As a collective, SOB x RBE has been building buzz locally as the Vallejo-bred group known for their aggressive yet joyous, '90s-nodding bops that showcase each the quartet’s energetic signature styles, and now globally thanks to their bouncy Black Panther: The Album placement “Paramedic.”
But on the group’s debut mixtape Gangin', they weave together a melange different styles and nestled in the latter half the effort, is “Y.H.U.N.G,” courtesy Yhung T.O., a track that sticks out from the rest. T.O.’s flavorful melodic rap-sing flow – which he says is inspired by 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa and Drake — comes as a welcome respite from the brash rhymes Slimmy B and DaBoii heard throughout the 15-track effort.
Now, T.O. is stepping out on his own to bring his trademark style to a bigger audience and inked a deal with Rule #1/ Interscope to unveil his newest solo project titled Misunderstood, due out later this year and accompanying single and video the same name. For T.O., signing with the music industry behemoth felt like the perfect place to call home and says Interscope's goals match the vision he has for his budding career.
“I was shopping around other places and everything they were saying was cool but my sound is more melody-based, smooth and Interscope already had this structure down because they had a lot artists that came out under the company from California and the West Coast and they know how to push that music,” T.O. tells Billboard. “For me to bring my sound to a bigger platform and get the bigger looks I need, Interscope was it.”
T.O. and the rest SOB x RBE are no strangers to solo endeavors as each member has set out to pursue their own solo careers and while each member has built a fanbase for their distinct styles, the crew remains supportive each other’s success and T.O.’s recent signing was no different.
“All the opportunities are going to come whether we’re doing our own thing or the SOB x RBE thing together. There was no bad reaction, just congratulations,” he says. “They know that an opportunity for me means an opportunity for them. We’re all gonna eat and feed f each other’s success.”
To make his formal introduction, T.O.'s new single “Misunderstood” finds the rapper in a contemplative state as he reflects about the sacrifices he has to make to survive the gritty, unforgiving street life and apologizes for hurting his grandma, who raised him, in the process, all while keeping the same summertime bounce SOB x RBE’s beloved sound.
“I wrote this while I was going through something personal, just thinking ‘Man, today could be my last day. I wrote it without a beat, in my notes on my phone, so as soon as I heard the beat, it meshed perfectly,” he recalls.
He adds that “Misunderstood” was the perfect lead single because he wanted to “come out the gate telling my story, spitting real shit” as opposed to pushing a radio-friendly track that follows current music trends. “Music nowadays is missing substance, and I wanted to give people that real shit but at the same time give you something you can vibe to.”
Despite pushing his own solo work, T.O.'s loyalty to his group remains intact and he can’t help but shout-out his SOB x RBE brothers. “We’re gonna take this whole shit over,” he confidently brags. “Tell the people real music is back.”
Watch Yhung T.O.'s new video “Misunderstood” below.