Towkio is one of the sickest MC coming through from Chicago and one of the coolest guys in the SaveMoney collective.
Singer, Rapper, Producer, Director, he’s a multi-talented creative talent and he’s just dropped his debut mixtape ‘WAV Theory’ featuring tracks with both Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper.
How important is Kanye to the Chicago scene?
Well, I feel like Kanye’s important to the world! But for Chicago, people are surrounded by what they are born into, so you are a product of your environment, and it’s just dope to be able to see people such as Kanye and creatives, who are pushing the boundaries and still doing it tastefully. Not like ‘Oh, you can’t be a hood motherfucker and make beats and rap about some shit that’s not guns and killing people, you know what I mean, it actually opened up room for everybody else, ’cause at the time when it was coming out things were different, so it allowed people to be like “I’m not on that! I’m not that killing shit, I like clothes, I like fresh, I’m smarter than that!” And I feel like that’s one of the most important things, that he kinda opened up a whole world for people to do that, to be themselves, and not to fall into all the negativity.
So you’re from Chicago, Kanye West is from Chicago, it’s safe to say he’s a big influence on what you’re doing right now, right?
Aw hell yeah! I remember getting ‘College Dropout’ when I was like in sixth grade, and that and fucking 50 Cent were two of the first albums where I just sat there and obsessed over!
I hear that, 50 Cent, Kanye West was definitely the start of a new era…how did you get into the game? Because you’re killing it right now, you’re all over the internet, it’s like you just came out of nowhere even though you haven’t, but what made you pick up the pen, pick up the mic?
Well my older brothers were an influence on me, I was getting all of my clothes, by stealing their clothes, all their music, so I just started with the CD player, listening to music and I kinda got obsessed with being able to have a message, but it rhymed. So then I started making tracks on MySpace when I was like in eighth grade, I was rapping with seniors in high school, they thought I was hot back then and they was bringing me to the studio, I was with a bunch of older hood motherfuckers, they was like making tracks. And then I stopped making it, because the people I was surrounded by, we weren’t the same, they were older than me, so I just strayed away from it, started to venture on to all my other aspirations and making money and all of that. I’m like I got it, what I want to do with my life, and that’s just to make content. And then turned up for real – we all came out of high school our senior year, the music started, and once we left high school that’s when it really became what it was, and we were still connected to the youth, and then it turned into the monster it is. It took me a year and a half to fully learn how to make music and become a musician and a producer, not just a rapper. Cos as a rapper you only know how to write a rap and put it on a track, you don’t know about mixing and all of that, tracking, stems, the whole aspect range of making music. During that two years of me starting to make ‘WAV Theory’ and working on it, thats how I really learned how to make music. And now thats why the project, people are understanding it and feeling it because there was a lot of value put into it, you know?
So Vic is on ‘Involved’, you know Vic’s got a lot of love out here right?
Yeah, I know, I was just with him yesterday and we were talking about our equity, and he was saying that I gotta go to London with him, ’cause he says it’s different over there, so I’m trying to get out there ASAP!
Yeah, he’s known as Shoreditch Vic out here! … So how did you guys hook up, because you guys are part of the SaveMoney collective – how did that come about?
Well I went to grammar school two or three blocks away from his grammar school, so all the kids from our school who didn’t take the school bus and kinda just had to take a train home, we all just hung out around the area, and the kids that lived around the school that walked to school , they had homies that went to the other school. So we all kinda just met through mutual friends in grammar school, knowing each other, just being little kids, and then we meet each other in high school, ’cause that’s when everybody from the grammar schools went to the high schools and we already kinda knew each other .
How’s it feel to see what Chance The Rapper’s doing right now, ’cause he’s killing it, right?
Yeah, that’s my brother, I’m proud of him! I’m proud of him, I’m proud of Vic, I’m proud of all of us, ’cause for us to take what we do…I just feel it’s so crazy that we came up and the time we came up was perfect ’cause it allowed us to make and to grow and to continue to grow as we were gonna grow and we’re gonna take it there, and Chance, he a hard worker, so is Vic, and it take that hard work, you put it in your albums you gonna get it – this is literally just the beginning, just wait on it!
So you putting in your ten thousand hours?
Yeah, I’m putting them in, yeah! I got a couple different things I’m trying to master, so it spreads it out the hours-wise, but it’ll get there, I’m not worried, I’m only 21, so I got years to go, and I’m only going to get better.
Is it safe to say that SaveMoney is the new GOOD Music?
Yeah, or it’s the new SaveMoney! I would say GOOD Music is similar because they had so many of their own, everybody had their own style, compared to other rap crews, they all have one or two head people, but we actually have, everybody has their own equity.
By that you mean talent, by that right?
Yeah yeah yeah, I mean that, or juice, or swag, or anything really.
The track ‘Heaven Only Knows’, that was crazy man, I feel like I’ve been baptised when I listen to this!
Yeah, and it’s great that people understand ‘WAV Theory’ in the music, it’s like it has function, it’s like design, it’s like form follow function. But that song, if you play it it works – you can be in any mood at any time, if you play it, you will feel good, you will feel uplifted!
It’s mad uplifting!
Yeah, and that’s what I’m trying to make. This music has a function, it works, it actually works, you can use it as a drug. So I’m just glad that people are understanding this. It’s real though – that song got seven million plays, out in the world.
Did you say you could use it like a drug?
Like a drug, yeah! We gonna make a new medicine, that shit’s gonna be music!
Right, I get that! Yeah, it’s definitely good for the soul, man! This joint is, I don’t know, whatever magic that was going on in the studio that night, this is a banger!
It happened! It happened and we captured it, and that’s the most amazing part about music, that’s why I love it, that’s why you love it, that’s why we all love it!
So Vic Mensa’s signed to Roc Nation, signed to Hov, Chance the Rapper, he’s doing his own thing, but when ‘Surf’ drops that feels like it’s gonna be apocalyptic in terms of what’s gonna happen on the internet when that drops, it’s gonna be a real event.
Yeah, yeah, any second now, it’s like a ticking time bomb!
And what’s happening with yourself, because you must be getting labels hollering at you right now?
Yeah, it’s crazy, I’m finally in my glow, you know? I’m just out here, keeping my…imma just keep my head down and keep working, honestly. I know that we in a very interesting time, and we just gonna keep pushing it, we in uncharted territory!
Definitely, and it feels like the best time yet!
It does, so it’s just like, lets just see what’s gonna happen, that’s all my end, I’m all open to a lot of things, I’m just learning right now. I’m blessed to be able to have the knowledge I do on the industry, but I’m still learning, cos I haven’t taken all these meetings and you know what I mean, so I’m learning and getting my knowledge up – I’m a smart dude, so I just like to learn, you know?