Canadian rapper/producer Tasha The Amazon isn't your standard artist. Her video for single "Scallywags" received a respectable buzz, but my guess is that you haven't really seen Tasha The Amazon at her full potential until you've seen her live on stage. I haven't had the pleasure as of yet, but her reputation does precede her.
As she gets set to drop her debut mixtape FiDiYootDem, Tasha The Amazon takes time out from her home studio, where she lives, eats, and breathes, to give us a little insight into her anarchistic movement and the roots of it all.
Earmilk: Why are you The Amazon?
Tasha The Amazon: The Amazon is just like a warrior name to me. A warrior title. Like a rugged place, you know? Kill or be killed. Like, eat or be eaten so, it seemed right to me. It's just got so much energy. Raw, rough around the edges.
EM: Would you say you were a rebellious spirit?
TTA: Yeah. *Laughs*
EM: Noisey premiered your newest video. You've received quite a good buzz for a relatively new career. How'd you do it?
TTA: Um. Toronto is kind of a hotbed for stuff right now and it's a smaller community of people. We all know each other. All the DJ's know each other. Fashion lovers know each other. Like, all the artists know each other, so if you're really onto something, a buzz builds pretty quickly and nobody in Toronto stays put. So people are going back and forth to New York or back and forth to L.A, Miami, everywhere. So it's not really a stretch for something to just kinda happen, you know? We kind of hit the ground running. I'm really excited to have a mixtape coming out. A lot of people are talking about it. If you've got something good, people are gonna talk.
EM: You are a Jamaican German Canadian.
TTA: *Laughs* Yeah. We already connected on that.
EM: Were you born in Jamaica then moved to Canada? Are your parents Jamaican? Where did you get started?
TTA: My dad is Jamaican but also lived in the UK for a long time too and my mom is German and they met here [Canada]. So I'm actually born and raised in Toronto.
EM: Have you ever made the journey home to Jamaica?
TTA: Hell yeah. Like, I don't remember. I'll save up all my money and go next year. Some of my friends are running off to get married down there so I'm like, "I'm coming! Take me home". [Laughs]
EM: Which artists did you grow up listening to?
TTA: Um. A huge, huge variety. I think part of the reason why my music can be rugged and raw and still pump the party is because I'm kinda drawing from all of the stuff. I listen to a lot of OutKast. Everything from Dr. Dre to TLC and stuff like that. But I also listen to a lot of obscure punk music and like some hardcore shit. Obviously I've been listening to more and more hip hop than then but when you kinda put that all into perspective, the sound that comes out of that is kind of like, crazy. [Laughs]
EM: How did you get into producing tracks yourself?
TTA: Um. I really wanted to work on rapping, singing, writing… stuff like that. I wanted to kind of get together with other people to do it and realised that just being a person on the mic is really limiting sometimes. You're basically holding out for someone to give you a beat that sounds good. I'm that person who always has a vision. I play a lot of instruments and so, if I can't communicate my visions to a producer, I'm not gonna get what I want. So I learned pretty quickly that if there's something I want to do I've got to be up day and night until I can do it right so.
EM: Are there any producers out there right know who you admire?
TTA: Um. Yeah. There's a lot actually. I mean. Clams Casino's been big on my list over the last couple of years. I've been listening to his beat tape. Ryan Hemsworth. He does more electro stuff but when he does grimy shit, it's pretty grimy. Obviously there's the big names, but I like to cruise Soundcloud and see what I can find. Like, weird little producers from like Russia whose name I'll never hear again. You know? You just find like minds who are doing their thing in the studio.
EM: Who do you listen to when you are not making your own music?
TTA: Um. That's kind of all that I ever do. [Laughs] I just like to vibe out with people but all the people I vibe out with are artists and musicians and designers and stuff like that, so it always ends up being a conversation about art or ideas or something like that. Basically, I wake up and work on music until I can't anymore and then I sleep.
EM: Tell us about the upcoming mixtape
TTA: The upcoming mixtape is called FiDiYootDem. I'm thinking it's gonna be like nine tracks and it's kinda like between "Scallywags", "Tru Life" my next single. There's a good balance of party feel. The way that I do party feel is not go in the club and buy ten million bottles, its go someplace and start shit. Like, be a shit stirrer. The other side of that is a little more pensive but not pensive in like a conscious hip hop kind of way, it's more like, what rules are meant to be broken. What rules don't serve you and can you be a little more anarchistic about it.
EM: You're tryna get people in trouble!
TTA: Yeah. I think trouble's a good thing. I like to ask questions that people don't wanna ask and do the things that people are afraid to do. I think you only live one time and I'm not gonna sit here with my hands in my pocket.
EM: Have you handled production on all of the tracks?
TTA: Yeah. I have a production partner. Danthrax and we call ourselves Bass & Bakery and we just basically toss back and forth. So either I'll start an idea and then I'll pull him in and we'll vibe out or vice versa. It's kind of just nice to have another person to bounce ideas off of 'cause as a producer you kind of specialize in stuff. So one week you're really, really into synths and then the other week you're really, really into drums and then the other person can pick up where you're focus isn't at the moment. So it's nice to bounce back and forth but I've basically self produced
EM: Why are people going to love your music?
TTA: I think when people meet me and we hang out, I'm a really genuine person and like you said before, I'm tryna get people in trouble but in all the right kind of ways. It's fun. I think people love the music 'cause I shine through on that. My personality is real and sincere and fun. I'm the kind of person you can just sit down and vibe with and that comes through in the music and I think a lot of people have fun with that.
Interview by Ayara Pommells
Ayara has written for Noisey.com, StupidDope.com, SOHH.com, Soultrain, Earmilk.com, and her own UK blog Rawroots.com.