First Look Friday: tg.blk – Okayplayer


Music reverberates in every single place, as it’s a medium for conveying emotion. A lot has been made about rap’s latest decline in reputation, however it’s as international as ever, with every area having its personal model of the artwork type. Out in Kenya, tg.blk’s stream-of-consciousness rap, with the emotion of a lovelorn R&B music, has made it stateside. Initially selecting up rap as a joke in highschool that was a ardour, tg.blk has been selecting up followers from Kenya and past because the 2021 breakthrough “Love Being Used.” This yr, her music “NYDFRYSTYL,” launched final December, is selecting up steam and touchdown on playlists all throughout Spotify.

tg.blk – Love getting used (prod. baileydaniel)

tg.blk’s journey as a rapper started in her teen years. She began listening to hip-hop in highschool, not content material with feeling ignored when her mates flexed their data of it. Rising up in Mombasa, a metropolis on the southeastern coast of Kenya, tg.blk’s publicity to music got here from her mom. The music of Madonna, Whitney Houston, The Hole Band, Earth Wind & Fireplace have been constants in tg.blk’s childhood, which led to the younger girl to search out music of her personal. “I did not know who Future’s Youngster was like I could not decide them out of a lineup till after they broke up,” tg.blk admits.

tg.blk’s exploration of recent music, led to her turning her Macbook on, opening GarageBand, and crafting songs in her room. Ultimately, she got here up together with her rap identify tg.blk as a play on her actual identify (Thigi) and a reference to the bizarre names of the lo-fi producers she was into, like MNDSGN, SwuM, and eevee. tg.blk is all lowercase as a nod to MF DOOM, the all the time capitalized legend whose basic 2004 album Madvillainy made her need to rap. She began to add her music to SoundCloud in 2016 and continued to hone her craft from there. Years later, tg.blk customary herself into the free-flowing musical expertise she is right this moment.

gin and wine (ginuwine)

As she experiences quickly growing press protection and a constructing buzz, tg.blk hopped on the cellphone to debate studying from hip-hop’s previous, constructing confidence in her abilities, and Kenya’s love for hip-hop. Welcome to First Look Friday.

Okayplayer: How did you create “NYDFRYSTYL”?

tg.blk: The start of final yr, after I got here again from doing New 12 months’s, I used to be like “I need to rap.” It is technically a freestyle within the sense that I simply freestyle completely different takes after which push them collectively, however it’s not a one-take freestyle. I did not suppose it was gonna come out however, completely satisfied that it is out.

Why did not you suppose it will be launched?

I do a number of songs that simply by no means find yourself popping out and I am similar to “Okay, that is good, I do not know if anyone desires to take heed to me rap with no Refrain for this lengthy.” So I used to be similar to “It is a cool music. Perhaps I will put it on Soundcloud.” However that is too good to simply sit on my SoundCloud.

When did you notice “NYDFRYSTYL” was making noise?

After I had folks coming as much as me, particularly as a result of I am in Kenya and being like “I am solely 5 foot 5” (a bar from the music) and now a bunch of individuals simply maintain peak checking me. I am like yeah, I am compact. Or folks DMing like, “Are you truly 5 foot 5?”

How did you develop your present sound?

I began listening to music with the intention of getting higher at making music. that previous screenshot from Tumblr of basic rap albums and it is a wallpaper? I compelled myself to run by way of that. I need to get good at this, so I am gonna take heed to every thing everyone considers good and actually hear till I really feel like I get what makes these folks good. And I’ll try to do this in my very own means. It is a talent factor, rapping is a talent factor. It is not simply charisma, rhyme schemes, it is protecting it easy generally, protecting it advanced, generally. There’s leaving area. I listened to a number of music that I wished to emulate.

What have been among the most personally impactful albums for you?

Madvillainy for me, like particularly the manufacturing. I need to have the ability to rap precisely like this. I need to have the ability to do precisely what he is doing. It additionally simply turned me into like an obsessive Madlib listener. I really feel like that is how I discovered tips on how to rap in a way. I used to be like should you sound shitty on an excellent beat, it isn’t as a result of the beat is shitty, it’s trigger you’re shitty. The 2 Slum Village [albums]. Improbable, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Illmatic, after all, as a result of it is a basic. I truly turned obsessive about that album for a time frame. [Jay-Z’s] The Blueprint, [Lupe Fiasco’s] Tetsuo and The Youth. [Earl Sweatshirt’s] Some Rap Songs, that one which album got here out like that fully modified my complete fashion of creating music.

Photo courtesy of tg.blk.Photograph courtesy of tg.blk.

When did you start to really feel assured in your means to make music?

I did not really feel assured till 2021 after I made “Love Being Used,” after I lastly determined to place that on my Spotify and it began to do traction. Up till that time, I used to be nonetheless satisfied that I used to be type of trash. I used to be like, “I can positively stream and rap, however that does not imply I could make an excellent music.” In the identical means that you would be a battle rapper and also you could be a good rapper, however you possibly can’t make an excellent music. It was type of like a turning level the place I stored placing my music on SoundCloud and I used to be like, there is not any level of placing it on DSPs and shit. No one’s going to hear, that is only for me and my mates to take heed to, and randomly, let me strive it. I had that music on my SoundCloud and it had possibly 3,000 performs and folks simply stored asking me to please put this on Spotify. Then issues simply picked up and I began to achieve a little bit of confidence.

“Gin and wine (Ginuwine),” your newest music, is completely completely different from “NYDFRYSTYL” and reveals off your versatility. How do you begin with an thought and switch it into one thing, as you probably did right here?

So, humorous sufficient the identical man who produced “NYDFRYSTYL” truly produced “gin and wine” as properly. Yeah, his identify is Isaac. So I nonetheless want going to YouTube for beats, as a result of there’s simply so many and it is so exhausting for me to attach with folks. You might ship me a folder with 50 beats and I will undergo all of them and be like “Nah.” I discovered the beat on Isaac’s web page. I solely made that first half of the music like final yr and I simply had it sitting in my folder. After we lastly related, after I made New 12 months’s Day freestyle, I despatched it to him and he was like “Yo, that is dope. Why do not you go longer?” and I used to be like “The beat acquired type of boring to me after a sure level.” He is like “Maintain on, I will do one thing” after which he simply despatched it again to me with the beat swap and I used to be like, oh shit you fully revamped the music.

You are off to a extremely good begin, how do you are feeling you bought right here?

I actually suppose it is also my beat choice, which is one thing I am very specific about. I have been a Lucki fan since like 2016, and there is not a single Lucki music with him on a foul beat. That is why I like his music. So simply being very selective in that sense, is what actually helps me. I simply know what matches me.

What do you’ve got developing subsequent?

I’ve one other music popping out on the finish of April. It is type of like Isaiah Rashad-ish in a means, like if Isaiah Rashad and possibly Fergie had a music collectively. That is how I give it some thought. After which I’ve one other music popping out the month after after which another after which a tape hopefully, simply six songs. Truthfully, I really feel type of unhealthy to name it a mixtape as a result of it is not technically a mixtape, however it’s not even deliberate out sufficient to name [it] the rest. It is simply an introduction, a style of tg.

You are culturally conscious of the bizarre nuances of American rap and American rap followers. How did you decide up on all of that?

To start with, Kenyans love music typically. I want extra rappers would come to Kenya, they’d go loopy for the quantity of affection they’d get right here. Quite a lot of Kenyans take heed to rap music and simply being genuinely obsessive about it. I might say there was a time frame for possibly, three, or 4 years. I used to be listening to rap solely. I began with pop and I used to be like, that is boring and I turned obsessive about rap. I might return and like simply watch movies of individuals speaking about how issues acquired began studying articles listening to music, Googling folks. Additionally, I am on Reddit a bunch as a result of folks on Reddit are tremendous inflexible. Reddit is for the previous heads, I inform you. That is the place previous heads go to debate rap music and the state of rap music.

The place would you like your musical profession to go?

When folks discuss girls in rap, I need to come up within the dialog. If there is a group of like 5 folks, I need at the very least one of many 5 to be like, “Nah, you guys are sleeping on tg.blk.” Like that one one that brings up underground artists while you’re arguing “Who’s the most effective at this?” I need folks to argue about me on Reddit and I desire a bunch of kind beats on YouTube. These are my two objectives. I’ve one factor to say that I suppose I ought to embrace; if anyone’s on the lookout for me for like a cipher, I am ready. I need to rap someone, simply invite me to the cypher so I can simply rap for like two minutes and go away.


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