The other day I got an email telling me to check out an emcee from the Westside of Chicago by the name of Tooty, who dropped his debut mixtape, ‘First Degree Murder,’ on the 10 year anniversary of Kanye West‘s classic ‘College Dropout’ album. Being that I too am from the Westside of Chicago, I was kind of excited about hearing this dude. I didn’t really know what to expect because I had never heard of him, and I wont lie, I did say a silent prayer to myself hoping that he wasn’t another one of those rappers that spits horrible bars masked by decent production. I think my prayer worked..

Tooty was a pretty refreshing emcee to hear. His flow could use some work, but coming from a city that’s been making national headlines for the last year for it’s gun violence, it was nice to hear an emcee that doesn’t sound like he’s glorifying that lifestyle. He does mention it, though. With lines like, “turn on the tv and heard about another killing,” Tooty refuses to not acknowledge what he and millions of other Chicagoans see every day, but he’s also quick to tell you about the Sallie Mae debt he’s accumulated and how he’s recently completed his undergrad. That has to be my favorite thing about this Westside emcee; he’s different from what’s considered “popular” these days in rap music and has the sheer talent to rap on a number of different subjects.

‘First Degree Murder’ isn’t a bad tape. It isn’t necessarily a great one either, but for this to be his debut release, Tooty should be proud. The production is one to applaud with a quite a few samples of old school favorites that have a little twist. Take “Super Fly,” whose beat samples Boyz II Men‘s “Hey Lover,” and the chorus is a variation of Missy Elliott‘s hit “Supa Dupa Fly.” Or his “On Repeat” song that samples the classic “I’ll Be Loving You Always,” by Stevie Wonder; one of my favorite songs of all time. Tooty even samples TLC‘s “Creep.” where he shows off a faster, more cocky flow, compared to what’s heard on the rest of the project.

This Chicago emcee’s wordplay is pretty tight too. He uses a lot of metaphors and punchlines but not so much that it seems forced, or sounds exhausting, like say maybe a Big Sean album sometimes can. I give it 3.5 stars, the best part being the production. If you can’t tell, I’m big on samples and love a well produced project.. Head over to for a free download. Definitely looking forward to hearing more from Tooty and seeing his growth as an artist! Follow him on Twitter @I_Am_Tooty and keep up with all things Tooty.


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