Vince Staples Vince Staples
VIBE/ Stacy-Ann Ellis

First Things First: Virgin Territory With Vince Staples

While stepping out on U.K. soil for the first time, Cali rapper Vince Staples walks us through some of his life's "firsts."

For the first time in his 22 years of life, Vince Staples is walking around on soil nearly 5,500 miles away from home and the most pressing thing on his mind is his unmet appetite. “I’m trying to eat,” the Long Beach, Calif. rapper said of his hunt for non-“trash” European food. “If there’s no ashy people in the restaurant, I’m not trying to go there. I’m not trying to go where it’s bougie and all that. $50 plate stuff ain’t worth it.”

After the applauded release of his first studio album Summertime 06 (Def Jam), an international debut at London’s New Look Wireless Festival right after and a consequent mini U.K. tour, the kid’s hunger—both literally and metaphorically—is evident.

In honor of a summer chock full of inaugural moments, Vince Staples chopped it up with VIBE about some of the most memorable “firsts” he can recall in his lifetime.

VIBE: How was your first time performing for a 100% foreign crowd at Wireless?
Vince Staples: Oh, this is easy. When it’s a lot of people it’s easy. You get like 15 people to do something and then 15 people behind them do it. It’s all about being cool. You gotta think about it, a lot of people are young and don’t really have a sense of self. It’s all about looking cool in this generation, so when it comes to shows a lot of people are afraid to have a good time. Just break some shells and you’ll be alright. It was easy.

How has reception to the album been? Do you even pay attention to it?
I never pay attention. I pay attention to things that are funny. I haven’t seen nothing bad, but you’re supposed to see stuff that’s bad. If you don’t see nothing that’s bad— and not on some Bankroll PJ stuff like, “You ain’t nobody if you don’t got haters”—but it’s not even that serious to me. If somebody’s really listening to your stuff enough to find out what’s wrong with it, then they’re supporting you. They might be right. You might need to fix a couple things. That’s just the way I look at it. It’s been good. We haven’t gotten any bad reviews. The press likes us right now and we’ve been in the position where we are very much so on the brighter end of things as far as the critical response goes.

Jumping to the beginning of your music career, can you recall your first attempt at putting together a verse?
No, but my sister said when I was in third grade we went camping and made people rap around the campfire. My sister is corny as hell. My sister’s fake bougie, like ghetto bougie. So she was like, I remember when you were six years old and it was tight and I knew you were going to be something. You’re lying out your goddamn teeth, but I guess that was my first time when we went camping.

Tell us a little more about this first camping trip.
That’s the same time we went camping and we saw a bear. It was outside the tent and I gave him a bag of barbecue chips. But he was hungry and going through the food, so I just gave him the chips. My mom was like, what the f**k are you doing? But I was bad when I was a little kid. I was into the animals when I was younger. I saw the bear and Jungle Book was my shit, so I was like he’s not gonna eat me because I’m a little kid like the dude off Jungle Book. I gave the bag of chips and my momma grabbed me and then he came back later for some chips. I told my uncle DeMarco to shoot him. He didn’t do it. But then they got mad at me like, why you saying something like that in front of the kids. That was my first time camping. It was a great trip. I got like four whoopings on that trip.

That’s very insane actually. Onto tamer topics, what was your first album purchased?
[Kanye West’s] The College Dropout. The first album I stole was Nas’ Nastradamus from my sister’s baby daddy. And from my mom, the first CD I got was Bow Wow’s Unleashed or one of those for Christmas. I almost cried, that was the best day of my life. I got the album, and that was when Like Mike just came out, so we were watching Like Mike all day and then my momma just gave my the album. That’s when I knew she loved me.

Would you work on a song with Bow Wow?
I would never work with Bow Wow because he’s not 12 no more. It’s gonna mess up the nostalgia. That’s the homie. I love Lil Bow Wow. He was the man, but it’s different. I could work with Lil Bow Wow. We might do a cop movie or something. I’ll tell him we should do a police movie with me and him. I got a vision.

READ: EP Stream: Vince Staples ‘Hell Can Wait’

What was your first industry wake up call?
When I started seeing how funny style people act and seeing people play fake rich with them fake loud a** chains on. I was like, man, we really are not black and proud in this business. People just be cutting each other’s throats. As far as the business aspect of it, I’m lucky I’m in a decent situation. Legal can be difficult sometimes because they gotta watch the company assets. When it comes to video and stuff like that, it’s hard to pay for some videos. I pay for all my videos out my pocket and then they reimburse it. That sh** is expensive. You’d be surprised. I be wanting to have a heart attack after that stuff. But yeah, just artist camaraderie and the way they treat each other is corny, man.

And your first “I told you so” moment?
See, I never really paid attention to that because I didn’t really put anything into that when I was younger. I got lucky. I was a dude who had a lot of opportunities growing up but didn’t take advantage of them.

Like what?
School. Sports. I never got bad grades. I was valedictorian and had straight A’s, but I dropped out when I was in the 10th grade and did stupid stuff. Thinking about it now, I always wanted to go to college but I was getting caught up in circumstances. I never really took advantage of my situation when I was younger. And I did that with this [music] for a long time up until I met my DJ. Luckily they helped me focus. It was never really an “aha!” moment. I feel like when someone else supports you and doesn’t know who you are, it’s more about the person than it is you. We come from a point in time where a lot of people don’t value themselves or appreciate themselves, so it’s hard to look at somebody else and appreciate someone else. You gotta just use your music to get them out of that mindset.

"We shouldn’t be looking to artists to change our world. We should be looking at each other because that’s who’s always there."

 

During your performance, you shared your frustrations about America with London. What was your first major disappointment in society and the way our country runs?
When I got arrested when I was 13-14 and I had three felony charges for some sh** I didn’t do. We went to Long Beach for it and they were about to wash me, trying to give me 3-5 years. Then they had to move courthouses and when I went to the court, the judge was like, these were all misdemeanor charges. I was like oh, that’s how we’re doing it. And I got kicked out of school on some other sh**. So being that young for it to be like that, they tried to give me five years. My mom was going to court with me every day and we had to switch courts because dude was like, these aren’t even felony charges. Go and get community service. And they were talking about jail time. That’s when I knew… I mean, I’ve seen worse things but I was young at that point in time. That’s why I stopped going to school and sh** because I got arrested at school for stealing somebody’s phone and I didn’t steal their phone. It wasn’t the kid’s phone. It was one of my friends and none of them were from my background. So the girl whose it was came and said, “This is my phone, it’s my boyfriend’s.” I was like that’s the homie, that’s not my phone. Principal came back and said, we think that you’re afraid to say what you did, so they called the police. They had me for threatening a witness, armed robbery, a bunch of crazy sh**. It was a wild couple of months. That’s when I was like, oh yeah, this whole thing is kinda messed up.

Your generation of music makers seems both socially aware and unafraid to speak out more as a whole. What does that say about today’s music and where hip-hop is going?
I don’t think it’s necessarily our generation, I just think we went through a bad time period. My man used to manage Black Star and De La Soul and stuff like that, so he saw a different side of it. We were talking about rappers and I was like, at the end of the day when I was growing up, we didn’t have literally one artist that gave a f**k about their listeners who are kids with the exception of Kanye West and when Nas did that one song. He was like, that can’t be true. I’m 21 and I was in the third grade when “In Da Club” came out. So from 50 Cent first coming out to right now, name somebody else. They were sitting in that room for like an hour and a half trying to figure it out because it wasn’t nobody. That’s important to me and it’s important to a lot of people in my generation because that’s something we didn’t have. Whether it’s the J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar or anyone you see using their voice. It’s something that they missed out and now they got to tell them they know the importance of it. I think we’re just in a good time period based on the gap because there were no Mos Def’s and De La Souls and Public Enemy’s or even Ice Cube or anything like that when we were younger.

Do you feel like artists should use their platform to speak on the issues affecting their listeners’ communities?
In two answers, yes they should but two, it’s not their responsibility. That’s a responsibility for people in general. If you’re alive, it’s your responsibility. Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King and Martin Luther and JFK. These people weren’t artists, but people who were active. These are people that changed the world and had a voice. In a sense, we shouldn’t limit it to that. We shouldn’t be looking to artists to change our world. We should be looking at each other because that’s who’s always there. Jesus wasn’t no f**king [artist]. Let’s be real. Whoever we look up to, all these people weren’t artists. The artists should [speak up] because that’s part of our human nature and as people we should want to change and want to help each other. But I don’t feel like it’s limited to that. Everybody has a voice and they’re all equal.

What lasting impact on music and the world do you want to have at your peak?
I don’t care what the impact is; I just want to have it. It doesn’t matter what the impact is. Because you gotta think about it, at the end of the day it’s much bigger than money and music and anything like that when someone dies. You never heard anyone say, oh yeah he was great, he had all this money, he sold all these albums. What impact did you have on this world? Because we’re talking about Biggie, Tupac, Michael Jackson, B.B. King. All these people may not have been the richest—well, they might have been the richest—but it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day most of these people here don’t know who the richest man in the world is. It’s more about what impact you have and how you can touch people and I’m not picky on that. I just want to be able to help somebody because I went through so much stuff in my life that I’ve done the opposite, so I’m all for that. Anything that can push anything forward just a lot or a little bit, I’m willing to do that.

Photo Credit: VIBE/ Stacy-Ann Ellis

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Then & Now: Common Details How He And J Dilla Collaborated On The "Thelonious" Track With Slum Village

J Dilla and Common had a really tight creative bond and, at one point, lived together in L.A. So you know that Common got dibs on all of his hot beats first. They were hip-hop brethren just trying to work together and of all of their collaborations, living and posthumous, the track “Thelonius,” is the sharpest intersection of the two legendary artists' careers.

A singular song fit for two albums, the cut was placed on Common’s fourth studio album Like Water for Chocolate and Fantastic Vol. II, Slum Village's classic sophomore album. “Thelonius” as we know it was in a way an accident...a soulful snafu that we get to enjoy forever. In this excerpt of VIBE's Then & Now video franchise, Common shares how the song manifested unplanned, willed into existence by Dilla’s uncompromising creative compass.

The story is brought to life with artwork by visual artist supreme, Dan Lish (@DanLish1), the man behind Raekwon’s The Wild album artwork. The illustrations you see in this video are a small fraction of what you can find in his upcoming book: Egostrip Vol 1 – The Essential Hip Hop Art Book, a psychedelic visual history of hip-hop to be enjoyed by the genre’s oldest and youngest fans alike. 

Today is the last day to support Lish's Kickstarter for the incredible project. Click the following link for a copy of your own: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dan-lish/egostrip-book-1 

“I picked up on what inspired me about the artists, whether it be a certain lyric from a classic song or my perception of what may be going through their mind at the moment of creation,” says Lish.

There is much more to be said about all of these artists. For more stories on Common’s catalog, including several more Dilla cuts, stay tuned for the upcoming episode of Then & Now, where we dig deeper into notable tracks in the career of one Lonnie Rashid "Common" Lynn, Jr.

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Courtesy of Biz 3 / FCF

Quavo Is Introducing 'Fan Controlled Football' To The Culture

From their penchant for popping tags and name-dropping designer brands in their rhymes to the obsession with diamond-encrusted neckwear, the Migos are the modern-day poster-children for decadence and opulence. But when it comes to balling, group member Quavo is a seasoned veteran, literally and figuratively. Notorious for his appearances in NBA all-star celebrity games, where he routinely dominates the competition, Huncho has built a rep as one of the athletically gifted hit-makers in music today.

Although he's known for his skills on the hardwood, football is definitely among his passions. His newest endeavor, an ownership stake in Fan Controlled Football (FCF), the first professional sports league to put the viewer in the coach's seat and the general manager's office, in live time, finds him putting his focus back on the gridiron. Having inked an exclusive, multi-year streaming broadcast partnership with Twitch, the FCF will be the first professional sports league to be fully integrated with the streaming platform with the potential to explode in the digital age, where user interest and participation is the main recipe for success.

Having tossed the pigskin around as a Georgia high school football star, to Quavo, it was a no-brainer to get involved with the innovative league on the ground level. “We are building a brand and something different in our league – with the fans. They are in control and get to pick the team names, colors, logos, and more,” said Quavo said in a press release. “I’m really excited because FCF is fast-paced, high-scoring 7v7 football and you are in control. You go from sitting on the couch watching TV and pressing buttons on the remote to actually pressing the buttons on the plays.”

Played on "a 35-yard x 50-yard field with 10-yard end zones,” the Fan Controlled Football league will kick off in February 2021, with a four-week regular season, one week of playoffs, and a Championship week. The league will consist of former elite D-1 athletes, the CFL, XFL, and the Indoor Football League. Broadcasted live from the FCF’s state-of-the-art facility in Atlanta, each game will be 60 minutes in length and will allow the viewers to play a hand in the final outcome on Twitch.

Aside from sports, Quavo has been relatively lowkey on the musical tip as of late, with two years having passed since a solo release or a Migos album. However, according to him, this delay can be considered the calm before the storm, as he assures him and his brethren are primed for one of their biggest years yet. VIBE hopped on the line with Quavo to talk Fan Controlled Football, what he's got cooking in the studio, and his foray into TV and film.

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You're the newest team owner at Fan Controlled Football (FCF). What about the league piqued your interest and made you wanna get involved?

It's just showing my interest in the game of football and just trying to put a twist to where it's fan-controlled, fan-involved. A lot of times we watch the game, you watch the game, you just have some concerns. Sometimes you feel you can make the plays or call the play, [with FCF], you can sit on the couch and make the play. I just think we came together to make something crazy like that. I feel like it's something hard, it's something new, it's something fresh. It's a new beginning to something, like giving ni**as a chance. Giving D-1 players who couldn't make it to the league a chance, giving ex-NFL ni**as a chance if they still got it, [and] to go with the fans. When we saw the Falcons lose the Superbowl LI, we [fans] just knew what plays to call, we knew to run the ball. We were up 28-3. All we had to do was hold the ball, but we wanted to air it out and we made a mistake and lost to Tom Brady. Just like when Marshawn could've won a Superbowl. If they'd have given him the ball on the two-yard line. We knew that Marshawn Lynch was supposed to get the ball, [but] they wanted Russell Wilson to win it and the New England Patriots caught an interception. So that's how we're trying to shape it, we're trying to make something new.

The FCF will be live-streamed exclusively on Twitch, which has become one of the leading platforms for eSports live-streaming and will kick off in February 2021. Do you feel the FCF has the opportunity to fill that NFL void during the spring, particularly given the fan engagement that FCF enables?

Most definitely, cause after the Super Bowl, it just feels like you just want another game. You feel like you want one more game. and coming from something [where it's] eleven on eleven players to seven on seven, I feel [there’s] still a difference. After coming from watching the game and the regular politics, the regular structure of the game, now you're getting to be involved in a game that you can control. You can pick the jersey, you can pick the helmets, you can pick the jerseys, you can pick the coaches, you can pick the plays. I just feel there are two different dynamics [between the NFL and FCF). You come from sitting on the couch and pressing the remote to actually pressing the button on the plays."

Speaking of fan engagement, the FCF is the only professional sports league that enables fans to call the plays in real-time and puts the viewer in control of a game’s outcome like never before. Have you ever had that experience, as far as fantasy football?

Nah, but I'm into Madden. You can sit at home and pick your plays [with FCF], it's just like the lifestyle of Madden. It's like a reality of Madden. You're playing with people at home, with these unique athletes, and it's seven-on-seven.

As an Atlanta native, how significant was the FCF’s state-of-the-art facility being in your hometown in your decision to come on board as an owner?

It's very important. We got top-tier talent here, so it's opening up opportunities for a lot of guys. We're just glad it's in the south, it's like a hub. Everybody loves Atlanta and everybody wanna be here. Everybody wanna play and the weather is good.

NFL Super Bowl Champions Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch, boxing legend Mike Tyson, and YouTuber and podcaster empire Greg Miller are among the FCF's team owners. How does it feel to be competing against some of the most accomplished athletes and entertainers in the world? Have you had the opportunity to meet with any of them?

Most definitely. I have a good relationship with Mike Tyson. I've met Marshawn Lynch, it's a blessing. I feel like we're not competing right now, I feel like we're building a brand. I feel like we're building a league. I feel like we're trying to make the world understand what we're bringing to the table and what type of game we bring to the table, you feel me? I feel we're trying to create something different. Once we get the ball rolling, it's all together and moving into a real FCF league, then we'll get to compete. Of course, we all wanna win, but right now, we're just trying to get the foundation and the basics going and letting the strength of the owners and the relationships show on the field.

Being that you'll all be working with your respective fan bases in shaping your team’s personality and identity, any thoughts about what the team’s name will be? 

Man, I wish I did, but it's so straight strictly fans that you never know. Just like with music, can have an idea that is a smash, and then the fans don't think it is. You gotta strictly listen to the fans on this one. You gotta listen strictly to how they want it because it's the point of the game, that's the point of the league. We gotta let them control this game and then we the players and we the people that's listening to the people, the culture. FCF stands for culture, too, you feel what I'm saying? We listen to the culture, we're letting the culture run the field.

How involved will you be in the drafting and scouting process for your squad?

The fans make the draft, fans get to see everything. Open books, everything. It's an open thing, it ain't nothing to hide over here. The fans control it all.

In addition to sports, you've also been delving into acting, with cameos in shows like Atlanta, Star, Black-ish, and Ballers. Earlier this year, you appeared as yourself in Narcos: Mexico. How did that opportunity come about? 

Narcos reached out. We [Migos] had this song called “Narcos” on the [Culture II] album and we went and shot [the video] in Miami and everybody thought it was a Narcos movie scene and it ended up being Madonna's house. So we just shot that there and then they reached out to us. I think Offset had a performance somewhere and Takeoff had to do something and I just ended up being free that day and I went and shot it in New Mexico. I had fun, I loved it.

Do you have plans to pursue any supporting or leading roles in film or television?

Hell yeah, most definitely. I've been sitting down and having real great meetings with directors and people that got some movies in the works for 2021. I feel like I’ve got some good spots. I don't wanna tell it cause they’re gonna make some announcements. It's coming soon.

It's been two years since you've released a solo project or one with the Migos. Can fans expect any new music from you anytime soon and what are your next plans on that front?

Most definitely, hell yeah, we're shooting videos right now. We’re vaulting up a whole lot of videos so we can give you music and visuals at the same time. “Need It," the song came first and then the video. Right now, we wanna get a lot of videos and a lot records in the vault and smash [them] all at once 'cause it's been two years.

Pop Smoke's passing was one of the more tragic events in rap in recent memory, but his debut album, which you appeared on throughout, has been one of the most successful and acclaimed projects of 2020. How has it been seeing how the album’s been received, especially after you and him developed such a bond in a short time?

I'm happy. I'm proud of him, that was my partner. We did a lot of records, we spent a lot of time together and I feel like the album would've did even more with him being alive. A lot of people's album just go crazy when they die, I feel like his sh*t would've still went crazy. He had the momentum, he had the buzz. He was having fun. He was hot, he was fresh, he had everything ready.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Toots Hibbert performing at Hammersmith Palais, London in 1983.
Photo by David Corio/Redferns

Remembering Toots Hibbert

The best singers don’t need too many words to make their point. Otis Redding could let loose with a sad sad song like “Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa” and get you all in your feelings. Bob Marley got pulses pounding with his “Whoi-yoooo” rebel yell. Gregory Isaacs melted hearts with nothing more than a gentle sigh. Toots Hibbert, who died last Friday at the age of 77, could sing just about anything and make it sound good. One of the world's greatest vocalists in any genre, Toots paired his powerful voice with the understated harmonies of Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Mathias to form The Maytals, a vocal trinity that never followed fashion and remained relevant throughout the evolution of Jamaican music—from the ska era to rock steady straight through to reggae, a genre named after The Maytals' 1968 classic “Do The Reggay.”

Whether they were singing a sufferer’s selection (“Time Tough”), a churchical chant (“Hallelujah”), or the tender tale of a country wedding (“Sweet and Dandy”), The Maytals blew like a tropical storm raining sweat and tears. The lyrics to Six and Seven Books,” one of The Maytals' earliest hits, are pretty much just Toots listing the books of the Bible. “You have Genesis and Exodus,” he declares over a Studio One ska beat, “Leviticus and Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua, Judges and Ruth...” Having grown up singing in his parents' Seventh Day Adventist Church in the rural Jamaican town of May Pen, Toots knew the Good Book well.

The Maytals broke out worldwide in 1966 thanks to the song “Bam Bam,” which won Jamaica's first-ever Independence Festival Song Competition, held during the first week of August as the island nation celebrated both independence from Great Britain in 1862 and emancipation in 1834. They would go on to win the coveted title two more times, but “Bam Bam” was a singular song with a message every bit as powerful as Toots' voice. “I want you to know that I am the man," Toots sang. He was young and strong, ready to "fight for the right, not for the wrong." The trajectory of "Bam Bam" would not only transform Toots' life but make waves throughout popular music worldwide.

"Festival in Jamaica is very important to all Jamaicans," the veteran singer stated in a video interview this past summer while promoting his latest entry into the annual competition. "I must tell you that I won three festivals in Jamaica already, which is “Bam Bam,” “Sweet & Dandy” and “Pomp & Pride.” Toots described that first festival competition as a joyous occasion. "Everybody just want to hear a good song that their children can sing," he recalled. "Is like every artist could be a star."

In 2016, on the 50th anniversary of "Bam Bam" winning first place, Toots looked back over the legacy of the tune that made him a star. "I didn’t know what it means but it was a big deal," he told Boomshots. "You in the music business and you want to be on top and you write a good song and you go on this competition and if they like it then it becomes #1." After The Maytals won, the group was in demand not just all over the island, but all over the world. "We start fly out like a bird," he says with a laugh. "Fly over to London."

"Bam Bam" went on to inspire numerous cover versions, starting with Sister Nancy, Yellowman, and Pliers. It would also be sampled in numerous hip hop classics, and interpolated into Lauryn Hill's "Lost Ones." But according to Toots, he did not benefit financially from these endless cover versions. "People keep on singing it over and over and over, and they don’t even pay me a compliment," he told Boomshots. "I haven’t been collecting no money from that song all now."

 

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“This man don’t trouble no one... but if you trouble this man it will bring a Bam Bam” Original Maytals Classic @tootsmaytalsofficial 🎶 All them a talk, them nuh bad like Niya Fiya Ball ☄️🔥💥 via @tonyspreadlove . 💥💣🔫#Boomshots

A post shared by Word Sound & Power (@boomshots) on Sep 12, 2020 at 8:19am PDT

When Toots began singing in his parents' church, music was not seen as a career prospect, and the profits were slim for Jamaican recording artists in the 1960s. "Those days we get 14 cents for the record to play on the radio," Toots said. "I get three shillings and five shillings for a number one record, which I had 31 number one record in Jamaica... It’s not about money for me. It’s about the quality that Jamaicans need to go back in the festival jamboree... You gotta talk to the children."

On the poignant “54-46 (Was My Number),” Toots recalls the dehumanization of his arrest and 18-month imprisonment at Jamaica's Richmond Farm Correctional Center for what he always insisted was a trumped-up ganja charge just as his music career was taking off. The song's crescendo comes two minutes in when Toots breaks into a scat solo that cannot be translated into any language known to man, delivered with palpable passion that made his message universal. During Toots' ecstatic stage performances he would follow this riff by commanding his band to “Give it to me... one time!” Then the 'd make 'em say Uh!  (Way before Master P!) “Give it to me... two times!” Uh! Uh! And so on and so forth until Toots worked the place into a frenzy.

The Maytals' live show was so explosive that Toots began touring all over the world, opening for rock megastars like The Rolling Stones and The Who. While Bob Marley richly deserved the title King of Reggae, his friend Toots was performing internationally before The Wailers, and remained a force to be reckoned with throughout his life, blazing a trail for generations of reggae artists to follow in his footsteps.

On his Grammy-winning 2004 album True Love, Toots recorded some of his greatest hits with a host of legendary artists, many of whom were also good friends, including Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, and Eric Clapton. His 2006 cover of Radiohead's "Let Down" was a favorite of the band's, who used to play it on their tour bus. Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood called Toots’ version “truly astounding,” according to Easy Star Records Michael Goldwasser.

Toots supported himself and his family by touring all over the world. During a 2013 show in Richmond, Virginia he was singing John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Roads" when a teenager in the crowd threw a vodka bottle at the stage and hit him on the head. He suffered a concussion and had to stop touring for several years. As his first album in a decade, Got To Be Tough was highly anticipated when it was released on Trojan Jamaica label August 28. On the cover the former boxer and lifelong fighter can be seen throwing a punch. Just a day after the album dropped, Toots came down with symptoms similar to COVID 19. Within a few days he was hospitalized where doctors placed him into a medically induced coma from which he never recovered. As his Tidal obituary pointed out, he passed away exactly 33 years after his old friend Peter Tosh died by gunfire.

Songs like "Just Brutal" from the hit different now, with Toots pleading for more love in a world gone wrong. "We were brought here," Toots sings. "Sold out. Victimized brutally. Every time I keep remembering what my grandfather said before he died."

“I’m feeling alright,” Toots said the last time we spoke, while he was still sidelined with stress issues due to the bottle-throwing incident. "I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling just cool because is Jah works. You seet?" I asked him if the song "Bam Bam," was about him—a peaceful man who should not be provoked—or else. "Nooo don't trouble him," Toots said with a laugh. "It’s gonna be double trouble, triple trouble. A lot of trouble."

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