Toosii’s newest single, “Favorite Song,” may be his most widely recognized track, but for the fans filling The Midway SF July 26, each song on the setlist may as well have been their favorite — they shouted lyrics word-for-word, song after song. It’s safe to say that the North Carolina rapper kicked off his NAUJOUR tour on a strong note with the love and support of his Bay Area fans.
Early arrivals braved a blustery San Francisco evening and a block-long line while waiting to enter the venue. The excitement reached a more palpable level as opener Johnny Goin 2X, who also runs sound for Toosii, kicked the night off with a short DJ set. Johnny built up the crowd’s energy by having them turn on their flashlights and yell at Toosii to encourage him to come out.
The 23-year-old rapper is known to differentiate his music from commercial rap fare by infusing his lyrics with more intimate details about his life. Nau’Jour, French for love and friendship, is the artist’s legal name. It’s the name he gave to his second and most recent studio album, released June 2, because he wrote the songs to reveal his true personal story.
His earlier music focused just on love and relationships, but with these newer songs, he touches on parts of his past never discussed in his music before: the time spent living in a van before he made it, the heightened respect he gained for women after becoming a father and his complicated relationship with his own father.
Toosii’s spirit of openness and humility translated easily onto the stage. He paused after his opening song, “Rule Number 1,” to take a sign from a fan reading “pretty girls love Toosii.” The saying is a reference to his 2021 EP, which he called a “tribute to women everywhere.” He continued to pause frequently to interact with the crowd and ensure the crowd’s safety, making it easy to understand why his fans are so devoted to him.
And for his most devoted fans, Toosii made sure to sample his discography in full. His second and third songs of the night, “Love is…” and “Heartaches,” took attendees back to his 2022 album, “Boys Don’t Cry: Men Do.” He returned to his most recent studio album with “Another Love Song,” pulling on the audience’s heartstrings as he belted, “I been tired of being loved wrong,” in front of a backdrop of neon pink hearts.
Toosii kept things mellow throughout his set by limiting costume changes, choreography, effects, lighting and set changes, which allowed the crowd to focus on the music itself. On the off-chance that anyone’s attention began to drift, Johnny drew it right back to Toosii by interjecting, “here we go” and “let’s do it” — especially during the sixth song of the set, “Pull Up.”
Toosii kept the audience engaged throughout the set: Three lucky audience members got to join him onstage during the second half of the show. At one point, he noticed a group in the back holding up a pair of crutches and had them pass one up to the front so he could sign it; he also spent time after the set signing shoes handed up to the stage by hopeful fans.
Toosii closed the night with his TikTok-viral “Favorite Song,” which Johnny ran three times in total — first just for the crowd to sing, then two more times with Toosii joining in. If anyone’s phone had not been raised earlier in the night, it was most definitely in the air by then.
At one point in the night, Toosii yelled, “20 songs in, let’s keep this show going!” The opening night of his NAUJOUR tour revealed that with the young rapper’s community of love and friendship, his show will keep going for years and years to come.