Tommy puts a magnifying glass onto the archetypical tropes of hip hop, like the objectification of women, in his videos and lyrics. He admits that when he chose his name it was to make fun of the genre. He loves “to play with stereotypes and twist it up”.
“From the beginning, Young Thug has been kind of like a role model, is he gay or not? But I’m already tired of that part too and when I see the super masculine hip hop guy I’m very like, ‘Yeah man, yes it’s so fresh’. For a normal person this anti-masculinity is like, ‘Woah, that’s fresh in hip hop’ but for me I’m already tired of it, you know? For me it’s come full circle like, where’s the next 50 Cent [laughs]?
“It’s like Instagram. Everything moves so fast. Because of the internet we’re in this very fast era so I feel kind of the same, it’s like an Insta- gram feed in my head saying, ‘Ok what’s next?’.”
Two of Tommy’s most-viewed videos are ‘Winaloto’ and ‘Surf’, both of which were self-directed with creative partner Anna-Lisa Himma and both further established Tommy as the rule-breaker he’s come to be known as.
Putting the music aside, he takes art direction seriously and immerses himself totally in the concepts he devises. ‘Surf’ is a particularly good example.
A condom being pulled over a skyscraper, a woman fellating a rocket and a nuclear power plant being digitally penetrated might all be explained by the fact Tommy abstained from sex for an extended period of time before creating the visuals.
“The shot where I put the condom on the building… It was meant to be Big Ben at first, but when I went back home I decided against it. The whole video was shot back home.”