The weirdly fascinating Estonian stoner making rap-rave amazingness
In the past few years there’s been an escalating obsession with post-Soviet aesthetics. From Gosha Rubchinskiy’s band of ruffian skater boys and Demna Gvasalia’s dingy/pretty dernier cri to Russian shutterbug Egor Rogalev’s roughshod photorealism — it all has an aura of mystique, weirdness and ironic coolness. Enter Tomm¥ Ca$h, the weirdly fascinating Estonian stoner making rap-rave bliss. Combining post-Soviet vibes with surreal undercurrents, id incantations and atavistic everything, Tomm¥ hits you with insane aesthetic gall, ear-splitting electronica and no-nonsense sex rap. Hailing from the slumdog precincts of Tallinn, he is the ultimate synergy of hip hop grit, eastern bloc originality and DIY vim. When VIVISXN happened upon his work a few months back, we were hopelessly and habitually hooked. His freaky fashion, random rat-tails, oddball stache and psychotropic zest make for an excursion into a Freudian funhouse. This is post-CCCP pop on a whole new level, and we can’t get enough.
Where are you from?
How did you get into the music/art game?
I got into the music scene via dance. When I was about 15 I immersed myself in a hip-hop dance course with some chicks I know. I’d hang with b-boy bros everyday and practice freestyle dance til the wee hours. Sometimes I stayed all up night and missed school the next day or went in late. Dance and music were the catalysts for me.
When did you start rapping?
A little later I started to write-out lyrics, incorporating versus into my routines. It became my art form. I think lyrics and poetry are the pinnacles of artistic expression. I began to combine dance and rap into one form. It blossomed from there.
What are some of your key influences?
Painting is one. I love Salvador Dalí and surreal art. Hip-hop culture and streetwear have influenced me a ton, too. Writing graffiti and evading the cops are other memorable influences. I’m really into Takashi Murakami and Kaws — they are like modern-day Warhols. My guido stache is inspired by Dali, ya know. I’m also into Dave LaChapelle, Kanye, and a bunch of underground artists.
What’s the deal with your horse?
Well, most hip-hop artists tend to show off their cars and bling and shit like that. I got a horse. My horse is pricier than their cars anyway. They are pussies with their little Lamborghinis, etc. Fuck ‘em. My horse’s name is Respect.
Um, how did you get into the equestrian life?
It’s ironic, ya know. I’m a city boy. I grew up around Tallinn and my family never had a country house to hang at. I was stuck in the city; I was basically confined to my house — it was the furthest I could go. About a year ago I met this girl, she was working with me on Euroz, Dollaz, Yeniz, etc. Her name is Anna and she took me to hang with horses. I got hooked on riding. I feel like an Arabian prince and shit; it makes me feel like I can tame nature. It’s an epic feeling, almost like a spiritual or paranormal power. It’s dope.
What else are you into?
Puffing trees. I think Estonia will decriminalize weed one day soon. That’ll be great. If that happens, I’m gonna set up a Tomm¥ Ca$h Weed shop and kill it as an entrepreneur. No doubt customers would drive all the way from from Ufa and Moscow to get that shit. Mushrooms are cool, too.
You are really into fashion. Where did you get your sense of style?
Inside myself. I’m big into streetwear and sporty brands, especially Adidas and Gosha/Гоша Рубчинский.
What do you think about all the hype around ‘post-Soviet’ everything lately?
It’s just a fucking fad. The whole aesthetic is derived from Soviet heritage, which is trashy and poor. It’s a trend because a few artists and designers from the Eastern Bloc are breaking out now. That’s cool and all, but it’s basically meaningless as an aesthetic to aspire toward. My thing is to filter it, purify it, and see it in a different light — musically, artistically and fashion wise.
What are your future plans?
To work hard as fuck and make high quality music and visuals.