Toosii’s 2021 XXL Freshman Freestyle

Everyone has a story, it just depends on the medium they choose to use to tell it. For 2021 XXL Freshman Toosii, he puts it in his music.

The Syracuse, N.Y.-born and Raleigh, N.C.-living artist has been a part of the close-knit South Coast Music Group family for over two years now. His tales of heartbreak and street life, heard on projects like Poetic Pain, led Toosii, born Nau’Jour Grainger, to a joint deal with Capitol Records last year. However, success stories don’t always come glittered in gold, or in this case, luminous and crystal clear like the diamonds in the 21-year-old’s rapper mouth and on his neck and fingers.

Toosii faced and overcame several hurdles during his adolescence, from homelessness to relocating from upstate New York to North Carolina to live with his grandfather. And this regional change was arduous as he often had to defend himself in school against classmates who presumably provoked him because he was from out of town. Though this particular incident resulted in him having to change schools, this only prepared Toosii for the adjustments he’d have to make to become a flourishing artist. Better yet, a 2021 XXL Freshman.

An overnight success is everything Toosii is not. He began freestyling in his car and his tenacity transformed into an innate ability to make both rap and melodic records. Songs about love and his struggles, a duality that captivates several audiences. Hence his songs like “Truth Be Told” from his 2020 project, Platinum Heart, and “Love Cycle,” which has a remix featuring Summer Walker and is also on that same project, but the version with Walker appears on his follow-up offering Poetic Pain. His most recent release, Thank You For Believing, serves up this two-fold balance as well, containing songs like “Greater Storm” and his interpolation of 2000’s R&B group City High’s “Caramel” on his buzzing joint “5’5” with 2020 XXL Freshman Mulatto. He also has a track on his latest effort with SCMG labelmate and 2019 XXL Freshman DaBaby called “Shop.”

Don’t be fooled though. Just because Toosii is a melodically inclined rapper doesn’t mean his interest lies in just hip-hop. If you were to check his search history on his preferred streaming service, you’ll likely find artists like Billie Eillish, Tim McGraw, Jason Mraz, John Legend and Lewis Capaldi, a singer from Scotland.

Nevertheless, at Toosii’s core, home is where the heart is. The youngest of five, the budding rapper keeps his family close. In fact, his 2021 XXL Freshman freestyle is dedicated to his mother.

“I wrote that song for my mom,” he tells during his off-camera interview during the Freshman shoot. “That’s my baby. I don’t play about her. I don’t play about my mom. I’ll hurt everybody.”

A perfect fit for the newest set of inductees, Toosii’s emotion permeates through his open letter to the woman who birthed him.

“I know you love me although we argue, let’s just be honest/For me to say you not the best, think I’d be being modest/Five rooms and the trips to banks so I can make deposits/This remind me of being 13 trapped in that closet, writing ’bout the shit I could tell you/Hell, you done did enough/I gave you money to buy a crib, I hope it’s big enough,” he raps in his freestyle.

Although this is Toosii’s moment, he shines the spotlight on his mom, the support she’s offered him and shares how he’s indebted to her.

“Still your deacon child in this music shit, it just help me cope/You built one hell of a boat and now the sails will keep us afloat/I just went platinum, that’s one hell of a toast (Yeah)/Granddaddy be proud for me, mama/It been a while for me, mama/Just one call, need you to smile for me, mama/Remember football games with jugs and coins was loud for me, mama/Now yo daddy up in heaven, lookin’ down on me, mama,” he rhymes.

Toosii closes out his freestyle informing his biggest fan of the changes he’s made because of her, stemming from his intuitive nature.

“Used to be nonchalant, you ain’t like it/I get signs/What is pride?/Just be proud when she smile/Almost made me forget about how we down,” he concludes.

Check out Toosii’s 2021 XXL Freshman freestyle, powered by BODYARMOR, below.

Travis Shinn for XXL

See the 2021 XXL Freshman Class

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