With an already-extensive catalog under his belt since starting out in 2016, rapper and singer Tobe Nwigwe is one of the more established entries in the Best New Artist category at the 2023 Grammy Awards. Also up for the Big Four award are Anitta, Domi & JD Beck, Latto, Omar Apollo, Samara Joy, Muni Long, Tobe Måneskin, Molly Tuttle, and Wet Leg.
Hailing from Houston, Nwigwe has released a series of acclaimed projects over the years. 2022 saw the artist drop a live album, numerous singles, and his latest full-length, moMINTs. Nwigwe has also collaborated with artists like Duckwrth, Big K.R.I.T., Black Thought, and Royce Da 5’9″, and counts Erykah Badu, Beyoncé, and Michelle Obama as fans.
Here are five things to know about Tobe Nwigwe ahead of Music’s Biggest Night on February 5th, 2023. Check out the full list of nominees here.
1. He’s a former football player
Before stepping into the rap game, you could find Nwigwe on the football field at the high school and collegiate level. As a linebacker at the University of North Texas, Nwigwe was a redshirt freshman who would go on to be named to the All-Sun Belt’s second team in 2008, where he led the team in total tackles and interceptions. There was potential for Nwigwe to become an NFL player, but unfortunately, he suffered a career-ending injury.
2. He co-founded a nonprofit
Following college, Nwigwe would go on to co-found TeamGINI, a nonprofit that stems from Gini Bu Nkpa Gi?, which in the Ingo language means “what’s your trouble?” According to the non-profit’s Facebook page, TeamGini “empowers the younger generation to transform and develop their reasoning and perspectives inspiring them to discover purpose for their lives while reasserting a sense of hope for their future.”
3. He’s also an actor
Nwigwe has been able to showcase his acting chops in 2022 with his work on Mo. The Netflix series from Mo Amer and Ramy Youssef takes place in Nwigwe’s hometown of Houston; he plays Amer’s childhood friend, Nick. Nwigwe is also set to star in the upcoming film Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, due for release in June 2023.
4. He’s been nominated for a big award before
Yep, Nwigwe already has an Emmy nomination to his name. Nwigwe received a nod at the 2021 Emmy Awards alongside the team behind Beats by Dre’s “You Love Me” ad (which Nwigwe provided the voiceover for) in the Outstanding Commercial category.
5. He’s worked with top-tier talent
Michelle Obama, who added Nwigwe’s song “I’m Dope” to her workout playlist, is far from the only prominent figure who recognizes his talent. The rapper has collaborated with Big K.R.I.T., Duckwrth, Royce Da 5’9″, Black Thought, and comedian Anthony “Spice” Adams, and starred in one of Beyoncé’s Ivy Park ads.
See the full list of 2023 Grammy Awards nominations here.
Grammys 2023 Nominees Photo Gallery: