Rapper/actor/writer ToBy is building on the hazy melancholia of the summer with his refreshing and tranquil video for “Cascades” from his latest EP, The Outside (released July 10, 2020 via Magnetic Moon). “Cascades” sees ToBy leaning into the graceful, dreamy, and melodic side of his vocal performance, making the track a comforting breath of relaxation before the end of the EP. Like many of ToBy’s tracks, it outlines personal truths and experiences, this time digging into relationships while referencing a love that is ever present although participation is on its way out the door.
The video for “Cascades” compliments the lyrical message and the peaceful numbness of instrumentals made by Miami producer oebeats using bold and captivating shots of ToBy at the poolside, emphasizing the depth and expressiveness that can be hidden within a going-through-the-motions blasé.
Reminiscent of the lo-fi feel of producer/DJ Nujabes and the looming melancholia and booming trap sounds of contemporaries like Travis Scott and Metro Boomin, The Outside’s production serves to blend the tranquility of the peaceful outdoors with the chaos and dystopia of modern rap. It builds into a collage of feelings across space and time, crafted with layers that further expose themselves on each listen. ToBy creates a form of sonic weather that puts you in his own personal ecosystem, “The outside is the center and all of my stories and creative impulses are catalyzed by its presence.”
Lyrically, The Outside EP dives deep into ToBy’s range of topics from the personal to personified. After the monumental chronicling of “Osiris,” the second track “New Car” tells a tale of freedom and yearning, an ode to the unrestrained and ends in a plea to escape soul-crushing monotony. “Southside” unfolds a think-piece on the psychological toll that success and stability can take on those who make it out of dangerous upbringings. “Play Out” takes a 180 degree spin, glorifying the high life, full of its sex, agency, and financial comfort, while “Cascades” is the melancholy admission of numbness to a relationship that has run its course. Lastly, “Wishes” bares ToBy’s open soul: his doubts, fears, wonders, and worries in the face of his impending mortality (written and recorded entirely on his 26th birthday). “It achieves unity through specificity in the hope that my life and my interests resonate with the next artistic soul or creative pundit trapped inside the every-man; yearning to escape, yearning to taste life’s cool breath, yearning to finally go outside,” he explains.
ToBy’s life and career has found him tackling entertainment from all sides, acting in multiple Buzzfeed videos to performing in productions of Midsummer Night’s Dream and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. The Outside EP finds ToBy musing not only on these experiences but on all the internal and external experiences that came to define his atmospheric stylings through his multicultural upbringing, growing up both in Haiti and Miami. “It’s a sonic journey through my thoughts and inclinations and a peer into the process that inspires me to write,” says ToBy. “I’ve always felt like my topics and concepts stemmed from an external source, intangible, but ever present. My connection to this source has always felt strongest outside and in specific locations. The rooftop overlooking Port Au Prince, Haiti at my grandma’s house, the deep lush forests and lakes that span the countryside, the lake outside my parents’ house, the beaches that tug at the heartstrings tethering me to my native country.”