Tommy Genesis' "peppermint" is a perfect pop song. The alliteration of the word makes it fun to repeat ("pep-per-mint"). The production, equal parts sparse and sexy, is an ideal soundtrack for slipping into wild nights, post-lockdown. And the tone of the track reflects the candy itself — cool like mint, but sweet enough to spark any addiction.
"I'ma lick it, really juicy when you ooze/ I need a peppermint," she purrs on the cut, calling back to minimal, early aughts hip-hop hits like Cassie's "Me & U" or Kelis' "Bossy." Less is more, only if the hook is powerful enough to stand on its own — and Genesis has proven that she's the master.
As the self-declared "fetish rapper's" first release in two years (following 2018's self-titled debut), "peppermint" is a strong return. And today, Genesis is back with yet another slick single alongside the announcement of her next album, goldilocks x, out later this year.
"a woman is a god" sees Genesis joining forces with the same team behind "peppermint," Lil Rich and The Martinez Brothers. "If a man is a man, then a woman is a God," she declares above a dark, sinister house beat the loops with relentless conviction — yet another flawless hook from the Canadian artist.
"goldilocks is that feeling when things feel 'just right,'" Genesis says of her fairytale-inspired album. "Like you're entering a space that makes sense. You just can't put your finger on why, but it just does. You don't know why you like it, but you do. The x is the unknown factor, the experimental element, the punk."
Below, PAPER talks to Tommy Genesis about what's coming next and all things "a woman is a god," which she wrote in 15 minutes.
The hook of "a woman is a god" is both accurate and powerful. Talk about how and when that line came to be in-studio.
"a woman is a god" really came to me from another world. I was sitting in the studio with my friend and executive producer, [artist] Lil Rich, and we were listening to this house loop The Martinez Brothers had sent me in a folder of beats. Then I started writing to it to see what would happen and it all came pouring in. I wrote and recorded the song in 15 minutes. It dropped in from another world like I was channeling it and I recorded it as fast as I could. The line felt natural: what are women compared to men? Gods. I also hadn't heard it said in that exact way before, so it felt like something familiar but fresh.
What women in your life do you look up to and consider God-like? How have they impacted you?
I'm a girl's girl. I really believe that every woman has the power to adapt, create and be the most powerful being in the room. I have so many women I look up to. But it's not that someone else is a God to me, it's that all of us are Gods within, with the power to create our own worlds — whatever that looks like.
"I really believe that every woman has the power to adapt, create and be the most powerful being in the room."
You've described your forthcoming album as "fetish rap." How do you define that label and in what ways does it play out on the project?
The project is definitely my own personal fetish. I think I leaned into the role a bit more, not that I shy'd away from it before, but I come outright and say it now. I think my music can be niche, but at the same time meant for anyone who's a little bit freaky. Just a bit — that's all you need really to get into it. I've never had rules for myself, so with this project I didn't set any boundaries. It came out exactly as it was meant to. I think my existence as a rapper defines fetish rap.
In what ways do you see the sounds and themes of goldilocks x as a development of your previous music?
I think I definitely grew as an artist with this project. The last album I didn't even know what to name it, so when it came down to it I had to [make it ] self-titled. That wasn't really a creative choice, even though I turned it into one. With this project, it's its own personality. goldilocks x. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. The x is the experimental element. I'm sort of obsessed with the goldilocks concept — when something sits in that sweet spot and you know it's the perfect version of itself. At the right time, at the right place. And I love the story-time fantasy elements, as well. I love being goldilocks.
Your single, "peppermint," has an absolutely addictive hook — just like candy. When do you know you've landed on something really memorable? Do these one-liners come easily to you?
For "peppermint," I personally had fun with it. It came to me right away, I think it was almost a one-take song. It's sort of so dirty when you really think about the meaning of it, but it comes across cute, like candy. I really like things that can hold a heavy meaning, while on the flip side it's light. To me, the duality is attractive. I'm always looking for that subversive thing that isn't so obvious right away. Or if it is, it's meant to be.
What does your music allow you to express about yourself that you can't in your everyday life?
Honestly, each song is a different mood I'm in. [goldilocks x tracks] "men" versus "hurricane" is such a different vibe, but it's all a part of me. I just sit down, write and record. Usually, I make everything in the studio and whatever I'm feeling that day just comes out. Then I decide if it's album-worthy. I always express myself, whether it's making art or making music or communicating who I am, how I feel and where I'm at. I like to be in-sync with my feelings, whatever I'm doing.
Who're some of your main collaborators on goldilocks x and what was the working relationship like between you this past year?
I'd say my executive producer Lil Rich, who's an artist/ producer in his own right, is my main collaborator. We're in the studio together all day and we just bounce energies off each other. I couldn't have done it without him. I like to be in the studio alone, otherwise sometimes I bring my dog, Rumi. But it's really just about getting comfortable enough to be vulnerable to pull from within. When COVID hit the world, I took some time off from recording, but then I jumped back in with some fresh energy and the end of 2020. Beginning of 2021 is when I really finished the project.
What're you most excited about, now that the world is beginning to reopen?
My album to drop. Touring. Seeing my fans. Human interaction, really. And the collective sense of fear lifting, so we can all get back to love and life.
Photos courtesy of Andi Elloway
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