Entertainment

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REDEYE

Trinity Home, 17, of Calumet City, is about to start her senior year of high school. She’s also, as rapper/singer Tink, becoming one of the Chicago area’s most talked-about new musical artists.

Her March mixtape, “Winter’s Diary,” was mostly silky, confessional R&B, and its sound was striking and mature—particularly for a debut release. It also featured a few show-stopping rap verses, which serve as a primer for Tink’s more rap-oriented second mixtape, “Alter Ego,” which dropped today.

Tink visited to talk about her musical beginnings, her high school and splitting her time between rapping and singing.

Q: How old were you when you started singing?
A: I started singing when I was like, a baby, like five, in the church. I started singing in church. And then my freshman year in high school I picked up on rapping by, like, accident, almost. And I kept working at it.

What do you mean, “By accident?” What was the accident that made you stumble into rapping?
Not really an accident, but actually I was playing. I was in the room with my brother, and he put on an instrumental. It was a Clipse beat, and I started saying words that rhymed. We recorded it, he put it on Facebook and everybody was like, “She’s good, keep doing that.” So I made some more, just kept dropping them on Facebook, and I kind of got into it for real, seriously.

What do kids in school think of your music?
They love it. My friends and classmates and stuff, they’re very supportive. They always tell me what they think. It’s always good feedback. They look out for me.

Do you stand around at lunch and rap with people?
Honestly, we did, used to do that, like in the hallways between classes and stuff. Everybody would huddle around, and I’d just like spit a verse that I wrote the night before, and they’d be like, “Aw, she’s so raw” and “Say another one the next period.”

In that environment, do you think the fact that you’re a female rapper plays into peoples’ expectations or the way they approach your music at all?
Not really. They know how I sound, so they always expect just to hear some dope bars.

What are your favorite subjects in school?
English. I love to write. It kind of helps me out with the rapping and singing and whatnot. And math.

Do you make all your music at home?
I actually do. I have a studio in my basement. I sit there—I grab my brother, tell him to engineer, tell Dad to mix it down for me.

So the whole family gets involved.
Yeah, everyone pitches in, which is dope.

Is anyone else in the family musical?
My mother actually sings, and my dad plays the guitar and piano. And my brother used to play the drums. So everybody’s kind of got that music in them.

Where did the name Tink come from?
Tink is actually my nickname, my childhood nickname. All my friends call me Tink. Everybody that knows me calls me Tink, so I didn’t want to change it up. I just was like, let’s stick with Tink. It sounds different. It pops.

Who are some of your musical influences?
Definitely TLC. I love that entire group ’cause they’re just dope, and they had a different style back in the day. It was so unique about everything that they did. Alicia Keys: I love her, definitely. A lot of artists. Da Brat: I thought she was dope—still is. I listen to everybody. I look up to a lot of people for different reasons: music, looks, everything.

Who are some of your style influences?
Teyana Taylor, right now. She’s dope, all the way. I like her style. Rihanna, of course. She sets trends.

Being both a singer and a rapper, are there expectations that you go more one way than the other? Especially as a girl, do people expect you to be more of a singer than a rapper?
Definitely. I get that a lot, but that’s why I just try to switch it up a lot. They never really know what they’re going to get. I might drop a song one day singing, and it might be really soft and nice. And then drop a rap song, and it might be a lot of energy and real fun. I try to mix it up so it doesn’t get [to be] too much of one thing and not the other.

Your R&B tape is more emotional. Are there some stories behind that?
“Winter’s Diary” was full of real life events. That’s why it’s called “Winter’s Diary:” because it’s everything that happened between November, December, October, all those months. “Winter’s Diary” is, like, literal.

You have this song about Bonnie and Clyde. Do you have an interest in movies? Is that where that comes from?
Honestly, I’ve never even seen that movie. I just know the whole story with Bonnie and Clyde. They were down for each other no matter what, making moves and breaking the law and stuff, right?

Have you found the Clyde to your Bonnie?
No, unfortunately.

It’s OK. You’re young.
I know, right? I’m 17, hey.

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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free each Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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