The Review: Tochi Bedford shines on new EP, Eternal Mob

Over the years, it’s become less outlandish for producers to step into the booth, attempting a shot at a solo career. From veteran beatsmiths like Dr. Dre, Pharrell & Kanye West to more recent names like Pi’erre Bourne & Travis Scott, many producers have since proven they can be self-sufficient. 21-year old producer Tochi Bedford has been one to watch this year, and now he’s following in the footsteps of the aforementioned greats.

The 44dbcollective founder kickstarted his solo career back in 2017, collaborating with rapper Abstrakt on the bar-heavy number, ‘Feel It’. Since then he’s rolled out a string of releases as a solo act, in between feeding impressive beats to artists like Traplanta and Odunsi [The Engine]. Now ready to step into the limelight as a full-fledged artist, he offers up his debut project, Eternal Mob –– a scintillating seven-track extended play filled with snappy raps oozing with braggadocio and bravado, and hard-hitting production.

The project opens up with ‘Bros’, a Malik Bawa produced solo cut which finds Tochi rapping about the multitude of fake people in his life posing as friends. ‘Need a rinse, need a cleanse, niggas tryna be my friends/No one knows/Why they pose/While they tryna steal my soul’, he croons in a raspy half-whisper over Malik Bawa’s signature keys, as he vows to weed out the ‘friends’ with disingenuous intentions and ride out for the real ones.

One of Tochi’s most defining and endearing traits as a producer is his ability to somewhat unearth a different dimension of each artist he works with. The intricacy and distinctiveness of his production seemingly ignite a new kind of fire in these artists, allowing them to elicit a different side to their artistry. Whenever you hear the tag, ‘Yo Tochi keep mobbing’, you know it’s bound to be fire. This is perfectly exemplified with his work on Traplanta’s most recent release, ‘Goin 2’. The bouncy number’s thumping 808s, hard-hitting drums, and eerie piano keys served as the perfect backdrop for rappers KA$H and OBA to deliver arguably their best performances in a while. And with Odunsi’s ‘nu finesse’ and ‘airplane mode’, Tochi’s psychedelic production helps evoke equal parts love-drunk melancholy and cynical machismo – a far cry from the mood set on Odunsi’s rare.

Eternal Mob is no different as Tochi gives ample room for his guest lineup to put their best feet forward. Pre-released single, ‘Disintegrate’ draws out a side of Cruel Santino we haven’t seen in a while; his easy-going, mid-tempo flow melds nicely against the spacey production of the laidback trap cut, showing us a menacing side of Santi we’d love to see more of. ‘Notice Me//Posted Up’ sees dndsection deliver admittedly ‘one of his realest verses yet’. Against the hi-hat heavy production, the Atlanta-based rapper spits bars portraying his present-day success as a result of overcoming unfavorable circumstances: ‘And I still got zero losses like I’m undefeated/And I got chains around my neck but they already freed/Used to be broke but now we shopping Neiman’s’. The song switches up with a slowed-down transition – a certified fan-favorite – as Tochi chimes in with a snappy verse of his own.

On ‘Machine’, he taps in $B and flowerboydave to deliver a melodic trap number, peppered with soft drums and a looped epiano riffs. Elsewhere on ‘Busy’, AYLØ and Begho shine through. Against the thudding drums, heavily syncopated piano keys and a looped flute sample, the trio trade verses recounting the hard work they put in as they chase their dreams. ‘Busy right through the weekend/Gotta restart on Monday…That’s why I’m busy out in these streets/Why I’m always on these beats/Why I’m only giving out heat’, Tochi croons, depicting his daily grind. Further down the line, Begho reinforces that the hard work is non-stop as he raps ‘Probably gonna sleep when I’m dead’.

Producer and fellow 44dbcollective member KD delivers one of his first-ever vocal performances on the highly braggadocios ‘Killer’, and a stellar one too. Close friends and collaborators, their camaraderie is apparent as they trade self-assured bars on their undeniable talent while sending a clear message to the competition. ‘No one next to my niggas/Make my money quick shawty thinks I’m a killer’, Tochi raps, alluding to the unmatched talent of the 44dbcollective. KD is as menacing and cut-throat as ever, jumping in down the line as he snarls about ‘Putting the game up in a headlock’.

The project is wound down to a calming close with the woozy, reflective trap ballad ‘No More’. The Seki SuperVillain assisted set sees a more introspective side of the two artists. While Seki’s melodic vocals meld perfectly against the arpeggiated guitar strums, Tochi’s performance steals the show. Taking off the self-assured and braggadocious mask for a bit, he pens a pensive confession on all the not-so-pleasants he’s witnessed in the game. ‘I sex, I drink, I ball/I seen real shit pop when I was 12/I seen bitches switch sides for some change/Seen a real one bow before a lame’, he intones.

As a whole, Eternal Mob is a solid premier attempt at a solo career; the intent behind the curation is glaring and aids in the cohesion of the project. Running at just under 20 minutes, the 7-tracker is lengthy enough to pass across the message and succinct enough to leave you wanting more. The production is as eccentric and authentic as ever; you certainly can’t find this sound anywhere else (mostly because Tochi designs his own sounds). There’s a quiet buoyancy to his production – it bounces along rather than ratchets up tension for colossal drops. It’s equal parts elementary and equal parts intricate – highly reminiscent of Pi’erre Bourne.

Amidst some of the best new age artists in the game, Tochi holds his own as a solo act; matching each of his guests bar for bar and spinning out an impressive production while he’s at it too! Needless to say, with acts like Tochi Bedford, the future of new age hip-hop in Nigeria is in great hands.

Makua Adimora

Makua has forgotten more Young Thug lyrics than you'd probably ever know. Tweet your fav horror movies at her @coldasmax_

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