tobi lou Proves His Career Is 'Non-Perishable'
Photo: Sarah Ohta
Timelessness is an abstract concept, but one that every artist strives for, nonetheless. While the instant gratification of having people call music a "certified classic" upon release isn't always achievable, Nigeria-bred tobi lou might have concocted the perfect recipe. Despite his averseness to conventionality, his 2018 single "Darlin'" and his well-loved 2019 album Live on Ice have stood the test of time in everyone's playlist, and still sit amid the most popular plays in his discography. With tobi lou's latest record, Non-Perishable, we think he's done it again.
Another concept both abstract and timeless is love. A common thread in the record, tobi lou examines stages of a relationship through different mediums of sound. The artist doesn't subscribe to any one genre, so you'll find influence from everywhere throughout Non-Perishable's eleven-track run. Starting off with trap-infused "Hopeless Romantic" and ending with R&B ballad "The Last Dance," he covers all of the bases.
"Babycakes" immediately stands out, sampling neo-soul group Durand Jones & The Indications' "Cruisin' to the Park" for a heart-melting exploration of infatuation. Although there's nothing as wholesome as driving with your lover to your favorite place, tobi lou goes on to detail the rip-your-clothes-off phase of finding love, rapping, "Fuck me in the latest truck / Fuck me on the regular/ Money like a register / Runnin' cross America."
Without hesitation, the energy immediately picks up with the next track. "Meaningless" boasts a UK garage beat as an interesting juxtaposition between its solemn lyrics, diving into the wistful feelings of unreciprocated love. Heartbreak doesn't stop there, continuing with a rework of his 2020 hit "2hrs," now featuring a soul-stirring verse from T-Pain.
The rest of the record isn't as cute as "Babycakes," but it does prove tobi lou's self-aware assessment of introductory track, "Hopeless Romantic." The finale comes as a collaboration with CHIKA, again probing the bubbling uncertainties in a relationship. In a T R A P S O U L fashion, he gracefully merges his verses with CHIKA's enchanting vocals, grappling with the contradictions of wanting to find love, but wondering how and if it fits into your life.
Love isn't a new topic, but tobi lou's DIY manner of fusing varying subgenres and artists into one cohesive record ensures a comfortable unpredictability that makes you want to listen to it over and over again. And for that, it just might be timeless.
Listen to Non-Perishable below: