For most people familiar with the SaveMoney hip-hop collective based out of Chicago, the first names that come to mind are Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. Chance is regarded as a champion of independent music. Vic is signed to Jay-Z’s label, Roc Nation, and he recently opened for the legendary MC. That only accounts for two of the 10 SaveMoney-affiliated artists. Towkio, the nose-ring-adorned rapper is the next of the SaveMoney crew to get his fair share of the sunlight.
His major-label debut WWW. is out of this world — literally. Two days before the release of the album, Towkio launched himself into outer space via a sophisticated hot-air-balloon-like contraption while his new record blared through speakers attached to the capsule — a fitting promotional move for an album with a spacesuit-fitted Towkio on the cover and a lead single titled “2 Da Moon.”
With assists from long-time collaborators Vic Mensa, SZA and Teddy Jackson, WWW. is a soulful, dance-inspired display of self-confidence. Towkio swerves in and out of ear-drum-pounding beats, hypnotic dance-inducing songs and string-driven ballads.
“Loose,” is a fiery surge of energy in the less than two minutes of allotted time. Towkio raps, “And I’ma keep supplyin’ it, because it’s high in demand/ I got a hunger that could silence the lambs/ And if I fail, bet I try it again, they probably try and attack/ They shoot shots bet I fire ’em back, like ‘pop, pop, pop,’” as he executes his dreams and competition over the most exciting beat switch on the album. The song’s brief runtime is one of its best attributes; it leaves us wanting more.
None of the tracks overstay their welcome. Paced phenomenally well, WWW.’s track list is wonderfully organized to maximize your entertainment. One minute you’re listening to a choir sing thanks to a higher power, then you’re in the middle of a street race in “Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.”
One of the most tightly woven songs on the album, “Drift” also serves as one of Towkio’s most braggadocios songs. In the last leg of the race, he speeds up his flow and raps, “I said I was just a shawty, I will whip the ten speed like an Audi/ Wasn’t with me trappin’ out the Aldi’s, nah they want me like a bounty on me/ Yeah, I’m doin’ numbers, doin’ math/ Left class, never lookin’ back/ Now I only see the dashboard, passport, start collecting stamps.” It’s another side of Towkio that is, at times, pushed aside, but when it’s given the chance to shine through it becomes one of the most entertaining.
Towkio finally found his unique lane on the road to success. He’s got the mass appeal to break into the mainstream with infectious songs like “2 Da Moon” and “Hot Shit.” Auto-tune gives the dance tracks a slice of futurism in-line with Towkio’s brief trip to space.
The Chicagoan doesn’t stop with his charismatic delivery of his rhymes and booming production. He can sing, too. “Morning View” featuring SZA is a simple, imperfect love song gushing with pure affection for a lover. Its subtlety gives Towkio’s raspy voice an extra punch that makes him seem all the more genuine.
WWW. has something for everyone, all under a thematically-consistent roof. While the tempos range from fast to slow and the lyrics range from hedonism to selflessness, Towkio’s debut album stays true himself. Backed by a gorgeous instrumental palette that stays accessible while airing on the experimental side, Towkio has put his best foot forward as he steps out of the shadows and into the sunlight.