Chicago’s hip-hop scene has been covered extensively in recent years. The explosion of talent comes after drill received a national spotlight in 2012, which was largely in part due to Chief Keef’s GBE movement. Just when you thought it was all said and done, guys like 2014 XXL Freshmen Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa opened the doors for budding artists like Caleb James, Tree and Alex Wiley. Other subgenres are getting attention in Chicago hip-hop and it’s getting stronger by the minute.
Boys aren’t the only ones running this scene, though. There’s been a wealth of female rappers—Sasha Go Hard, Katie Got Bandz, Dreezy—that have been laying down their marks and creating their own lanes. Tink, the 19-year-old singer/rapper from Calumet City, is quickly rising as the next one to pop. With a lot of good things thrown her way like collaborations with Jeremih and Sleigh Bells, she got plenty of potential to keep us interested.
During her New York City visit, the Chicago MC spoke to XXL about the message she’s trying to convey in her music, the status of her Timbaland-produced album, how there’s an open lane right now for younger artists and much more. It’s safe to say we’ll be hearing a lot about Tink this year, so familiarize yourself with her in The Come Up.—Eric Diep
XXL: Where did you grow up in Chicago?
Tink: I grew up in Calumet City, which is just South of Chicago. Chicago is a very tough city. Growing up in it, especially when you are coming up in the music you got a lot of haters from my own city. I think they are haters ‘cause people rock with who they know. It’s not really [any] unity in the city. So people often compare our artists like “I like so and so.” You know what I am saying? People just wanna rock with who they want to rock with instead of feeling out everybody. It just makes me go harder. My city, they show me love for the most part. Coming up, definitely I had to do extra.
I was in the suburbs, but at the same time, I still saw a lot. I went to the school in the city and I transferred, so when I was in the city and going to school there, it was tough. Young people die all the time, you know what I am saying? It’s like everyday now. I just got introduced to a lot of things young and I seen it and I know a lot.
What did you do to stand out from your peers?
To stand out, I just use my talents. I rap and I sing as well. With that being said, people kind of know me for bringing that emotion in music. Of course, Chicago’s known for the drill. Keefs, Lil Durks, and whatnot. My music on the other hand, it has a message to it. I think that’s what sets me apart. I think it gets deeper than saying anything on a trap beat. I’m putting stories together and people are relating to what I am saying.
How did music come to play?
I’ve been writing since I was like 12. My father was an engineer so I had a studio in my basement as a kid. So I’ve just been around music since forever. I dropped the “3Hunna” remix, that was kind of the first song that kind of blew up in Chicago. When Chief was out, I did the remix to “3Hunna.” After that, things just kind of shined. People caught on to me and started following my movement.