We have an upcoming artist that we want to introduce to you! Meet Jackie Tsunami, a Memphis, TN native and is openly-gay. He is infamously known for his dope freestyles on his Instagram page and currently has over 20 thousand followers. His trap-twerking music will have you bumping and vibing to every song. I had an opportunity to have an amazing interview with Jackie Tsunami just so you can get a better understanding of who is as a person and artist.
What is your real name? My name is Jackie.
Where are you from? I'm Memphis, TN born and raised. I moved to Georgia in 2016, I believe.
What inspired you to go into the music industry? Honestly, it was Nicki Minaj. When i was younger, my family would always say, "Little Jack", that was my nickname, "Little Jack, he's gonna dance. He can dance", and I felt that way too. So I always thought that I would be a dancer. I use to want to be a singer when I was younger because I would sing all the time. I was like a little gay kid and I loved singing. When i was younger, I just didn't feel overly accepted and I wasn't . So, I had this little notebook where I would write songs and I remembered back when I was in third grade I was bullied by this guy. He snatched my notebook out of my hand and started rapping all of my songs. It blew my mind and the younger version of myself was like 'it doesn't even go like that. just stop.'
So when Nicki Minaj came out with a remix to 'Single Ladies' [she said], " Yo, rude boy why you cross me like a little t." In my head, I was like who is this bitch and who is she talking about. At that time, I [wasn't] feeling her music and I wasn't [impressed] with that song.
After that, I didn't like her and I wasn't sold. Fast forward to middle school, I was with one of my friends, and I think we were at a dance or something, not really sure, but I heard this song come on saying, 'I got that super soaker, p**** popper..' I looked at my friend asking him who this was.
He told me it's the same person that I didn't like, and I was shocked. I didn't know what it was about Nicki Minaj that was so different, and I remembered that other people would tell me that there are other female rappers before her. I said "nuh uh" because I was feminized, into femininity and woman power that I didn't associate females with rap. Girls don't rap they sing.
So when Nicki Minaj said that she [writes] her own raps, I went back to the song that I didn't like to listen to it all over again and I was like, 'she's cold'. That's when I knew what a metaphor was, a bar and things of that nature came into reconstruction. Her boss made mentality, like she knew where she wanted to go and do. She was so interesting to me.
I remembered I told my cousin that I wanted to become a rapper. My cousins were always freestyling. They would always freestyle around me, and I would be like, 'they always doing things that I don't know how to do'. Then they ended up having me freestyle with him, and I ended up being ok with it. I don't know what my first song that I wrote, but I started to apply my pen and then I began writing, I became a rapper.
So, would you say that Nicki Minaj is your number one inspiration as far coming out being a rapper? Yes, coming out being rapper yes, being a rapper presently in 2019, no. But, she definitely had a lot to do with the decision making of it as far as if this is what I want to do or want to become. So, she played a major factor in that.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for coming into the music industry as an openly gay rapper? I would say the biggest challenge would be not being able to have a chance. I think it's a lot of room for gay rappers and a lot of acceptance for openly gay rappers. It's just gaining an audience and getting them to give you a chance of listening to your music. What are you going to for your audience to connect with you or what's going to make you stand out from the rest? People like Mona Scott highlight artists that don't necessarily portray the LGBT community very well.
For instance, I saw a tweet from Bobby Lytes where he said, "If I was straight, I probably would've been on the billboards by now. Am I right or am I right?" I'm like, 'nigga you're wrong. You are lame. Your songs sucks. You don't write your own songs and you're not respected in the industry.' I feel like openly gay artist make up excuses as to why they aren't successful like they should be.
Hip hop being an urban thing, we love the under dogs. We love the white girl that sings black or a white boy that can dance. That's just urban america. For gay rappers, I feel like they aren't doing it right. I see a lot of gay rappers and I can see it being a thing. I think it's more so about the content and the things that you rap about. Being a gay rapper, you have to be able to talk about gay stuff. If you're not comfortable talking about gay stuff, then you're not an openly gay rapper. You're just not a gay rapper at all.
What advice would you give to an openly gay artist that wants to get into the music industry? Do your homework. Take the time out to listen to music right now. Think about the type of sound you hear in today's music and think about where do you see yourself taking it. We are in the music industry where people are dying to hear something different. Wanting to know what's the next big thing. I think a lot of the time, gay rappers now just want to rap. It's almost [comparable to] strippers becoming rappers movement. It's so prominent because some of them sound like Nicki or their favorite female rapper. Somebody is writing for them and there's no connection with your audience because you're saying somebody else words.
I get so many gay rappers asking me to do features with me, but I decline. They would ask me 'who do you think you are?' and I would respond by saying 'I'm that gay rapper that you asked to do a feature with, that's who i am'. So if you want to come into this game as a openly gay rapper and want to be respected for being [an] openly gay rapper you need to know what it is that you're coming to do, also figuring out how you're going to stay in the music industry.
For example, I take away from a lot of artists. My sound has a lot of elements of different artists. Like I can hear Big Sean, I could hear Drake, I can hear a little of 2 Chainz, and little bit of Nicki Minaj. I hear a lot of my big influencer's in my sound. I didn't just focus on one sound and adsorbed my life with them. I didn't take their sound and mimic theirs. I literally listened to different sounds picked out what I like and didn't like, also finding out what made the artist superior on how they got into their position, so I had to adjust myself. So, my advice would be to just listen.
What are your thoughts of today's music? I like today's music. I feel like today's music is in trouble because they keep sampling on old songs. It's so hard for them to come up with something catchy, witty, and warm. Music isn't warm anymore. There's no emotion. You get a couple of head nods to the beats and what not. But now, today's music cares more about the bass and rhythmic tones. I think now, it really depends on the artist. I usually pick 3-5 people that I would listen to everyday. Like right now, I listen to Summer Walker. I don't listen to the radio anymore. I just listen to the same 3-5 people everyday. I have yet to figure out what mumble rap is. Til this day, I still don't know what mumble rapping is. People would tell me that I'm mumble rapping, and I would be like 'what is that. Are they not saying words?' Also, I think it has a lot to do with slang as well.
I think sometime[s] this younger generation are coming out with different songs too. Like I heard 'put two d*** not the balls in the titties', I didn't know that it meant a gun. Like I didn't know how they [use] slang [to describe] a gun. You just have to get hip to what's going on now.
Do you think that the acceptance of the LGBT community is getting better? Is there a difference between male and females within the LBGT community being accepted as artists or rappers? There is a big difference between men and women rappers in the LGBT community. A lesbian would sky-rocket, henceforth, rapper Young MA. I feel like you're a girl and you're doing this rap s***, you're going to get accommodated a lot even if you're not feminine out here. Young MA is a whole thug out here, plus she has bars. I really respect her and I love her energy. Her position that she plays in the industry, she's hard ass and she doesn't play no games. She gives you [delivery] and everything that you need from her. You're not going to be expecting nothing.
But I do feel like, as far as acceptance. the industry is all about sponsorship and endorsements. Major backings and people supporting you. Even clothing lines and alcohol have been teaming up with the LGBT community. For Pride week, hotels would take percentage off your room if you're part of the LGBT community. When mainstream companies starts reaching out to the LGBT community and giving awareness, the music inndustry would cater to those companies to open more doors of opportunities for the LGBT that want to be an artist and rapper. Everything incorporates itself.
It's more so about being marketable. There are some gay rappers that the music industry would think aren't attractive enough or marketable or [too] risque to sign them so that their record label could get endorsements. For example, Big Freedia came into the music industry [with] bounce rap, but it really doesn't count as rap. It's expected to be a parody of just shaking ass. A person wouldn't be able to take you serious after that. They aren't expecting you to rap bars, they will be expecting you make songs for them to shake their ass.
So I feel like the industry kind of [uses] you a bit to become the person they want you to be instead of utilizing you to being something different by strengthening your talent. So I believe that the music industry is looking for someone with the formula of being attractive, appeasing to the male and female audiences, while [continuing to do] their own thing and being captivating. I feel like the whole gay thing is so played out. Don't get me wrong, the world is still homophobic. But, the LGBT community has evolved into a lucrative business. Even if you are an openly gay rapper, record labels will still sought you out to receive sponsorship and endorsements for their record label if they were to sign you.
I also noticed that you have an EP that you're planning on dropping soon. So, what should your audience expect from this EP? You know what, I've been so caught up in feeling like I had to be a certain way. When I do freestyles, I know people like the little hood nigga rara shit. But deep down inside, I'm this neo-soul, rhythmic vibing person. I've been getting all of these beats things that goes well with instruments. It very far off from what people want. As a visionary that I am, I keep getting stuck. So I've [been] making music that I want to hear, that I wouldn't cringe [to hear] later. I want to make sure that I made a good connection, I want to talk about everything that anyone in the LGBTQ need to hear and things that we go through because when we go through something, as a guy, we tend to listen to Beyonce or Mariah Carey, since we identify with females when we talk about a boy.
So, I want to give them something to relate to or something that could hold you down. I feel like a lot of gay rappers, but artists in general, drop the ball on that. Just the reflection is never there and the sound. One thing I can say, is that I have a very mainstream sound. Everything that I do with music, comes out effortlessly, never forced.
Overall, my EP will have relatability and vibes. I want you to play the songs off the EP where you can get you a glass of wine and light you up a blunt, then zone out. Really get into your feelings, your bag, and most importantly yourself. I want them to feel good as f***. Like I had a guy hit me up telling me about how my song made him feel like he could bump my songs in the hood and feel liberated. I'm like 'wow,kid. that's what I wanted to do.' So that's what I'm working on.
You heard it all folks. Check out Jackie Tsunami on his Instagram @Jackie.Tsunmai. Be sure check him out on his Soundcloud as well. We are truly excited to hear more from Jackie Tsunami. We can't wait for him to release his EP which will come out soon.
Check out his Latest Single!