L’Esprit is also an ode to ToBy’s late grandma who passed away from cancer in 2020. ToBy was extremely close to his grandma, as she helped raise him and always supported his musical journey when others in ToBy’s life did not. “Making music growing up in Miami was not very easy. It was a very judgmental environment. It was my parents wanting the best for me, they were immigrants from Haiti and didn’t understand why anyone would want to be a rapper,” says ToBy. “They didn’t approve and I was combating a lot of criticism from them. My grandma however I felt she really knew me and understood where my head was at. She would often step up and defend me in those conversations and would tell my mom to let me do what I want to do. She never got a chance to hear the songs from this album, but she was always very proud of me.”
“L’Esprit is French for The Spirit. It’s supposed to have many meanings but The Spirit literally would mean the spirit of someone who has passed,” continues ToBy. “What was really hard about this album is that I named it before my Grandma passed away. A lot of it was coming together while my Grandma’s health declined from the cancer, so it was a way for me to anticipate the inevitable.”
“I recorded a conversation between my grandma and I and it was about six minutes. I took a look at the songs I did have done already and I sequenced them in an order to tell a story that loosely mirrored my own experience with relationships, anxiety, and depression; life shit that everyone goes through but my own lens,” he continues. “I used her recording to narrate that journey. There’s a narrative throughline through the record and she is the guide so to speak for the listener, kind of like how she was mine in real life.”
The 11-track album showcases ToBy’s versatility as an artist perfectly. On L’Esprit, ToBy bounces from different genre and mood effortlessly, while the record as a whole still remains a cohesive body of work.
“I hope people take away that they are not super alone in this world. I hope that by hearing my story and hearing me bare out my soul, as this is the most personal music I have ever made and I have never injected this much of my real life in my music before, people take away that the enormity of life is so grand and so vast and so much that the most we can do is experience it to its fullest; all the good, all the bad, and all the in-between,” concludes ToBy.
Watch the music video for the lead single, “Are We Ridin”: