Southwest Alief-hailing emcee Tobe Nwigwe is stretching his voice as far as he possibly can.

If you are not familiar with a particular side of town of Houston known as the SWAT, Tobe is here to educate you.

Tobechukwu Nwigwe is a first-generation Nigerian-American, and his family brought him up in Southwest Alief, Texas (SWAT), easily one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city of Houston. Tobe doesn’t necessarily look at growing up in the SWAT as something negative. Rather, he views it as inspiration for most of what he does, including his music.

With all the music that I do, I want to say something when I say something. Everything I say is going to be real and reflection of who I am and where I come from. The Nigerian side of me, the Alief side of me. I want my sound to incorporate everything that represents me.

I first caught wind of Tobe when I came across his collection of freestyles entitled “Get Twisted Sundays,” where he dropped a new freestyle religiously every week. The freestyle that caught the city’s attention was his flow over Monica’s “So Gone” – during the “#SoGoneChallenge” social media craze – which garnered him thousands of views. Now, Tobe is working on Get Twisted Sundays Vol. 3, which will drop in 2018.

His latest EP, Tobe From The SWAT, tells the 30-year-old Houstonian’s first-hand experience of growing up in the SWAT. And though the EP’s title is pretty self-explanatory, the actual journey of listening through to the 10-track EP was far from simple. It’s safe to say that Tobe’s musical undertone is Houston-inspired mixed with a little Andre 3000, but his overall sound is completely original and innovative. It also helps to have a close friend who just so happens to be an amazing producer and, consequently, produced over 80% of the EP. Shoutout to Nell.

When I first listened to Tobe From The SWAT, it was so easy to get caught up in Tobe’s storytelling style. You almost forget that you are listening to actual tracks on a Hip Hop album, because it feels more like Tobe is literally sitting before you and telling you a story. I decided that I wanted more – more details, more commentary – and so, of course, I went straight to Tobe to get it.

We listened to each track together, with Tobe providing me his perspective on each.

What It’s For

People have their different reasons why they do music, and I respect it. But for me, it has nothing to do with me wanting to be famous – it has EVERYTHING to do with wanting to tell my story.

From The SWAT

Wanted to let everybody know exactly what it was like growing up in the SWAT, being from the SWAT. Not just being a young little hoodlum, but also gave some insight into my Nigerian culture, too.

You can hear African culture-esque sounds in the production of “FTS.” Tobe also recently released a visual for “From The SWAT,” which was filmed in Alief’s own Forum Park.

Water

Wanted to let people know that my flow, my bars are what music should be (like). Water is essential and you need it to live. I feel like my music is necessary. This is the water that we need, that the industry is missing.

Once Was Broke feat. The Tuckers

I just remember being broke and poor. And not just growing up but even after college, when the football thing didn’t work out. I don’t care what happens in life, but I shall never be broke again.

Inception

Wanted to highlight the dangers of idolizing money and having money be like your little demigod. It’s nothing wrong with money. It’s a viable asset, but you should never let it lead or guide your life. I’ve seen so many people fall victim to money. I pray that it never in my life happens to me.

Light Out (Remix) feat. Madeline Edwards

“Light Out” was originally performed by an artist named Madeline Edward. But Tobe really liked the song and wanted to remix it. The track is also accompanied by a sample from Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” The song’s message is dedicated to his fiancée Ivory, aka “Fat.”

I really loved this song and when I heard it, I was like, ‘Yo, I really have to remix it!’ The message to my fiancée is that no matter what, you already know, it’s about to be what it is and that it’s going to be us. Stop trying to shut it down, I know you’re in your feelings, but it ain’t no light out for us.

Dogface feat. Dominique Green

‘Dogface’ is about my best friend from college (Dominique). We played ball together, but he got kicked off the team and went to prison on a conspiracy charge. I talk to him often and he called me one day while I was in the studio. I told him that I wanted to put him on the song.

You can hear Dominique speaking to Tobe at the beginning and at the end of “Dogface.”

Random Thoughts

Thoughts I had about me growing up in my neighborhood and just my life in general. It highlights the essence of me being from the SWAT, so I feel like it was very important to put a track (like this) on the EP.

Houston Tribute 2 feat. Taylor Janney

It’s extremely important (to make tracks like this). I plan on doing a track like this on every project. I listened to Lil Flip, Big Hawk, Fat Pat, ESG, Pokey, Keke and other Houston artists – I listened to all of them. And I used to be so proud. I would walk around like it was a badge of honor to know all them songs, and you was real wack if you didn’t know the songs. I would really like to get Z-RO and Trae The Truth and some others on a remix of this (song).

Wish You Could See Me Now

Everybody has someone in their life that they either lost and it didn’t work out with, or they were in the wrong with. And you just wish that person could see you now. How much you’ve evolved from who you used to be and how far you’ve come. At first, I didn’t know how be a man and treat a woman. Nothing abusive, but didn’t know how to actually be a man.

My grandpa used to tell me to stay off the streets because I was going to be the one to take my family to the next level. And he was right. So I wish he was here to see me now.

What’s next for Tobe?

While Tobe From The SWAT is definitely an accolade for Tobe, he has much more in store for his fans and even more in line for his life. He’s planning on releasing “Get Twisted Sundays Vol. 3” at the start of next year, as well as go on tour and simply provide “consistency.”

The Alief rapper also made sure to mention his upcoming marriage to his fiancée Fat in a couple of weeks. You can even follow the couple via “Forever Twisted,” a vlog that provides an inside look into the couple’s lives. The vlog airs every Wednesday via their YouTube and Instagram.

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