The Break Presents: Thutmose
Thutmose was a computer science major in college when he realized his true passion. Instead of taking the time to study, the Nigerian transplant would regularly listen to beats and interviews with rap’s elite until 5 a.m. He consumed so much that he began to miss class. Shortly after, he created his first song.
A string of jobs as a teacher’s assistant and employee at American Apparel and J. Crew helped Thutmose make up his mind: Rap was entirely more lucrative. Fast forward a couple years later and he’s working closely with Scott Storch, has a FIFA partnership and is performing in major cities in promotion of his debut solo mixtape, Man on Fire.
The 15-track project, inspired by Denzel Washington’s film of the same name, is a reflection of Thutmose’s tumultuous childhood. His mother uprooted him and his siblings to the States at a young age to give them an opportunity to prosper in ways they couldn’t back home.
“Lagos is an amazing, beautiful place where a lot of unfortunate, intelligent people don’t get to showcase their abilities ’cause they don’t have the opportunity,” Thutmose tells XXL. “So it just ends up being a place with a lot of crime and poverty. Sad shit.”
The “Rounds” rhymer was 8 years old when the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn became his new home. Unfortunately, his family was raided by a SWAT team shortly after his arrival. “That happened one of my first few months living in America,” Thutmose remembers. For Man on Fire’s “Swat (Skit)," he painfully recreates the moment where he had an AK-47 pointed at him and watched his father get detained in a case of mistaken identity.
Fortunately enough, this year has proven to be better than most for the burgeoning artist. Find out how and learn more about Thutmose in the latest installment of The Break.
Birthday: August 4
Hometown: Nigeria/East New York, Brooklyn
I grew up listening to: "In Nigeria, I was listening to whatever popular music crossed over. It’s not like over here where you just get to tap into whatever. So back then it was a lot of Afro music, gospel, Michael Jackson, some Erykah Badu. And then some random hit singles from, like, Nelly."
My style's been compared to: "I get compared to random [people], like Travis [Scott]. But I think because we have braids—I get compared to anybody that has braids. Drake sometimes, in a weird way. I don’t think so, ’cause I have a little more Afro element to mines. Akon sometimes, when I hit certain notes. That’s the main three."
My standout moments to date have been: "Performing on a helicopter pad in Downtown L.A. with Scott Storch while he’s playing the keys was probably one of the biggest moments for me. It was last-minute but it was amazing. Obviously we work together; we have a song on my project called 'For the Night.' So I got to get in with him, create a few songs and then the opportunity came. He had a documentary about his life and I was the only artist to perform in that so I was like, special."
My most slept-on song is: "'Blame.' Sick song. It’s growing, though, but definitely that one is a very reflective song. A reflective banger."
Most people don't know: "I’m an amazing athlete. I used to play soccer—that was my main sport. I can play basketball, too, but I just like fuckin’ around. I be whoopin’ ass occasionally, you know? But soccer mostly."
My goal in hip-hop: "I just wanna release music, build my reach and just let people hear my music and my story; keep creating and keep trying to make an impact. Leave a mark somehow."
I'm going to be the next: "Superstar."
Standouts: Man on Fire
"Say It to My Face"
"Rounds" featuring Jay Critch
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