About TobyMac -
After his hugely successful career in the 90's with dc
talk, TobyMac (Tobias Kevin Michael McKeehan) decided to go out on his
own and released his debut album, Momentum, in 2001. Toby has been throughly
enjoying his solo career and recently released his second album entitled,
Welcome to Diverse City. This CD tells of Toby's passion to start a
revolution that will sweep through cities and erase the lines that divide
and keep people and cultures apart.
Toby's style is much like that of dc talk but with more
of a hip-hop sound. He likes to refer to his style as "musical gumbo"
because of the diversity of sounds he incorporates. Toby uses a mixture
of rock, pop, rap, and reggae to reach people of all races and color.
His influences include Arrested Development, U2, The Police, Black Eyed
Peas, and Bob Marley. Toby feels that U2 and Bob Marley have the greatest
expressions of spirituality in their music, even through Marley sings
of a different god.
TobyMac wants to start a revolution, one that will sweep
through cities and erase the divisive lines that keep people and cultures
Throughout the 1990's, TobyMac achieved considerable success
with his Grammy winning group dc talk, stockpiling a number of gold
and platinum albums with seven million combined copies sold.
As the group moved into the rearview window, TobyMac boldly
stepped out on his own with his solo debut, Momentum.
Earning rave reviews from Billboard to CCM Magazine, the
2001 album debuted atop the Billboard Heatseekers chart, sold over 400,000
copies, and landed two number one singles, "Extreme Days" and "Somebody's
The DC born artist went on to win several Dove Awards,
including Producer of the Year, and two BMI honors as Christian Songwriter
of the Year.
As a true artist, it's not his impressive sales heights
or awards that fire up his voice, but rather it's an unwavering quest
to make songs that connect and inspire all who hear them. Crafting the
perfect songs to match his vision, TobyMac ignites the first spark with
Welcome to Diverse City.
Accentuating his celebrated career with dc talk, TobyMac
made his solo bow in 2001 with the Grammy-nominated Momentum.
As the title implies, Diverse City is an album bursting
with musical flavors and nuances, and yet this stylistic blend finds
unity through faith as it's threaded through a melding urban rock and
hip-hop frame. Reaching into a world of different sounds and cultures,
this album knits it all together with a genuine artist's touch.
The disc marked a return to TobyMac's hip-hop roots, the
very style with which dc talk first emerged, and yet the rapper-singer
once again finds himself branching out from this base.
"I'm not on a mission to flex musical diversity as much
as possible, but I don't fear it," admits the emcee. "I don't fear where
the music is taking me. There's a blending going on as I drop it all
in the pot making what I call musical gumbo."
Building upon this throwback style, TobyMac infuses new
life with raps, hooks, and melodies that transform the party energy
into a celebration of races united as a single city on a shining hill.
Case in point, the title track recalls a time when disco
rolled into funk and groups like the Gap Band and Parliament rocked
the perfect party soundtracks. After moving feet with its retro revival
touches, the album trades in the dancing shoes for bangin' heads as
"Slam" and "Phenomenon" surge with rock guitars, explosive vocals, and
anthem-like choruses. Then, as a song that feels like summertime in
a cup, "Gone" uses a progressive west coast pop style to tell about
a friend who gave her disrespectful boyfriend the curbside-kick.
"My style is diversity, it always has been," says TobyMac,
who co-produced the album along with such notables as Chris Stevens,
Paul Meany, Robert Marvin, Mike Linney, Joe Baldridge, and Solomon Olds.
"It's about taking hip-hop and injecting pop melodies
and guitars and harmonicas and whatever else it takes to make the song
fit the message I'm trying to communicate."
In regards to the message, the new Toby Mac album reflects a shift
in the way he expresses ideas.
Whereas past albums tended to tackle issues in a more
universal manner, "Welcome to Diverse City" takes a closer
look at specific people, sometimes himself, problems, and situations
as real life backdrops to the lyrics.
This approach, which exudes a more personal touch, adds
empathy to a tale of loneliness ("Atmosphere"), urgency to a call for
change ("Getaway Car"), and humor to a frustrated confession of days
short on time ("Gotta Go"). The album's most personal song, "Burn For
You," even tackles the renewed life that TobyMac experienced after adopting
twins two years ago.
"In the past I dealt head-on with social issues, but I'm
starting to see that social issues come down to real lives," says TobyMac.
"As you dig into personal issues and find resolve in God, social issues
will begin to take care of themselves."
In 2002, TobyMac complemented his debut with the holiday
single This Christmas and the Momentum DVD, while Re:Mix Momentum, which
delivered three more Top 10 hits, followed in 2003.
That same year, Momentum lived up to its name as TobyMac
topped CCM Magazine's 25 Most Important Artists Shaping Christian Music
Today and placed fourth on their 25 Powerful People Who Have Made Christian
Music What It Is Today.
He also made the cut for Christian Radio Weekly's 50 Most
Influential People Today and was named one of the Top 50 Evangelical
Leaders of This Generation by Christianity Today.
During these past few years, TobyMac toured incessantly
as a headliner in addition to co-headlining with Kirk Franklin and sharing
stages with Third Day, among others. Showing everyone he's more than
just "talk," TobyMac put his artistic vision and values back into action
with Welcome to Diverse City, another album living up to its title.
"People fashion a great city by holding tight the beauty
of our differences with the bonds of our unity," he concludes. "My new
album invites people to ponder how they relate to each other and to
God and how He relates to them, but at the same time, I know it's gonna
drop a bomb that'll make any listener feel the energy."
Millions of fans know TobyMac as part of the hugely successful
Christian rap/rock group DC Talk. Since going solo in 2001, Toby has
had two top-selling records, Momentum and Grammy-nominated Welcome to
Diverse City. Now Toby shares with 700 Club Producer Scott Ross about
his latest effort, a book called Under God.
People that made a difference are in Toby's latest project,
a book he co-wrote with former DC Talk member Michael Tait called Under
God. Toby's passions for a deeper relationship with God and racial reconciliation,
especially among Christians, drive the stories in this book - stories
that talk about Christians of all colors who made this country great.
"We can't just sweep it under the carpet. We have to,
first of all, put it out in the forefront and make it up for conversation.
That's what we want this book to do. We want dialogue to come out of
this book. We don't want just warm fuzzies to come out of this book."
Toby was asked does repentance fit into this book Toby
Replied " I think it's what the book is all about. I think for us to
begin to move forward, there has to be repentance for offenses that
were made. The very end of the book, it's like, actually my letter and
Michael's letter is as white Americans I believe we need to recognize
the past. We need to seek forgiveness for it. And Michael's like, 'As
a Black American, I believe we need to forgive.' That's repentance.
But truly at the end of the day, some of these stories were meant to
just strictly inspire, inspire people to say I'm proud of my nation."
Using unforgettable accounts of both famous and little-known
Americans, Under God tells the stories of men and women of faith who
forged our nation. Against these stories of light, the authors also
examine the dark side of America's legacy so that a new generation might
seek God's face and avoid repeating the sins of the past, for it is
only under God that there will truly be "liberty and justice for
The righteous will hold fast to everything they believe
in. And if it gets demolished, destroyed, whatever you say, I don't
think you can demolish or destroy it. I think if people could demolish
or destroy the values in God's Word, it would have been destroyed a
long time ago. Many leaders have tried to destroy God's Word, but believers
find a way to meet. They find a way to believe. They find a way to place
their faith in God, whatever the country is. They continue to believe.
Welcome to Diverse City, 2004 (ForeFront)
Re: Mix Momentum, 2003 (ForeFront)
This Christmas, CD Single, 2002 (ForeFront)
Momentum, 2001 (ForeFront)
The TobyMac Lyric Index