This year’s virtual inauguration festivities in celebration of our newly minted President Joseph Biden were absolutely star-studded despite being held during an unprecedented pandemic. Among the luminaries that lent their talents to the occasion were John Legend, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, The Black Pumas, Jennifer Lopez and many more. While all of the performances hinted at the joy that we’re all feeling now that the dark days of the Trump presidency are over, it was rising hip-hop star Tobe Nwigwe who came with a message on how to create the world that we are hoping to see with a cover of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes‘ timeless song “Wake Up Everybody” during the We Are One Celebration.
With his actual family and his family of musicians in tow, Tobe boldly took on the classic protest anthem — even adapting the moniker Tobe Pendergrass in the process. While the rapper is mostly known for his rhymes, his vocals aren’t too shabby here. He shies away from mimicking Teddy Pendegrass (despite the new self-appointed nickname) and instead opts for a more subdued approach. And instead of going for Teddy P power notes, he lets his backing singers handle the vocal embellishments. The choice makes us listen once again to the song’s lyrics as he urges the country to wake up and come together in order to effect the change we want to see in the next four years and beyond.
Speaking of the next four years and beyond, we’re sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of Tobe Nwigwe in that time. He’s been serving up several singles and videos from his recently released LP Cincoriginals and — given his penchant to turn his hustle into art — we doubt he’s going anywhere any time soon. Get into his stunning performance below.