ingredients include Afropop, jazz, hip-hop, old school soul and R&B.
TOBi’s versatility and diversity will keep you engaged during the entirety of the album. Each song stands out, and nothing sounds the same.
“Dollas and Cents.” opens the albums soulfully. It smoothly introduces us to who TOBi is and how great of a lyricist he is. Metaphors, imagery and other kinds of figurative language create a puzzle.
“Made Me Everything” is a fusion of 2000s rap, some soul, and a pinch of frank lyrics. The song details how pain made TOBi. “Conquest” features a few oxymorons. TOBi carries the lyrics with his flow. The production is captivating, especially the bass and waning sound that is nearly a call and response.
I don’t understand how “Family Matters” is one of the lower streamed songs on the album on Spotify. It’s not fair. "Family Matters" is my favorite song on the album because of this line: “Boys want ball but they injury prone/Can’t play me when I’m really the coach.” "Family Matters" also was a popular 90s sitcom, and it plays into the title for sure. In the song TOBi describes how his family matters and will do anything for them.
“Silhouette” is a soulful collab with fellow Canadian, LOONY. It’s a sensual love song and LOONY’s collaboration brings out the song.
Inspired by a friend, “beige,” tells of how one can feel stagnant between two places and situations. The song was inspired by how a biracial friend was being “caught between two worlds,” TOBi told Apple Music. “…That really inspired me to go deep within myself and think of what that word, that color beige, means."
"Beige" goes beyond and creates many different meanings of beige. The lyrics, “But I remember I was in a threesome with my bills and all my student loans” stands out. Beige is a muted color, but the song is vivid with imagery.
“Shines” glows as a standout song on “elements vol. 1.” It is blunt and real. TOBi addresses family issues, depression, mental issues and mundanity of life.
The most youthful song on the album is “Faces.” It notices a change in relationship and life.
"Matter" confronts an issue about his confirmation and dedication. The chorus includes the lines, “No, this ain’t for everybody/Me, I ain’t for everybody.” I like this idea of not being for everyone. TOBi might be confronting how his music isn’t for everyone, and only a few people will see his message.
“Still singing” closes the album in a vulnerable three and a half minutes. No matter what happens TOBi will continue singing.
Overall, TOBi needs to have a Tiny Desk concert; his music is perfect for it. His second album, “elements vol. 1” reminds me how amazing the human brain is. How words can create a mass of metaphors and stories. How one can create such vulnerability in a poetic sense.
I wished this album was longer, but quality over quantity. Initially, I was expecting an album this great. TOBi has stellar production, the ability to pen fire lyrics and articulate with a diverse range of flows. This album does not fit any box and exhibits everything that is outside of the box.