Rapidly emerging rap artist Tsumyoki has been showing promising presence on the Goan music scene in recent times. His song White Tee, has garnered more than 1.6 lakh streams on all platforms. Tsumyoki, aka Nathan Mendes, strives to promote the rap culture in Goa and encourage the people to give rap songs a listen. The rapper recently spoke to TG Life about his work and his musical journey.
TG: It’s been a few months since you broke onto the scene with White Tee. How much has your life changed since then?
Tsumyoki: There are people who actually stop because they want to click photos with me, I have no idea who they are so just to know that I’m impacting their lives, is a life changing realization. I feel good that I’m inspiring people.
TG: How did you start off with your career?
Tsumyoki: I started off by showing a few bars or lines to my mom and she’s the reason I’m into all of this. I had only Rs 8000 (she understands the art behind it, and that this a part of the culture) and then I needed another Rs 8000 to buy a mic and an audio interface and all of the technical stuff. After I presented a few lines before her, she gave me the help and encouragement to go ahead and buy the equipment.
TG: What’s the story behind the song White Tee?
Tsumyoki: I always had this hook in my head “White Tee, Bish get off”, it started with that. Then I made a beat for the tune and for the music video I had a crazy idea. I posted a video online addressing all my followers, stating that I’m going to have a music video on this day and asked them to come here at Fatorda because we were going to be filming. So we had a lot of people and it was fun filming with them. Later, we also shot a couple of scenes at other locations. So, that’s how the music video for ‘White Tee’ came about.
TG: What does White Tee signify?
Tsumyoki: It lays out a mindset. When you are wearing something white, you take care not to get the material dirty. Similarly, I don’t need people’s negative remarks affecting my mindset.
TG: How and why did you come up with the name Tsumyoki?
Tsumyoki: Everyone thinks Tsumyoki has some deep meaning, but I put my meaning in my music rather than in my name. Talking about the name, well, I woke up one day, looked at myself in the mirror and that’s how I got it. It does, however, have Japanese influence. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but then I stuck by the name and it slowly became popular.
TG: Tell us something about your collaboration projects
Tsumyoki: So far I have collaborated with very few artists such as producer JD, and 2Jaym on Headphones, and Kidd Mange and ZaDaRapper. I believe Goan musicians should develop an ear for rap music. This will open up lots of opportunities in this genre.
TG: You’ve got a unique fashion sense. Could you tell us more about it?
Tsumyoki: Yes. I like to keep my fashion different from the mainstream. I always try to switch it up as I am influenced by American culture. But I’m trying to bring out Indian culture too to show what Goans can do.
TG: At 18, you’re already being invited as a judge for various college events, performing at clubs. Do you think everything is happening too fast?
Tsumyoki: Definitely, because you cannot really calculate your audience. People just spread the word about your work. It’s really amazing.
TG: When and where did you do your first gig and how did it feel?
Tsumyoki: Well technically there are two first gigs. One gig was with Skeletron, the DJ. He’s one of my best friends and has helped me out so much in the music industry. I made a song with him called Go Hard and he wanted me to perform it. It was an amazing show and after that show all of the promoters were talking about me and that’s when the bookings started coming in and then Showbar called me. Now, the Showbar show was the first show I was booked for; the first show that I was called for.
TG: What do you enjoy more? Making a song or a diss-track?
Tsumyoki: I think I enjoy making a song that like tends to my emotions rather than a diss-track. A diss-track is more entertaining for the people who are listening to it because it’s like people love drama.
TG: Who’s your favourite rapper/artist?
Tsumyoki: My favourite rapper is XXXTentacion who unfortunately passed away last year in June.
TG: Do you like mumble rap?
Tsumyoki: It depends. People look at mumble rap in a very wrong way but at the end of the day it’s just an art. Personally, if it sounds good I like mumble rap. Lil Uzi Vert, he’s a mumble rapper, sort of, I like his music because of the melodies that he thinks of. Okay, it’s not necessarily the lyrics.
TG: And what about old school rap?
Tsumyoki: Old school rap is amazing. Wu tang clan and all, those people were the influencers, they created everything. If there wasn’t Wu Tang there wouldn’t be XXXTentacion, if there wasn’t N.W.A there wouldn’t be Drake so those guys were bomb, everything you need is in old school.
TG: What are the challenges in the music scene in Goa when it comes to trap music?
Tsumyoki: In Goa, the challenges are not much because there’s not a lot of competition in the rap industry here. But it is still not easy to get shows. The Goan rap scene needs to develop.
TG: Are you working on any new project?
Tsumyoki: Yeah. I’m working on a surprise project with ZB memes, I have two songs coming up with Kidd Mange, he’s another rapper. And I have one last music video which is about to come, it’s called ‘Save Me’.