As Tink – the hoodrich rap girl straight out of Windy City – drops her new track with Tazer “Wet Dollars”, we take a look at her Ten Commandments.
Taken from the Summer issue of Wonderland.
On the outside, Tink is a 20-year-old Chicago girl, an exceptionally talented rapper and singer, who happens to be killing it. As soon as Timbaland got wind of her mixtape, he flew her out to New York and took her on as his protégée. He later told an audience at SXSW that Aaliyah had appeared in a dream and told him Tink was The One. She has since signed to a major label, worked with Missy Elliott, and bagged her first magazine cover with music bible, Fader. For this fledgling rapper, the only way is up.
But on the inside, something else is going on. Tink has an agenda. She doesn’t want to revel in her newfound celebrity status, she doesn’t care if you like her sound, and she’s going to do things her way, not your way. Tink, or Trinity Home as her parents know her, is a whole lot wiser than her twenty years. She’s got the volatile passion of Lauryn Hill, but the measured wisdom of Common. Tink is an artist who’s not afraid to speak out.
In the wake of Ferguson, Questlove called for “Songs with spirit in them. Songs with solutions, songs with questions. Protest songs don’t have to be boring or non-danceable or ready-made for the next Olympics. They just have to speak truth.”
Rappers like J-Cole, Run the Jewels and The Game answered his call with their own musical commentary. Where for some there were no words, hip-hop heavyweights with the knowledge and the following put out protest tracks, which tried to make sense of, and find answers to, a massive, tragic injustice. So did Tink. She was still in her teens when she released “Tell The Children”. It’s a track both full of rage and steeped in contemplative wisdom. It’s a poignant warning against complacency.
Later came Timbaland-produced tune “Ratchet Commandments” (inspired by Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments” ) which called out everyone from “phoney fathers” and “side bitches” to those who only “live for the gram”. In the spirit of ratchet rules and uncensored honesty, Tink spits Ten Commandments in Wonderland’s direction.
Blue cotton print vintage t-shirt from a selection at FILTH MART, blue denim dungarees by TOPSHOP, pink cotton jacket with fur collar by MIU MIU, necklace by MIYAKO BELLIZZI and pink leather high top trainers by REEBOK
Have something to say
“In the beginning when I first started rapping, I didn’t really care too much about having a message, it was more just making bars and saying shit that sounded cool. Now when I go into the studio, I think about the full song and I always think about my listeners. It’s personal, I put more thought into my lyrics. ‘Tell The Children’ was definitely a message for my people. I wrote that song before the Ferguson Grand Jury verdict came back. That was very deep for me. I felt like my people needed some words. It’s very real, it’s very true. Hip-hop needs that. Everything is so cool and flashy and ‘money money money’, but nobody really talks about the shit that goes on in the streets.”
Mo’ money, mo’ problems
“I’m still shook up about the first time I met Timbaland. We sat on the couch and had a conversation for two hours, just a genuine conversation. He wasn’t talking about money, he wasn’t talking about a deal, it was more, ‘Where are you from? How did you get into music?’ We talked about how we both started in our basements. It was a real conversation, no motive. We’re not thinking about a big cheque, it’s about making good music.”
Trends come and go, originality stays
“If you listen to what everybody else is doing and fall in line, you won’t be memorable because you’re just doing the same thing as everyone else. Tim always says to me, ‘We gotta stay in our own world!’ His production doesn’t sound like anything else on the radio. That really helped me push myself to get creative and be more unique. I sing and rap and I’d never try to pick between the two, my album is definitely a mixture of both – that’s a part of who I am, that’s Tink.
Fuck the haters
“What would I say to my haters? I’d tell them, ‘You can do it too’. Hate comes from people who are upset because they feel like I’ve got something they don’t. It comes from a place of jealousy and envy. My message would be, ‘You can do it, now make something of yourself.’ If someone’s pissing you off, the best way to respond is to turn around and walk away, because they have the problems, not you, and you have more important things to do.”
“As an artist I want to sell a lot of records, and as a person I want to be able to touch people with my message and my voice. It’s bigger than just Chicago, than the United States. I really wanna take this thing as far as it can go.”
“When you don’t believe you can do something, you’re not going to do it, it’s not going to happen. That’s why you have to program your mind to believe that it’s coming. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be next week, but when you think about something all the time, it’s on your mind and it will come.”
Thou shalt not wear an ill-fitting bra
“There are so many different types of girls, but I think every girl needs to own a good bra. It’s the one thing we all need, no matter what kind of girl you are.”
Love = everywhere
“Every night before I go to bed, I look for the love on social media. I try to look out for the positive energy in my comments. Yes, there’s a lot of negative, but I like to find fans from different countries, seeing responses from the Bahamas and Africa is amazing and it makes me feel good.”
Siblings are the one
“When I need someone to talk to, I confide in my older brother, TJ. Siblings will cheer you up when you need it, and they’re not afraid to tell you the truth, so I get the realest advice from him.”
Learn from mistakes
“My only regrets are the times I’ve doubted myself. Sometimes you can spend too much time watching what other people do instead of focusing on yourself. I’ve learnt that now, I’m Tink and I can only be Tink. I have to do what works for me.”
Black and white stripe trouser suit by CHANEL, white cotton jacket by ADIDAS for TOPSHOP and white canvas trainers by VANS
Photographer: Ben Rayner
Fashion Editor: Zara Markin
Words: Shannon Mahanty
Photo Assistant: Adam Levett
Fashion Assistants: Julia Bayliss, Thistle Brown and Miyako Bellizzi