Not even a pandemic could slow Tobe Nwigwe’s roll. During the months that life/culture/you name has been on hold, the Alief rapper’s taken the world by storm—releasing six-track The Pandemic Project, getting his minty freshness on at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and making his first late-night TV appearance, dropping by Jimmy Kimmel Live in February for an epic, two-song performance filmed at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Seriously, take a moment to appreciate all the H-Town shoutouts as Nwigwe and wife/creative partner, Fat (Martika Ivory Rogers), slay on “Eat.”
Well, Nwigwe's Houston fans (and everyone elsewhere, too, we guess) have something else to cheer about. Earlier this month, the Nigerian-American hip hop phenom graced Ebony’s June digital cover, Nwigwe’s first for the iconic 75-year-old bastion of Black journalism. Photographed in the recently reopened Houston Botanical Gardens by a team of talented Bayou City creatives, the cover, according to the magazine, also christened its redesigned website, which followed its online relaunch in March.
The timing of it all isn’t lost on Nwigwe, who described the Ebony experience as “MINT to be” in an Instagram post featuring the cover’s full movement effects. In addition to using this moment to offer fans a sneak peek of his forthcoming clothing line, Chukwu, Nwigwe also revealed he and Fat are expecting a boy. The couple, who have two daughters, had previously announced the baby's upcoming arrival in a viral freestyle back in March, but not the gender.
Of course, that’s not all the Nwigwe news there is to share (we weren't kidding when we said he stays busy). The same day the digital cover hit the internet, the singer dropped a new song, a Juneteenth anthem, “Passing Through.” Produced in partnership with Apple Music, the track debuted as part of the streaming service’s new Freedom Songs playlist, alongside songs and covers by Chloe X, Halle, H.E.R, Kane Brown, and others.
With gospel-tinged harmonies and an expansive soundscape, the song offers a message of resilience and a sonic contrast to May’s pulsing, beat-heavy “Fye Fye” while once again reminding us just how talented Nwigwe is.