Tommy Genesis: "I feel successful because people care about what I do"

Rihanna puts questions to the Canadian alt hip-hop up-and-comer.

by i-D Staff
20 January 2020, 6:00am

This story originally appeared in i-D's 'Rihannazine' Special Edition, no. 01, 2020. Order your copy here. For this one-off project, Rihanna put a series of questions to the women shaping culture today, and invited them to share their visions for 2020.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do?
Hi, I'm Tommy Genesis. I'm a rapper, an artist and a singer.

What do you think your biggest personal or professional success has been?
I think my biggest success is that when I was starting out I did it all myself, and now people actually give a shit about what I do. I feel successful because people actually care about what I do.

Do you think professional and personal success are related?
I think they can be. My professional life helps me fund my personal life, but it's all mixed together. But as an artist I’m creating shit all the time, and making being creative into an actual lucrative career. If you do something, you want to be able to live off it. That's my idea of success: being able to do this every day.

tommy genesis

What is your biggest failure? How did you move past it?
My biggest failures come when I’m tired. When I’m jetlagged, I’m at the edge of myself and I snap. I’ve been realising that I need to have compassion. I was in situations when I was younger when I failed in the way I treated people, treated friends – that wasn’t right. I’m trying to make myself a better person.

In 2020, what are you bringing with you into the new year? What are you leaving behind?
I know it's a massive cliché, but I'm bringing everything with me apart from the negative shit. I’m only keeping the good stuff. I'm bringing all the art and music I'm yet to create. I'm looking forward to it! I want to make a conscious decision about what to keep in my life. I don't want to just accept things the way they are anymore.

What would you ask Rihanna, if you could ask her one question?
I'd love to know about her favourite childhood memory; who's there, what's going on, what's the feeling, the colours, what is it? I'd love to know about it.

tommy genesis
Tommy wears bikini top Anemone. Corset Dion Lee. Trousers Ambush.


Photography Mario Sorrenti
Styling Carlos Nazario

Hair AKKI at Art Partner using Oribe.
Make-up Kanako Takase at Streeters.
Nail technician Honey at Exposure NY using Tom Ford Beauty.
Set design Jack Flanagan at The Wall Group.
Lighting technician Lars Beaulieu.
Photography assistance Kotaro Kawashima, Javier Villegas and Jared Zegha.
Digital technician Johnny Vicari.
Styling assistance Raymond Gee, Erica Boisaubin and Christine Nicholson.
Tailor Thao Huynh.
Hair assistance Rei Kawauchi, Takao Hayashi and Motome Yamashita.
Make-up assistance Aimi Osada & Megumi Onishi.
Set design assistance Akaylah Reed and Joe Arai.
Production Katie Fash.
Production coordinator Layla Némejanski.
Production assistance Fujio Emura.
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Cicek Brown for DMCASTING.

Tommy Genesis
Mario Sorrenti