Quickly after his move TOPE found himself touring the West Coast with another underground hip hop legend, this time, Gift Of Gab of Blackalicious. With his bags still packed in Oakland and recording equipment in storage, TOPE quickly traded in his comfortable spot towards the top of the food chain in NW Hip Hop for a life on the road as an underground touring act. Back off tour and in Oakland, TOPE found himself lending production to another Portland legend Cool Nutz as he collaborated with Detroit’s own Slum Village, as well as taking a trip out to Atlanta to perform at A3C Festival and licensing music from his BROKE BOY SYNDROME album to Oxygen’s “The Bad Girl’s Club.”
In June 2016, TOPE announced his first solo tour, The 3AM Tour – a 22 city journey covering 8 states in less than a month. Along with the tour, TOPE also announced his follow up project 3AM IN OAKLAND to be exclusively produced by Stewart Villain and released after the tour. After a rocky 3 weeks on the road and a number of disagreements with management, TOPE found himself stranded in Portland in the 5 remaining dates on his tour canceled and no motivation to finish his project after.
Life was moving fast for TOPE after a failed tour and things not exactly working out in The Bay like he had planned, TOPE once again packed up his life belongings and moved even further South to LA. Still reeling from a failed tour, the pressure of a follow-up album, and two major moves in less than a year, stress and depression started to catch up with TOPE. After missing an official A3C event in Atlanta and letting the summer of 2016 go without releasing his project, TOPE knew he needed to make a change or possibly step away from music for good. After abruptly breaking up with his girlfriend, TOPE threw all his belongings in a trash bag, rented a U-Haul and once again headed back to the Bay Area, this time landing in Alameda, CA.
At the start of 2017, TOPE was feeling refreshed. A new start on the year, with a plan to release music once a month until the release his 3AM album, all of this until the unthinkable happened. While performing in San Francisco at Brick N Mortar in January of 2017, someone went backstage and stole his entire merch box containing his laptop and several personal valuable items. With no backup in sight, he lost over 6 years of music and memories including the flies, songs, and ideas for his soon to be released album. He was crushed. At a time in his life when he was strongly considering stepping away from music to pursue a different career path, TOPE almost felt as God was telling him music wasn’t the way. Defeated, he had to start completely from ground zero with no way to make music for over a month and every trace of his album gone for good.
To quote Big Sean’s hit “If you’re a real one you know how to bounce back.”
Quietly TOPE did just that, hitting the studio to recreate and resurrect some of the memorable songs from his 3AM IN OAKLAND project. Instead of a full-length project, TOPE decided to shorten things up and focus on the songs that truly mattered to him. In an effort to make sure he would actually release the project and also as a way of turning his attention 100% to a brand new self-produced project, he finally decided on a new EP, SOME THINGS GOTTA CHANGE.
7-tracks deep Oakland via Portland the producer and rapper offers up his new soulful and introspective EP just in the time for the end of summer. SOME THINGS GOTTA CHANGE blends a mixture of light-hearted party jams with personal and emotional revelations, that every TOPE project has been known for. Produced by Portland’s Stewart Villain with additions from Farnell Newton, Zach Striar, and himself STGC also features the vocal stylings of Oakland’s own Cash Campain and Atlanta-based songstress Erikka J. With lead off summer singles like “Glo’d Up,” “The Man,” and How I Know” he give listeners an update on how life in California has been treating him. While exploring the ups and downs of his relationships and moves on “Trying To Forget,” “Better Place,” and “Thank You” TOPE even takes time out to address the recent increase in police brutality on “Let Us Pray.”
Also see him live on the west coast next month:
9/3 Los Angeles, CA – Bananas Reunion Show with Verbs
9/11 Eugene, OR – Wow Hall with Blu & Exile
9/12 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studio with Blu & Exile
9/13 San Francisco, CA – Brick N Mortar with Knowmads
9/15 San Jose, CA – TBA with Kung Foo Grip