Cam O'bi has been instrumental in the success of artists like Chance the Rapper, Noname, and SZA, providing them with rich, melodic beats that blend buoyant synths and keys with chunky percussion. Now, the former J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League member is striking out on his own and recently uncorked the first single from his upcoming project, Grown Ass Kid. It features a choice turn from Smino, who O'bi previously worked with on the original version of the Big Sean track "Living Single," though he was left off the final cut.
"TenderHeaded" is joyous, with pops of vocal harmonies and even a baby cooing in the background, yet the song is also a reflection on O'bi and Smino's upbringings, the importance of hair in African-American culture, warped beauty standards, and the dangers that lurked of their old neighborhoods. O'bi's verse is dense and powerful, filled with vivid snapshots from his past. His more restrained flow plays well off of Smino's soulful croon.
The title of O'bi's album comes from "Grown Ass Kid," a track he produced for Chance that featured Alex Wiley and Mick Jenkins but didn't make it onto Coloring Book due to sample clearance issues. O'bi confirmed the track would be on his project in April 2017. He recently contributed to Rejjie Snow's debut project Dear Annie, producing the track "The Rain." "Tenderheaded" is co-produced by Dee Lilly and mixed by O'Bi, Lilly, and Chance collaborator Elton Chueng.