JENNASKE COVERS LOOT & RIOT MAGAZINE
Ink Tone Swep
Images Peter Martinez
CD + MUA Samara Powder
Hair Tatyana B.
Looks Deja Alexis
Set Asst Jessica Quezada
Location Urban Myth Studios, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Describe your early childhood growing up in Queens. I grew up in Cambria Heights. Attended private schools. I was a little small one, a weird child, a tomboy, and always somewhat of a loaner. Bullying didn’t seem like bullying to me, because I was so different from everyone else I can see why they would try me. Didn’t ever work, but uh.. (Laughs!).
So you were raised in an upper middle class community. That’s near Queens Village correct? It is, yea. I attended an all girls Catholic school. Played one year of basketball. I was the shorty out there crossin’ over crazy jackin’ up wild threes from way in the hell out there behind the 3-point-line (Laughs!). I ran track for three years. I always had one friend who could really get me, who understood me and was my very best friend. I didn’t run with a bunch of different girls, wasn’t in those crews or cliques with a whole lotta different b!tches. Actually, I got along better with boys. Those were the homies, but we know what they be up to (Laughs!). Plus my mom was very strict. Too strict.
Elaborate on that. Your mother’s strict approach to parenting. My mother was so strict oh, my, God (Screams!). But now that I am older I understand her better, and I understand why. My dad left us when I was young. She really had to work extremely hard to provide for us and pay the bills. And I think having those two things happen hardens a woman. Would toughen any human being.
So the dancing endeavors you wanted to pursue were a no-go. Moms wanted you in school. I wanted to dance. Soooo badly, I wanted to dance. I was always in our backyard doing every dance that was out and putting my unique stamp on it. But because my mom didn’t want me in, like, actual dance classes, I never had choreography. I was only permitted to join things that were in school, so for me that meant sports.
You seem very competitive, and not in a way where you are hating on anyone else or not wanting others to win, but you just seem driven. Where does that derive from? I was always trying to prove people wrong. I still am. When I was dancing for Desiigner we were in the strip clubs every night performing. I was in the 12th grade. All these grown ass men and bitter ass broads all up in there nah-mean (Laughs!). But I was never influenced. You would think a young girl would be vulnerable in that environment, and I’m sure in some ways I was, but I was never taken advantage of. Kids are going to lash out against their parents no matter where you raise them or how you raise them. But I never smoked weed, and still haven’t. Never got tatted. It’s just certain things I keep for myself no matter what the trend is.
Queens has this blend of creative and crime cultures. Describe what you were surrounded by and how it influenced your music and the skits you write. Queens is just like that, and the lines blur a lot so you have to watch it, be careful how you move and who you move with. Education is also very important in Queens. There are several small, to mid sized, to major colleges. Lots of places to learn, but where a lot of those schools are is right in the hood. Or, maybe a few blocks away from where the shit goes down at. I was going to Catholic school but would go out and experience everything in the streets. It made me both street smart and book smart. Queens is dangerous. Drug dealers, killers, gang bangers, the police also are most likely not your friend. But I feel like a lot of those same people really looked out for me when I was 17, 18, getting home at five in the morning.They never let anything happen to me.
You were raised in a Haitian household. Was it a Haitian Creole or French speaking home? The first language I spoke was French, so English was a second language we used more and more as my sisters and I got older. My mom was born in the Congo though she is Haitian. That made her even more strict, Tone oh my God! (Screams! Laughs!). Socializing after school? Forbidden. No way. Homework, studying was like our first priority. And like I said earlier, I went to a Catholic school so it’s not that the work was extra hard, there was just a lot of it. In every subject. My teens were a lot of work.
Hard work generally pays off. What dividends have you reaped? Taught me how to morally adjust myself based on the people and the situation at hand. My upbringing also encouraged me to be well spoken, to articulate myself, to be self-reliant. In so many cases I am able to maneuver better than others. I applaud her. I owe her a lot. I have my mom to thank. I love her.
A sexy female who thinks like a dude, oh shit. I just feel like because my mom was not as nurturing I’m harder on people, and especially men, and even more specifically Mama’s boys. I like to have fun, and I have a bubbly personality. I go in and say all the shit these niggas say about us females. Sitting on n!66as faces, eat my ass. I rap about robbing people, about jealousy, about money. Females who take that victim route be corny to me. I like putting people in their place, especially dudes. You don’t always need to act your emotions out through sex with men. Too many women don’t realize that. I act my emotions and feelings out in different ways through my music. Some of it I also express with the acting I do in my skits, or by dancing to get the energy out. I haven’t formed a relationship with a man who deserves that part of me. I can’t give myself to a man 100 percent. I just can’t.
“I ain’t naked for Likes. U still riding with me?”. This Is arguably the most impactful young feminist caption by a new female artist all year. What were you saying? That was a test, like a trial and error thing. I wanted to know if that conservative tomboy picture would get the same love as my racier or sexier posts. And you know what, it got even more. If I’m not posing with my ass out or twerking with the cheeks clapping… If I’m not doing that will you still love me? I can be provocative if and when I want to, but I feel like people also need to watch my other looks, moves, and listen to what I’m saying. I need to know if people are really fucking with me or not.
You are low key conscious. I feel like versatility is the key to being successful; tap into different parts of people and myself at the same time. Music is art. Paint a picture with it, let one color run into the next before they dry. Let three different colors mix and become a whole ‘nother color none of them ever thought they could be. I have a fun side, goofy side, sexy side, street side, smart side. I like to tell my own story and that story is still developing as we speak. I like to play with different flows, different cadences, challenge myself lyrically. I have so much to say, so many things on my mind. And I think what is very different with me and what separates me from most is how I value my time. I’m fine with patience. I’m a patient person. You can get so much work done on a second or third project while you are waiting for that first thing to jump off.
I like you most as an up and coming actress. Your skits are like Awkward Black Girl on some street shit. “You tryna touch my friends ass?” and the one where you check the dude for lying on his d!ck are the two I find myself going back to. Oh, and whenever you and Daniel are in a car arguing. Hilarious and real. I have only been acting for a year-and-a-half. All I need is a greenlight. My most popular skit is the Applebee’s one that went viral. It’s at over six million views on Worldstar. If I land a role in a drama where my character is intense but funny at the same time, my acting career will take off. Like something in Power. I would love to be on Power. I think I would add realism from a female point of view.
Several record labels are reaching out. Bag not big enough? I want the right situation. Indie is super hard. I don’t want to have my people, my team, continuing to sacrifice for too long. Its been a couple years and we’ve already made so much progress. I want to have a situation where everyone in my circle can feel comfortable.
Right, that’s smart. Because the price is only going to go up. The cost to invest, or basically to buy into your movement. The EP is done. SKE Volume One. I’m about to drop the Pull Up video. My whole entire project is finished. I’ve started on my second project already. More freestyles, more dancing, more music, and of course more skits are on the way. I know what everybody likes about me, what they want from me. It’s just about transitioning from the streets to the internet, which is what I already did (Laughs!). Now I gotta transition my sh!t from the internet back down to the streets. I’ll figure it out. Y’all keep fucking with me.