Chicago-born songstress and rapper Tink made a name for herself as a teenager in the early 2010s when she released her debut mixtape ‘Winter’s Diary’. Since then, she has become one of the most versatile R&B rappers in the US, dropping projects at a prolific rate and amassing a huge following.
In 2014, Tink signed a deal with Timbaland’s Mosley Music Group. The deal didn’t work out leaving a completed album, ‘Think Tink’, unreleased. Following a long negotiation process, Tink went independent in 2018 and has continued to flourish ever since, with charting titles such as ‘Pain & Pleasure’, ‘Hopeless Romantic’ and ‘Heat of the Moment’.
At the end of 2022, she released her best selling album ‘Pillow Talk’, a soft, soulful R&B project with features from G Herbo, Toosii and 2 Chainz. VIPER caught up with Tink before the release of her new album, ‘Thanks 4 Nothing’ which she describes as the “raw Tink,” an aggressive alter ego to ‘Pillow Talk’, which takes her back to her Chicago roots.
What have you been up to ahead of the release of your new album?
It’s been a hectic week but I’m loving staying busy, it’s been great. I started off the week in Atlanta, I had a car smashing event and I got to meet a lot of fans, they came out and we tore up a truck in honour of my new album ‘Thanks 4 Nothing’, which was so cool.
Can you tell me a bit about how you started out in music and your career up until this point?
I started doing music when I was very young. I’m from Chicago and I really caught a buzz in 2012. I was dropping mixtapes like ‘Winter’s Diary’ and I released a record called ‘Treat Me Like Somebody’ and that really just gave me a big push in the music world. From there, I met Timbaland and I was signed with Timbaland and Epic in 2015. During that time, I had a record called ‘Don’t Tell Nobody’ and a record called ‘Million’, I had a lot of great songs that were out and I was able to gain a lot of fans but we never dropped our album and because of that I went independent. I took some time to myself to really get back in my bag and find myself again and that led me to link with the distribution company Empire in 2018. I started releasing my own music again and throughout that process I was kind of warming back up. Since 2018, I‘ve just been able to flourish; I’ve released so many projects, ‘Hopeless Romantic’, ‘Pillow Talk’, there’ve been a lot of albums that I’ve been releasing on my own, that have really given me a great push. I’ve been making music with Hitmaka who’s also on Empire. Everything has been really great, now that I’m independent and the energy is so positive.
What was the reaction like to your last album ‘Pillow Talk’?
The reaction was really great, it was my highest selling album which means a lot to me. I had some great records, ‘Cater’, which features 2 Chainz, was top 20 on the radio and the album is really really solid. ‘Pillow Talk’ is one of my favourites, it just shows another side of me. It was a real seductive, sultry album and my fans got to just see that part of me, which was different; really cool.
Your music is very versatile with both R&B and Rap influences, what can listeners expect from your new album?
My new album ‘Thanks 4 Nothing’ is an aggressive album, I am singing on it but there’s also some Rap and they can just expect the raw Tink. This is the album where I’m back in my Chicago mentality and I’m able to express that harder side of myself, so it’s gonna be an album where we get a lot of stress off and it’s definitely aggressive. It’s a fresh side of me, I’m going back to my roots and really just making a body of work for my girls, my single ladies, anybody that’s going through a break up.
What experiences have influenced your new album?
For me, I got a lot of inspiration when I came off of ‘Pillow Talk’, which was such a soft album. I felt like I just wanted to flip the switch and give my fans the alter ego to that. I would write a lot of records when I was angry or frustrated and that really inspired me because I know that my fans were missing that harder side of myself. I wanted to make an album for women who were going through breakups or anyone that was single on Valentine’s. I was thinking about the fans or anyone that was going to have a tough time in February, when it’s the month of love, so that was the inspiration to be honest. It was just flipping the switch and giving them something different from the last project.
What is your favourite song on the album and why?
My favourite song is ‘Fake Love’, track two. That song really just hits home for me, because it’s explaining how this world is just so cruel and fake and I don’t mind being alone. It motivates me and inspires me to be able to stand on my own two feet. I want women to know that whatever you’re going through, if you’re single, in love, whatever the situation, just know that you’re enough as you are. I wanted people to understand that we don’t need to have a partner to feel good about ourselves and there’s so much beauty in being independent. ‘Fake Love’ just gives me that motivation, I play it every morning.
You mentioned that this album is very different from your last, what has the creative process been like for you? The creative process was pretty fun for this album because working with Hitmaka, we get a lot of songs done very fast and I’m able to work with a lot of great creatives. We recorded a lot of the album in Miami, so there would always be somebody new popping up at the studio or someone coming to lay down the piano keys and the guitars. Everyday there was just something fresh and new to do, so I enjoyed it a lot. I wrote a few of the songs back home in Chicago, it’s a different feeling when I’m in the streets of Chicago. A few of my records I made at my old studio where I first started, so that was pretty cool. We like to be as real as possible during the creative process, so as soon as I’m feeling emotion, I write it down or I try to go and record it and that just makes the album feel authentic, you can really hear the pain or the frustration in me.
What can you tell me about the features on the album and how they came about?
There are two features on this album, one of the records is called ‘Let Down My Guard’ which features Ty Dolla $ign. I was really excited to work with Ty Dolla $ign because I’ve been listening to him since forever and I love his vocals and the way he works. He’s a really, really talented singer, so to have a song with him, it meant a lot to me. There’s another record with Yung Bleu and we have the same distribution company so it was really fun, a lot of our partners were excited for us to work together. That song is actually going to radio soon and it’s called ‘Stingy’, so I’m excited for that too. Bleu is another great talented artist and working with him is really cool and fun because we’re around the same age and we came up together, so we always connect and have a good time.
This is an extract from the SS23 issue of Viper Magazine. Buy physical and digital copies here.
Photography: VICTORIA SANDERS
Words: LAUREN JOY
Production: EVIE THOMPSON
Styling: CONGRUENT SPACE
Make-up: JERLICIA HOBSON
Hair: LA’SHAWN SCOTT