You likely have heard of Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Knox Fortune and Joey Purp, but you might not know Chicago artist Towkio. Towkio is a member of the hip hop collective out of Chicago, which includes the names mentioned and several other Chicagoans. The group often can be seen on each others albums, performing on stage, or just hanging out.
Towkio is the next big thing coming out of Chicago and just this past February, he dropped his debut album “WWW” with the help of music legend, Rick Rubin. Towkio became the first rapper Rubin signed in nearly 20 years. It was not an ordinary album drop where you just release across the major music platforms like Apple Music, Spotify and Soundcloud. He hopped in a helium balloon and ascended 92,575 feet into space where he then literally dropped his album; becoming the first to do such a thing.
In an interview with DJ Booth, Towkio explained the reasoning and the approach of such a dramatic release. He said, “It’s the looking back at earth.” He continues to elaborate on it with DJ Booth and basically talks about an astronaut when they go into space. The brief summary of it is that astronauts have this “out-of-body experience” and get to leave the stress behind once you leave earth.
The album has 13 tracks and a runtime of 43 minutes, which is the most tracks/longest runtime compared to any of his previous works. The opening track “Swim” really set the tone of the album and has two noticeable lines. The first being “New chapter, new page,” and the other “Be prepared to swim.” They both do their part in explaining how Towkio is moving on in life and is about to make major steps to grow in the world.
Another thing to note is Towkio’s ability to team up with musical talents for production and for features. On the production he managed to snag Knox Fortune Lido, Peter Cottontale, Smoko Ono and Carter Lang. There are five feature (six if you count the choir that appears on “Swim”) on the album, they are SZA, Teddy Jackson, Vic Mensa, Grace Weber and Njomza
Shortly after the drop, Towkio was able to perform “Symphony” on the Tonight Show Featuring Jimmy Fallon which he was then joined by Teddy Jackson and some band members that included Stix and Peter Cottontale.
If you enjoy hip hop and want to support good music, especially artists from Chicago, give the album a listen. If you do not feel like listening to it from start to finish, listen to my suggestions. My favorites song are “Swim,” “Symphony,” “Forever,” and “Drift.”