Marcy Chin looks at her career in stages.
At one point, her focus was to observe so she could learn and apply, and at another point, it was to become good at her craft.
“A lot of that took years too; what was I gonna do that was different?” Chin told The Gleaner.
Thanks to the rabbit hole of TikTok, a few wardrobe changes and her decision to ditch familiar sounds and embrace her own, she’s found the answer.
Over the past year, it has been impossible to experience the online space without seeing Chin’s face, hearing her voice or spotting her influence. Her viral Warn Dem freestyle about sexual crimes awoke those who thought she was just another artiste on Downsound Records’ roster, and her use of TikTok as a marketing tool for her new sound saw many flocking to her page to join her ‘Chin City’ tribe. The icing on the online engagement cake was her new image: her signature low hair replaced by wigs of different lengths, styles and colours, and fly collaborations with celeb stylist Neko ‘Bootleg Rocstar’ Kelly.
With new songs like Buzz, Gimmie More and Street Fighter, Chin delves into the nuances of her revamped brand in this week’s Five Questions With.
You recently took a break from social media. Why was that?
I needed to understand who I was and what I was going to contribute now. I didn’t know what I was gonna do or what I was coming with; I just knew I needed to disappear because when I come back, I [needed] to be visible. There were certain hints from before, for example, when I had just done the video for Wul Night with Skillibeng where I put a wig on … suddenly, I was visible. I had always had it in my intentions to do an image revamp ‘cause I am all about that (fashion), but I also had in mind that I wanted to break out with this look — this Marcy Chin short hair signature. But then when I realised how much faster it moved when I put a wig on, I was like, okay, it’s game time then.
How do you stay original?
I am a student of original, hardcore stuff, and I felt like it was my duty to pay homage to that no matter what. Now, I had to sort of carry it forward by expanding on it, being the expansion that the music needs rather than trying to force myself into what exists. I don’t want to ever feel limited because ‘a dis work here suh’ because I face that a lot. Nuff producers tell me seh the rapping thing nah go work yah suh. See Shenseea come do it and dem ting deh a tings mi a do from jump street … Me glad she a do dem tings deh because if she can buss for it, when mi a do it now, they can accept it better because it worked and, then, I’m freaking good at it.
How different are you today compared to the Marcy Chin who dropped her first mixtape in 2013?
The difference is a lot of the dreams Marcy had in 2013 are being realised today. This whole sound, just being me and just having fun and slaying and expressing my ideals … When I make music now, I have to say something current. I have to inspire in some way, shape or form. I have to express something that I’ve always wanted to express, so these are standards I hold myself to.
A recurring thing I’ve seen from people engaging in your music is a sort of frustration that you are “underrated”. How do you process these comments?
When you hear comments like you’re underrated, I disagree with it wholeheartedly because I feel like the case is that I am underexposed. I feel like not enough people have seen me for us to come to a conclusion that I’m underrated. Just being who I am and having these goals of becoming the best at what I am doing, always evolving and improving and just expanding, it’s just time; that’s really what it is.
What are your intentions for 2022?
To keep expanding in this time length in bigger, major ways — that’s really it. I don’t know how I’ll do that, but I’ll do that.