One one hand Tommy Cash is pretty niche. When the Estonian rapper dropped his video for “Pussy Money Weed” he was pigeon-holed as ‘white’, ‘Estonian’ and ‘bizarre’. There was something in media coverage that echoed early reactions to Tyler the Creator. For the main part American critics met Tommy Cash for the first time with that video. They knew they were being kinda fucked with. There was something caustic being spread about – imagery, lyrics, and subject matters were divisive, but there was something of substance lurking beneath the surface. But how should he be approached?
On the other hand Tommy Cash does something that hits hard with big numbers of the listening audience. “Pussy Money Weed” racked up over two million YouTube hits (so far) and it opened a wormhole into a wealth of previous videos of increasing oddness. This ‘new’ artist came with the added bonus of not being at all new. He had simply been working away, untapped by the mainstream.
Tommy Cash will never be mainstream. Unlike Tyler the Creator, who we just name-checked, there’s no sense of a desire to be popular. There’s no rebrand coming. Despite his apparent disinterest in mass appeal the vision here is not small, and the scale of the artist’s videos shows a man that doesn’t understand any restrictions of budget, taste, or the sensitivities of others. Actually, scratch some of that. Tommy Cash fully registers the sensitivities of others, he simply fucks with them. Way back in 2015, with the release of “Leave Me Alone” there was a video that was equal parts beautiful and disturbing. “Pussy Money Weed” mocked the preoccupation of the masses, and brought them to amputees, who danced – everyone became ‘the masses’ and Tommy Cash placed your judgement of ‘oddness’ under scrutiny. Even the super-shiny video for “Propasuperstar” toyed with the expectations and fantasies of the rap mainstream and cultural cannibalism.
Anyway, what are we talking about? Today Tommy Cash dropped a new video – it’s called “Little Molly” and it brings out a range of colors that we’d expect from Tommy Cash, but from no one else. Are we talking about drugs? Are we talking about twerking? Yes, but this isn’t normal. The keyboard phrasing is pleasantly spooky, a little off. Tommy Cash’s head on the body of the full cast of dancers, family portraits, and newly-weds is utterly perfect.
Anna-Lisa Himma shares the director’s credit with Tommy Cash, she was the lady behind the art direction of “Pussy Money Weed” so there’s no surprise that the muted pastels take on a weird vibrancy. As always there’s a kind of brightness and humor in the bleaker vision. This is definitely a world worth entering. Just don’t attempt that mustache at home.
HURRY – LISTEN – TOMMY CASH