From humble beginnings in Syracuse, New York, to his teen years in Raleigh, North Carolina, Toosii knew he was destined for greatness. His high school years were filled with equal parts football and music, but the latter finally took over as he set off to create an artistic future.
Toosii took that first step towards his future when he signed with Charlotte-based label South Coast Music Group in 2019. In the three years since, Toosii has dropped several singles, mixtapes, EPs and an album, solidifying his place at the top of the charts. Just as his hit 2020 single “Love Cycle” featuring Summer Walker was cooling off, he delivered the “Thank You For Believing” project in May 2021, landing at No. 25 on the Billboard Top 200. Now 21 years old, Toosii is ready for everything coming to him by way of his hard work.
Throughout his music as Toosii fervently reps for North Carolina, one might wonder if his younger years in New York had any bearing on his musical tastes or creativity. “I think the way that I balance it is to still know where I come from,” he asserts. ”I always call myself an Arnold Palmer—a mix of sweet tea and lemonade. I’m a little bit of everything—I’m a little bit of up North and a little bit of down South. I wasn’t affected too much by the musical scene [in New York], but in a sense I was because that’s where the bars come from.”
When Toosii first signed to SCMG alongside labelmates DaBaby and Blacc Zacc, he presented himself as a quiet storm, rarely sharing his personal life or opinions with the world. Two years later, he’s far more outgoing. “I’m observant,” Toosii says of his social evolution. “I don’t move on nothing that I’m not too fond of. I took the back seat for a little bit, observed everybody’s career, watched how things operate because I wasn’t in the door yet. I’ve always been this type of person that I am today, I just wasn’t like this to the world.”
One thing Toosii always holds close to his heart is his family. He’s open about the support he received from them despite difficult times and says that some of the best advice he’s ever gotten has been right there all along. As the baby of five, his family has always treated him as the little brother—lifting him up when needed, but also keeping his ego in check. Toosii credits their influence in helping keep him humble despite the level of success he’s already achieved.
Another positive influence on Toosii’s career has been the team at SCMG who inspire him to maintain consistency and persistence. “[They say] stay on top of my work,” he says. “I can’t stop working, because at the end of the day it’s only going to get bigger and bigger. They’re not no slouchers.”
As Toosii’s first projects at SCMG took shape, he added a new layer to the foundation as he signed to Capitol Records. The difference between being completely indie to working within the major label machine has been eye-opening for the rapper. “The pro is that it’s so many connections,” he says, “definitely connections I wouldn’t have been able to possibly reach on my own.” But for all the benefits of being on a major label, there are some drawbacks. “Your label wants you to win, but there are so many people in your ear telling you, ‘I think you should do this, I think you should do that.’ When in reality, being myself is what got me here. So I had to learn to shy away from listening into what other people were saying and just do me. I ain’t against criticism, or I ain’t against opinions or advice. At the same time, don’t nobody know your fans like you know your fans.”
Many people may look at Toosii’s success as swift, as he signed to a successful indie and a major all within a year’s time. But it’s the things we don’t see that often tell the real truth.
“People didn’t see when I was rapping out the car, or when I was scraping up money to pay for music videos and when I was recording for eight months in my manager’s house without dropping no songs,” he says. “We only get, like, 30 days to do what I want, nobody was around for that process, feel me? It was just us, we were on our own island. And then once you blow up, it’s like everybody is a part of the process now, so it’s like, ‘Oh, you got it easy,’ but y’all didn’t see what happened before. It all looks easy once it’s done.”
Through his success, Toosii recognizes that many emerging artists are studying the path he’s taken, eager to follow in his footsteps. “Consistency is key!” he suggests. “That’s literally what I tell everybody who wants to be in the same shoes I’m in today. People could talk about you in the worst way or best way, feel me? At the end of the day they’re talking about you, give them something to talk about.”
The future looks bright in so many ways, however, Toosii understands through his work that there is so much more to the music business than music, including being a boss himself. “I was at a point where I only wanted to focus on what I had going on because I’m like, ‘Yo I ain’t trying to work on nobody else’s career, I ain’t trying to mess nobody’s career up,’” he says. “I’m just trying to focus on what I have going on. I had to realize all of the greats have artists signed up under them. All are attached to something even greater. For instance, if it wasn’t for Jay-Z having Tidal and having the other attachments he got, what’s the chances of him being a billionaire? It’s certain things that I’ve got to look at to enhance what I’ve got going on, and enhance what other people got going on as well.”
Ultimately, the end game is about winning, and creating win-win scenarios for those around him.
“I’m the type of person that no matter what we been through and no matter what we do, no matter what type of person you are, I want for everybody to win. At the end of the day it’s sick people in the world. We live in a sick world, like, things can’t get much worse than this. Pray or don’t. I don’t mean no harm to nobody, fasho… I just want everybody to win.”