millennial rap, ready to take on the world
Tink’s arguably greatest song is “Ratchet Commandments,” an adaptation of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments” that Tink released in early 2015. It’s got everything you could ask for: clever, incisive lyrics, themes of female empowerment, and a Mean Girls reference (“Y’all can’t sit with us,” she croons in the chorus). Upon first listen, she does sound like a mean girl, but she’s just being real. Her advice has merit: Don’t go to the club when you’ve got bills to pay, don’t flirt with taken men and be forced to take on the role of side chick, and don’t spend that much time on Instagram trying to show off to dudes. The song ends with her taking shots at men; she goes after deadbeat and dishonest fathers, saying they need to earn more money and spend more time with their daughters. The song primarily targets women only because she knows they deserve more than the men they often end up stuck with—she wants better for them, you see.
Tink turned 21 last month, meaning she’s younger than a quarter of the people she’ll be performing for on Friday. Her age often shows in her music, but in a good way: “Ratchet Commandments,” for example, is as good a guide to living life as it is a depiction of the modern independent woman. Following that, you should check out “Million,” a contemporary love story whose essence is encapsulated by its simple yet weirdly endearing hook: “There’s a million, million, million, million reasons why I fuck with you.” The song’s mixture of glitch-hop and sultry vocals—Tink is damn good at both rapping and singing—is a winning formula reminiscent of classic R&B; the Aaliyah sample only enhances its reverent feel.
That’s still just the tip of the iceberg, because for an artist so young (have I mentioned she’s just 21?), she’s got a massive collection of jams already. Make that six mixtapes worth, from house-influenced bop “Wet Dollars” to emotional ballad “Treat Me Like Somebody.” It’s through these mixtapes that she got the attention of Pitchfork, who called her “unpredictable in a rubberneck kind of way,” Epic Records, who signed her in 2014, and legendary producer Timbaland, who’s guided her mixtapes and will likely aid her albums to come.
But there’s no rush to plunge into the amazing material Tink’s already birthed to the world. Just wait for Friday for her performance, which is sure to showcase her myriad talents, her amazing songs, and her electrifying stage presence. Once that’s finished, however, please prepare your iTunes accounts for the following Sunday. Her long-awaited debut LP “Think Tink” will be released then, and it’s time to bring this rap savant to the top of the scene.