After a busy 2018 where he released three projects at seven songs or less, Chicago rapper tobi lou stepped up in a big way to release a 21-track, 77-minute album Live On Ice.
Tobi lou brings the Chicago soul and swagger to this album. He switches flows periodically, mixing between earnest songwriting and some more up-tempo rapping that matches the bangers on this record. He dives into many of the issues that the modern youth of America grapple with like meaningless relationships, phone addiction and struggling with money. He addresses a modern, first world struggle, saying despondently on “Smiling On My Phone,” “I be spending too much time on my fucking phone." If you are reading this on your phone, it is a problem starring you right in the face.
He doesn’t just end there with that record. He first speaks to the distance that exists in relationships reliant on phone communication. This fragile love falls apart dramatically on the next track, a part two to this saga titled “Delete My # Baby.”
This is not just slow, poetic story-telling or rap lullabies; there are some real bangers on here as well. “Deserve It” with Rocky Fresh and “Looped Up” featuring VERNON all bring some radio-friendly material without being stale. “Humpty Dumpty” has a jogging and cheerful beat that would fit perfectly with a Carlton Dance.
The production keeps the listener and tobi lou on his toes. At its core, the album is grounded in the soulful Chicago sound we have become familiar with, but it also expands into some more trap or drum heavy tunes, in addition to soft, R&B tracks.
The story telling is excellent throughout the record. It could use a little polishing at moments where it meanders and gets slightly cheesy, but it is a smooth ride all of the way through. It is 22 tracks, but doesn’t feel like it is packed with filler for extra streams. Stream below and pick up a copy here.