Toki Wright and Big Cats perform live in The Current studio

Toki Wright and Big Cats perform "Pangea" live in the studios of 89.3 The Current. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
Listen:
Toki Wright In-Studio
| 26:23
  • Toki Wright In-Studio 26:23
  • Toki Wright and the Big Cats - Apex (Live on 89.3 The Current) 03:51
  • Toki Wright and the Big Cats - Pangea (Live on 89.3 The Current) 03:30
  • Toki Wright and the Big Cats - Gatekeepers (Live on 89.3 The Current) 04:05
Toki Wright and Eric Mayson in The Current studio.
Toki Wright and Eric Mayson in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

The night the world was rumored to end back in 2012, Toki Wright called out Spencer "Big Cats" Wirth-Davis on stage at a show. "You're the best producer in the state," Toki told Big Cats. Toki's compliment was timed perfectly, really. Big Cats had just wrapped up an album, and Wright had lost his record in a house fire. They were destined to collaborate in a studio setting.

Eric Mayson performing live with Toki Wright and Big Cats in The Current studio.
Eric Mayson performing live with Toki Wright and Big Cats in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Two years later, Toki Wright and Big Cats release Pangea, out Sept. 23. The album title is more than just a literal reference, says Toki. Pangea also refers to a central tribe dispersing and serves as a metaphor for falling apart as a person. During its production, Wright struggled with depression. It was a major transition period for both Toki and Big Cats, but the two maintained an open dialogue throughout the Pangea writing process.

Toki Wright in The Current studio.
Toki Wright in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

The songs themselves inspire a dialogue, too. Lyrics on Pangea tracks like "Gatekeepers" facilitate a conversation around urban music being left out of the local media discourse. "'Gatekeepers' is about being able to speak to an experience other than yours," says Wright. "The music scene in the Twin Cities has gotten so much better in the last 10 years because of access and because these new voices are allowed the platform to speak. It shakes things up."

Toki Wright and Big Cats performing live in The Current studio.
Toki Wright and Big Cats performing live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Songs Performed

Big Cats performing with Toki Wright live in The Current studio.
Big Cats performing with Toki Wright live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

"Apex"
"Pangea"
"Gatekeepers"

Big Cats performing live in The Current studio.
Big Cats performing live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

All songs off Toki Wright and Big Cats' new album Pangea, out Sept. 23.

Lydia Liza performing with Toki Wright and Big Cats live in The Current studio.
Lydia Liza performing with Toki Wright and Big Cats live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Hosted by David Campbell
Produced by David Campbell
Engineered by Mike DeMark
Web feature by Leah Garaas

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