Q&A: 17-year-old Chicago rapper Tink
Tink (Lenny Gilmore / RedEye / July 30, 2012)
Her March mixtape, “Winter's Diary,” was mostly silky, confessional R&B, and its sound was striking and mature--particularly for a debut release. It also featured a few show-stopping rap verses, which serve as a primer for Tink's more rap-oriented second mixtape, “Alter Ego,” which dropped today.
To prepare for the release, we brought Tink into the RedEye offices to talk about her musical beginnings, her high school and splitting her time between rapping and singing.
How old were you when you started singing?
I started singing when I was like, a baby, like five, in the church. I started singing in church. And then my freshman year in high school I picked up on rapping by, like, accident, almost. And I kept working at it.
What do you mean, “By accident?” What was the accident that made you stumble into rapping?
Not really an accident, but actually I was playing. I was in the room with my brother, and he put on an instrumental. It was a Clipse beat, and I started saying words that rhymed. We recorded it, he put it on Facebook and everybody was like, “She's good, keep doing that.” So I made some more, just kept dropping them on Facebook, and I kind of got into it for real, seriously.
What do kids in school think of your music?
They love it. My friends and classmates and stuff, they're very supportive. They always tell me what they think. It's always good feedback. They look out for me.
Do you stand around at lunch and rap with people?
Honestly, we did, used to do that, like in the hallways between classes and stuff. Everybody would huddle around, and I'd just like spit a verse that I wrote the night before, and they'd be like, “Aw, she's so raw” and “Say another one the next period.”
In that environment, do you think the fact that you're a female rapper plays into peoples' expectations or the way they approach your music at all?
Not really. They know how I sound, so they always expect just to hear some dope bars.
What are your favorite subjects in school?
English. I love to write. It kind of helps me out with the rapping and singing and whatnot. And math.
Do you make all your music at home?
I actually do. I have a studio in my basement. I sit there – I grab my brother, tell him to engineer, tell Dad to mix it down for me.
So the whole family gets involved.
Yeah, everyone pitches in, which is dope.