Dominican rapper Tokischa burst onto the scene this summer with her debut track “Pícala” alongside Tivi Gunz. With the video now approaching a million views on YouTube, the track’s success is powered in no small part by the song’s explosive urgency and the wacky yet charmingly nasal flow of Tokischa, clad in a neon tracksuit fit and bright pink braids. Tokischa’s verses are an ode to weed, foregoing a stoner cadence and opting instead to turn up over a Beat Wali-produced instrumental. Her ferocious delivery especially stands out in contrast to Tivi Gunz’s more laid-back flow, the two rappers co-creating a deliciously reckless, alien-infested world, all the while priming Tokischa for a breakthrough moment.
Tokischa’s journey as a recording artist begins with her time on set with creative director Raymi Paulus for a photo shoot two years ago; Paulus would eventually direct and edit the music video for “Pícala.” Tokischa mentions that she had never considered that singing could be an outlet for her, but after their first shoot together, Raymi insisted that she should give it a shot and join him in the studio. After their first session together, she remembers, “I was like, ‘Oh my God yes, I can sing!’ I’d never thought I could do that,” she tells Remezcla in an interview. After this, she and Raymi decide to work together on her voice, style, and artistic vision comprehensively; as Tokischa puts it, she “applied [herself] to the music, and it was done; it was magic.”
Tokischa’s work eschews any glossy representation of women in música urbana – her style and delivery is raw, unapologetic, and undeniably 420-friendly, an aesthetic she’s dubbed #trapterretre. With her lyrics running the gamut between partying, weed, sex, and back again to weed, Tokischa’s idiosyncrasies especially shine through with a pronounced, extraterrestrial flow that blurs the lines between fact and fiction, artistic persona, and heartfelt delinquency.
“I’m just a person that likes to try new things, to find my own style; it’s about showing what you have inside,” Tokischa says in an interview with Remezcla. As she reflects back on her personal history, she credits her mother playing a big role in the development of her fearlessness. “My mom has always been super supportive with me, and that guided me to be myself and have my own style.” She recalls her mother bringing home clothing for her, saying, “’I got you this, and it’s not what the other girls are wearing now, but I want you to have your own style.’ She always told me to do what I like, and then that becomes my own thing.”
When it comes to content, “that’s just what goes on in my head,” she says, laughing. Her boldness thrives in the context of the música urbana ecosystem of the Dominican Republic, which already hosts a laundry list of artists carving out their own flows and personas. In regards to this music’s place in the greater circuit, Tokischa says, “I think that we are the evolution here; everybody’s down to earth, working really hard to get it.”
As a result of this grind and proximity to other colleagues with similarly hyperactive work ethics, Tokischa coincided quickly with rapper/trapbowsero Quimico Ultra Mega, who’s collaborated with Raymi Paulus in the past for his surreal, color-saturated take on the anthem “Fumo.” “He’s from the family, from the same house; it was meant to be,” Tokischa says about their inevitable collaboration. “We both have an unapologetic style, each in our own way.” The resulting product, “Que Viva,” is a hallucinatory ode to weed, molly, cocaine, and pussy for good measure, united by the slogan “que viva la droga.” Respectability politics be damned – Tokischa is making way for a refreshingly unhinged take on hip-hop.
Stream our premiere of “Que Viva” below: