Born Nau’Jour Grainger in 2000, Toosii grew up in Syracuse, New York but relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina in 2017 when he decided to embark on a music career. Raised by a single mother, they went through a period of homelessness when sleeping in a motel was a regular part of life. But despite his challenges, Toosii put one foot in front of the other and persevered.
Now, armed with his first RIAA gold certification for “Love Cycle” featuring Summer Walker and a monster co-sign from his South Coast Music Group labelmate DaBaby, the 21-year-old is ready to fully embrace his new role as one of HipHopDX’s 2021 Rising Stars!
Hometown: Syracuse, NY
Notable Co-Signs: DaBaby, Summer Walker, Lil Durk
Notable Projects To Date: Platinum Heart – Deluxe (2020), Poetic Pain (2020)
Accolades To Date: “Love Cycle” featuring Summer Walker earned his first gold plaque from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in January 2020; Platinum Heart (Deluxe) landed on No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseakers Chart; Poetic Pain features both Lil Durk and Summer Walker.
Toosii began his musical journey on SoundCloud, quickly garnering fans’ attention with singles such as ”Lost” and “Dreams” and his 2016 EP Blessings. Combining rap, R&B and a healthy dose of Auto-Tune, Toosii’s music displays his knack for opening up about his romantic relationships, trysts and everything in between. But as he told Wonderland Magazine last year, “The persona people got from me before was I’m this hood romantic, but I’m trying to let them know I still come from the projects, Section 8, where I had nothing. Sleeping in a basement, sleeping in the car, living out of a motel — I still come from all of that.”
And his past often seeps into his lyrics. On “Pain and Problems,” which arrived last November and has since racked up over eight million YouTube views, Toosii reflected on his rocky path over a piano-laden beat, admitting he dropped out of high school and felt insecure when people told him his voice sounded “funny.” But as he notes in the song, now he “makes money” when he talks.
Toosii often puts his street mentality on display as well. On December 2020’s “What Go Around,” he spits about rappers who’ve lost their lives to gun violence while simultaneously brandishing a gun at the camera, making it clear he’s well aware of the danger often associated with being a rapper.
But as displayed on “Love Cycle,” his “hood romantic” side is never too far behind. Throughout the sultry video for the track, which has amassed over 22 million YouTube views since its September 2020 release, Toosii lusts over a mystery woman as he fantasizes about their possible sexual escapades.
Rising Star Power
Toosii’s versatility will likely provide the crossover appeal he needs to push him to the next level. His entry onto HipHopDX’s Rising Stars 2021 list follows a particularly productive 2020. In addition to his “Love Cycle” collaboration with Summer Walker, he also teamed up with Lil Durk on the Poetic Pain single “Nightmares.” As Toosii’s star power grows, so does his roster of artists willing to work with him.
After all, he already has DaBaby’s support. During the virtual Revolt Music Summit last October, the Grammy Award-nominated rapper claimed his SCMG labelmate was destined for superstardom.
“Toosii, he showed me,” he said at the time. “I done told Toosii this cause, I know at the point where Toosii is now? I used to chime in with him on my own time just to remind him, ‘Aye stay in that mode that you’re in, or go even crazier. I know who he was dealing with. We talking about … pandemic proof and all this other shit?
“We talking about Toosii. He just popped a brand new artist in the middle of the pandemic. He’s the hottest new artist in the world right now. He’s the hottest new emerging artist, for shit sure.”
HipHopDX will closely chronicle Toosii’s tracks and triumphs alike this year. Congratulations to The Big Stepper, Well-Known Flexer being a 2021 Rising Star!