What a run it’s been for Chicago Hip Hop thus far in 2016. Whether it’s the self-proclaimed god of rap dropping another envelope-pushing album or an array of Windy City kids flourishing before Hip Hop’s wide eyes, one thing is for certain – Chi-Town’s shinin’.
Preston Oshita, better known by his stage name Towkio, is one of those Chicago youngins. The 23-year-old runs with Chicago’s SaveMoney clique, the collective headed by Roc Nation’s Vic Mensa, independent darling Chance the Rapper, and an equally strong suite of producers. It’s on Towkio’s latest offering, Community Service 2, where he gets his own time in the 2016 lime.
Make no mistake, the EP effectively puts on for the city, but Towkio’s situated center stage for the duration of the project, steering the ship through 23 minutes of a heavy storm of production riddled with everything from soul samples, to deafening bass, to spastic drill drums. He charges through the Mr. Carmack and Kenny Segal produced “G W M” with a mob mentality and Vic Mensa by his side, shouting out Hip Hop royalty and their wifeys before finally reaching a crescendo and spouting “Team too strong, don’t play with me!”
And while CS2 is stocked with its fair share of clique cuts like “G W M” and the Joey Purp-assisted “Playin’ Fair,” we see Towkio at his best when he stands on the soapbox alone with “Tear drop,” his timely musing about the world’s woes over a Garren soul sample. Chance spoke it into existence when he told us “Music is all we got,” and Towkio reiterates that sentiment when he rhetorically questions, “If we didn’t have this Hip Hop how would we all get by?” He admits that moving weight or popping pills might offer up a short term solution to our struggles, but that his doubt in humanity is dashed by his will to “Get mine until the day I flatline.”
He unapologetically plasters that confidence across the canvas of the EP’s seven tracks, especially on the outro “Work for Me.” Sliding through a turbulent barrage of drums and guitars from Smoko Ono, Mr. Carmack, and Peter Cottontale, Towkio flexes his entrepreneurial muscle with the assuredness of a seasoned vet, and it’s evident that the more he works on himself, the more he’ll have others wanting to work with him. It’s the confidence and skill he oozes into each track that has people like Rick Rubin collabing with him on his first full-length LP.
Overall, Towkio’s third full-length project is a step in the right direction for the young Chicagoan. While it’s clear to see that this is indeed his calling as he claims on the project’s intro, time will ultimately tell whether he continues to foster the growth of his developing sound. Community Service 2 is easy to digest, but whether it’s purposeful or not, Towkio doesn’t shovel too much onto his listener’s palettes. He’s a paper chaser filled with a cocktail of drugs that was fostered by Ye’s reign and Hip Hop’s Internet age. Stir that with a strong fleet of family at his sides, and this young gun from the Windy City is situating himself rather nicely for his inaugural album release.