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Rap artist Ms. Toi was originally born in Chicago but has been living in Los Angeles since elementary school. She moved to Inglewood and later attended Inglewood High School. Early on Toi was known for being an entertainer. Her parents said before she could speak she was singing Chaka Khan’s songs.
Her first taste of the music industry came when she played the role of “the other woman”, in the music video “He’s Mine”, for R&B group Mokenstef. Around the same time Toi started to make a name for herself on the local dance scene in Los Angeles.
Toi’s big break came when she landed a great gig as being the lead dancer for a girl group called Thick & the Girls. Toi told the Sentinel that she really got motivated during that time period because the lead rapper (a white female) of the group Thick & the Girls started drinking alcohol heavily and would forget her lyrics during performances. That was very embarrassing for Toi because she felt it was misrepresenting her to be dancing for someone who couldn’t really go out and represent Hip-Hop correctly. But as Toi reflects back she said she understands it was a beginning and everybody has to start somewhere.
Toi recalls how people would come up to her after dancing on stage and compliment her on how good she was. But underneath it all Toi was yearning for more. She was yearning for microphone attention.
The next person to make an impact on Toi’s career was Brooke Payne, who is Ronnie DeVoe’s (Bel Biv DeVoe) uncle. This was Ms. Toi’s first management team. Her first professional song was also recorded with Ronnie DeVoe. It was a rap song called “Life Styles of the Rough and Sexy.”
After touring with Ronnie DeVoe and coming back home to Los Angeles, Toi linked up with the rap group Militia, who released the smash single “Lets Burn.” Toi was featured on the remix version of “Lets Burn” but after the single’s success nothing else transpired. 1997 was suppose to be the release date for Militia’s album but after many technical and business differences, Toi decided to leave the group and pursue her solo career.
Toi’s career took a giant leap when one night out of the blue, her friend K-Mack, a member of the popular 90’s rap group Comrads, called Toi to come in the studio and help Ice Cube finish recording a single. Cube was recording the single “You Can Do It” and the crazy thing is he was getting ready to scrap the song altogether before Toi came in the studio. “You Can Do It” became an overnight phenomenon Ms. Toi to joined the legendary Up in Smoke Tour in 2000.
As any artist would believe after being on one of the biggest hip-hop tours in history, Toi thought she was about to get a deal with Ice Cube. But after countless efforts Toi came to realize that if Cube’s team really wanted to sign her they would have made a better effort to get the deal done.
But with every door that shuts another one opens and Ms. Toi’s new national stardom gave her the momentum she was searching for. Several different record labels started calling and vastly pursuing her. Toi actually landed a deal with Universal and released her first solo album titled “That Girl.” Toi said she did everything in her power to make the album successful but the label just didn’t understand her. The album featured Nelly and the St. Lunatics, MC Ren, Squeak Ru, E 40, Cl’CHe, and a host of Ms. Toi’s closest friends. Toi dropped the single “Hand Clap” but the single never picked up enough commercial appeal so ultimately Toi had to leave the label.
After seven years and vast recording sessions, Ms. Toi is back and sounding better than ever. She is currently working side by side with Heat Makaz Mr. Payback and has full control of her professional life. Her new label House of Hawk encourages Toi to be a boss and take control of her own career. The first thing she did was clean up her lyrics.
“When I finally met with the label House of Hawk which is run by two individuals by the name of Paul and Corey, I got two cats working with me right now that believe in what I am doing,” Toi told the Sentinel. “Don’t get me wrong we had our fights to make the album happen and that’s how it ended up being a clean album. I liked the fact that they wanted to bring in different things and tackle my brain and see what else I was able to do as an artist. So I took everything else back that I gave them. I really found my self in the transition with the label because I knew if I was able to give them something, and they were able to give me something, then both sides would be happy.”
The new album “Not Yo Average Chick” already has the street buzzing and is being considered as one of the hottest underground albums of the year. Toi collaborated with artists such as Mr. Tan, Cl’Che, J-Doe, Dawn and Mista Cleave who does a hot reggae flow on her title track. Ms. Toi is also staying active in the music world with a new DVD set to be released and also coming soon is a mix tape with DJ Who. Keep your eyes and ears open for the album “Not Yo Average Chick” or go to myspace.com/mstoimusic for more information.