Tommy Genesis


I’ve known Tommy Genesis peripherally for a while. I don’t know if she remembers this, but we originally met cause I lent her my ID to get into a bar way back in the day. In a way I’ve seen her as a sis, always checked in to see what new thing she’s working on, and anticipated her to also outgrow our hometown Vancouver. Like any noticeable contemporary artist, Tommy was scooped up by the Internet. She was noticed by other instagram savvy users Keith Space Bar and Father which segued to her becoming the newest addition to Atlanta based label, Awful Records. Her wispy and pleasant voice paired with her honestly perverse lyrics has attracted some attention online as being one to watch. It seems pretty fitting that the name of her debut album is World Vision—she’s utilized the Internet to suspend her work in a kind of global space.

What drew you to rapping? What made you feel like you could connect to hip hop culture?
I’ve always written poetry, I grew up painting and drawing. But I’ve always wanted something more from making things. With rap, the platform is active. It’s global. I connect with the basis of a culture where everyone is invited without pretension.

I feel like your sound has evolved and grown so much over the years and seems more developed than ever before. Would you agree? What is it about your music that’s changed?
What I was making before was pure…more innocent and naive. World Vision was my first solo project… The crazy thing is what I’m working on now sounds completely different. I feel like I go through phases, once I’ve finished a project, I want to make something completely new.

I’ve been following your music for a while and I’ve always noticed your overt references to sex, not even sexuality necessarily but specifically sex. Why sex? Not to say that’s the only thing you write about, but it’s definitely a prominent topic. What is it about sex that inspires you? Or how did it end up in your music?
Sex is apart of everything, sex and love especially in music. Everyone touches themselves, everyone has fantasies, everyone wants someone, everyone fucks. I just don’t hide what I want and I reference the experiences I’ve had or the ones I make up in my head.

I read that you met with Father and Keith Space Bar online. How important has the internet been to your development as an artist?
Yeah I met Keith and Father online, back when our IG’s were kid_sis, spaceglue and lurkgod lol. I love my city but I definitely feel like I cocooned online.

To me, if you’re not online, it’s like a tree falling in the forest. In my opinion, no one hears you.

If you could work with anyone in the industry, past or present, who would you love to collaborate with?
Speaker Knockerz. Grimes. Uzi. Ca$h Out. Fetty Wap. Lord Narf (coming soon). Rihanna lol.

I remember one of the first times we ever hung out, we talked about old Three Six Mafia and I played my favourite La Chat verse in “Sleep” and you told me about your affinity towards Princess Loko. I feel like your music subtly refers to that genre of rap, do you agree? And how do you find that it comes through?

I love La Chat and Gangsta Boo! We hit it off on that tip! As an artist, genres don’t mean much to me. If I fuck with you I fuck with you. Princess Loko’s verse on Tommy Wright’s track “Still Pimpin” made me want to rap, but so did 2pac’s “Hit Em Up” and Ghostface Killah’s “Underwater.”

Recently, you told Complex Magazine you wanted your work to “be something, not be about something”. What exactly did you mean by that?
In art theory, there’s a concept called phenomenology. To me, it’s when you make art that can operate on its own. In other words, it’s not something you have to sit there and explain in a critique, but something the viewer can discover. I try to apply this concept to my methodology of music making. I don’t just want to reference what’s already been made, I want to make something new. Usually phenomenological art is art work that gives the viewer a bodily experience, but I also believe it’s work that finds itself relevant to the near future but not quite yet the present. In other words, it’s new without anyone knowing it’s new until it’s old. In my opinion there are two ways of making art. One way, is you know about all the previous art histories and so you are able to reference them. In this way, you make something new from something old. Or there’s another way, you go into it without knowing a thing, and what you make is new because you had no idea what the fuck you were doing.