20 Watts

ISSUE 21 | Features: They Call Him ToTs Pt. 4


Today ToTs’ biggest fans are his family, friends and the arts community – all people who are integral to his Syracuse life. “I think what he’s doing is adding an element of fun and humor to the rap community,” says Marianne Smith Dalton, a painter who met him at the Red House, “It’s refreshing.” His roommate and co-owner of Funk N’ Waffles, Adam Gold, describes him as clever, conta­gious and a little eccentric.

But he’s branching out. ToTs admits he initially was “rhyming for the sake of rhym­ing.” But now he has a purpose, a mission. “I have a slow exponential marketing plan,” he says. He’s all over the Internet using social media to spread the word: Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr – you name it, he’s on it. He offers free downloads of his songs on Bandcamp.com. Music videos for songs “Twice Baked” (The Coup de Tots) and “Deep Fried” (Au No You Didn’t) are on YouTube. A profile video on ToTs, “From the Ground Up,” filmed and edited by David Grewe, an Syracuse University graduate student, is up on Current TV’s Web site. Mark Clare, a visual artist, has even considered booking him for music festivals in Ireland. And, most recently and least expected, an intrigued video direc­tor found ToTs’ profile on Vimeo and offered to make the video for “C.R.I.S.P.Y,” the first single from Au No You Didn’t.

He doesn’t know where this project is go­ing but he knows one thing for certain. “I’ll never run out of material,” he says. “I can easily foresee at least five, six more albums filled with potato-related songs.” He’s having a good time. “I started doing what I was do­ing because it was fun for me,” ToTs says.

And in this quest to satisfy his own creative needs he surprised himself by being successful enough to open the doors for other people to enjoy it too. “It’s proven to be a really cool niche genre,” he says. “And I’m proud to say I’ve pioneered it.



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