by Ava Howard
5 min
Tommy Cash ©

Meet the musician, artist and designer who is right on the money – this is Tommy Cash.

It is the early 2000s – on the outskirts of Tallin, the capital of Estonia. Here, a young Tommy Cash began developing a particular worldview. One that would soon feed, fulfill and fascinate many aspects of creativity.

Cash has described his formative years in Tallin: telling Schon magazine how he found that, “there were no sneaker shops, no luxury stores and no street culture per se.” Asking himself “why don’t we have Bape here or why don’t people know about this or that?” But this was not necessarily a negative observation or setback for Cash. The making of music was not always his end goal, and in his late teens, he was unsure where his creative evolution would take him. He did however set out to create a legacy, one where, “you can be different in this day and age. I want the next generation of Estonian and Slavic rappers to know you don’t have to chase the hype.”

It wasn’t until his twenties that the artist realized how much music production could bring him happiness, and so it was decided – Tommy Cash was born. The release of his song ‘Winalotto’ in 2016 kickstarted Cash’s recognition on a much larger scale. That same year Tommy Cash would perform the track on ‘A Colors Show’, with the video gaining over 15 million views. Having found acclaim, and the need for the ‘viewer discretion advised’ message, the surreally uninhibited artist began his, what can only be described as, standard redefining career.

The initial interest and recognition of Cash’s work cannot be credited solely to his unique and enterprising manipulation of catchy beats and quick-witted bars. The artist’s disturbingly outstanding orchestration of his music videos’ visuals also fuelled his fame. A passion, and an instinct for innovative execution perhaps first catalyzed in a young Tommy’s job “collecting popcorn from the ground” of the cinema in which he worked. The artist’s videos have been compared to that of Aphex Twin, yet all the more unnerving, with Cash responding to this by stating: “imperfection is perfect and we should embrace it.” His work speaks to the glorifying of all things weird, unnatural and unexpected – words which can certainly be used to describe the the artist himself.

Shivers and shockwaves continued to disrupt the worlds of both fashion and music after Cash’s 2018 release of his album YES – in which he collaborated with hyper pop powerhouses Caroline Polacheck and Charli XCX. So how does this Estonian artistic entrepreneur hack the fame? Speaking with HighSnobiety on being a global star Cash has recounted: “I was born for this. I’ve been training for this. I’m ready.”

When it comes to his own music taste, Cash has an appreciation and enjoyment of a wide range of genres. The artist has admitted an admiration for more mainstream music, acknowledging Drake as a talent. Cash also enjoys Euro-trance and psychedelic rock – genres certainly identifiable within his own music.

What is his approach when listening to music? Cash says: “I’m an admirer and never a hater. I see something good in every artist.” A good sentiment to adopt as we go forward.

So, what does it all come down to? What has the culture disturber set out to influence and challenge? Cash considers himself “(an) anti-icon.” With his intention to push his artistry to “change stereotypes and shine upon different side of the spectrum on how a rapper (should) be” His name a playful nod to the indulgent, expensive and ostentatious blingy lifestyles led and broadcasted by many other rappers.

The Estonian artist’s career and bold and unique style has widely inspired creative expression. Cash has worked in collaboration with the likes of Maison Margiela and Rick Owens to bring the world some fantastically audacious artworks and designs. A relationship worthy of its acclaim, Rick Owens has found himself becoming Cash’s creative confidant, coming together with the singer to produce “The Pure and The Damned” – a series of risqué paintings exhibited in Tallinn which have now been reimagined into a collection of NFTs. Cash was also spotted at the Rick Owens SS/23 show sporting what can only be described as an impractical rucksack. It was a human rucksack. Cash eerily arrived with a girl positioned on his back as to allow her legs and arms to become the straps on the ensemble, begging the question: where is he keeping his wallet?

This was not the first, or assumably the last, time the rapper has sparked interest during fashion weeks. At the Loewe show this season, Cash was wearing an off-the-shoulder, deep v-cut, ecru onesie. During the show’s happening, the artist was seen knitting with the same wool he wore, taking to Instagram to reveal that he was “Knitting tha thong” to accompany the look. Iconic.

So, what do we have to look forward to? Cash has revealed that he has “a lot of great design projects with some very cool brands coming up.” With a focus on the production of physical things, Cash is going to conduct many artistic pursuits in the future. And in a return to his creative roots, the rapper is also “really looking forward to starting (his) musical journey again”.

The artist set out to make an impression. He did, and the smart money suggests that he will long continue to do so.

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