Tino, rapper known for positive, upbeat music, goes deeper at Yellow Cab Saturday

Emo, neo-soul elements fill new material.



A rapper known for positive, upbeat music, Tino boldly gets raw and confessional on “Midwest Sorrow,” getting its release at Tino and Friends at Yellow Cab Tavern in Dayton on Saturday, Oct. 15. The eclectic bill of R&B singer Aaron Sumlin, punk pop band Better Anyway and rappers Eman Jones and Darwin reflects the diverse influences on the Cleveland native’s new album.

“I wanted to make some tracks that reflect who people are and that’s what ‘Midwest Sorrow’ comes from,” he said, speaking with me at Press Coffee on Watervliet Avenue. “With emo music and neo-soul, the songs are about who you are as a person and not just a characteristic of you. I’m trying to be the most human I can possibly be. A lot of times, I am a positive, bubbly, upbeat person but certain things really hurt me. And I try, as a man, not to divulge that I’m in these phases. This project tackles these phases I generally try to avoid.”

“Midwest Sorrow” is the follow-up to “Never Worried Bout Tomorrow,” which was released Dec. 7, 2021. It was the rapper’s third offering of the year, following collaborative releases with Sidekick Project and Safe Money. To me, ‘Never Worried Bout Tomorrow,’ was the pinnacle of my rapping projects up until that point. It’s the hip-hop album I’d been trying to make my entire career and it would be a fool’s task to try to top it immediately. I wanted to do something completely different so I didn’t have to compete with what I consider my opus.”

Album opener, “Strung Out,” is a statement of intent. It’s a ballad without drums or rapping, just Tino crooning over guitar. The audacious move sets the tone for an introspective album that explores themes of heartbreak, uncertainty and depression.

“I discovered neo-soul and emo music in college but I’ve never had a lot of sad music in my catalog,” he said. “Sometimes hip-hop doesn’t let you be a person as much as a persona. With this project, I wanted to be more of a person than the personification of a rapper. I really tried to go to some different places.”

Despite all this talk of feelings, “Midwest Sorrow” is not a downer. Tino sings more than ever and there are some darker musical elements but the rapper’s distinctive wordplay remains at the forefront. It’s very much a hip-hop album and a solid follow-up to “Never Worried Bout Tomorrow.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.


What: Tino and Friends

Where: Yellow Cab Tavern, 700 E. Fourth St., Dayton

When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15; doors open at 8 p.m.

Cost: $10 in advance, $12 day of show

More info: yellowcabtavern.com

Artist info: hiphoptino.bandcamp.com

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