The Power of TikTok: Rapper Toosii Talks His Rise in Hip Hop and Authenticity as an Artist

It’s amazing how much impact a favorite song can have. Nau’Jour Grainger, more widely known as Toosii, was already expected to have a huge year in 2023. He featured on numerous “artists to watch” lists for the year—including our own—and his career was undeniably on track to reach new heights.

Yet, nobody thought he would soar this high.

“The biggest change I’ve noticed this year is how people treat me when I walk into a room,” Toosii says during our interview.

When you think about it, that’s not entirely surprising. He gave fans a snippet of his hit, “Favorite Song” in January. And, even without the full track being released, the song quickly started trending on TikTok. Once the full song dropped, it exploded across all platforms. “Favorite Song” became an instant sensation on social media, amassing nearly a million plays in total. Its popularity even took Toosii by surprise.

“I was rooting for the Miami Heat to win the NBA Finals just because Jimmy Butler posted my song before Game 2. He posted my song right before that game, and I had to root for the Heat! Funny enough, that was the one game the Heat won, and I had a $20,000 bet with [rapper] Key Glock on it.”

The rapper was certainly on a winning streak of his own—winning bets, winning over new fans, and winning on the music charts. The track soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at an impressive No. 5. It became a global sensation that resonated with everyone, but why? Was it the brilliantly placed sample from Tatiana Manaois’s song, “You Might as Well?” Or perhaps the decision to collaborate with a new sound of producers? For Toosii, it all boiled down to one crucial factor that has always set him apart.

“It was something that many people could relate to. “Favorite Song” was a lot of people’s first time hearing me, and I was able to showcase what was going on in my life at the time. They felt that vulnerability.”

Also evidenced in his self-titled debut album, NAUJOUR, is his ability to express his emotions in a way that resonates with listeners. Whether he’s sharing heartfelt sentiments about his mother on “Rule Number One,” reflecting on his relationship in “Villains and Heroes” or celebrating the love for his one-year-old son on “This Is Love”.

“I told myself I will always make music for myself, that way I know it’s authentic,” he explains. “I know whoever relates to it, they are going through the same thing and living that in real life.” 

Now embarking on his sold-out tour, he will travel the country, performing tracks from his debut album alongside an array of previous hits. With tour stops planned in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, the entertainer also dreams of taking his music overseas.

“I want to perform in Nigeria! I won’t lie, I had a dream I was in Nigeria. I really rock with what they’re doing out there, especially Burna Boy and Rema.”

The best things in life happen naturally, and Toosii’s belief in his artistry helped turned him into a household name within a mere six months.

“If you don’t understand that I will be a star, or that I’ll be one of the biggest stars of this generation, then that’s cool, I’m not forcing it.” 

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Updated: August 1, 2023 — 12:02 pm