If you don’t know much about TOKYO’S REVENGE, don’t worry — that’s exactly what he wants. Despite his rise to fame and multiple viral songs, TOKYO’S REVENGE has never released his real name, when he was born or any other personal information. VALLEY attended an exclusive press conference with the elusive rapper, and we got to hear all about his creative process and musical journey.
Immigrating here from Haiti, TOKYO’S REVENGE listened to “classic American artists” such as Jimmy Buffet and Fleetwood Mac in order to help assimilate to the culture. As he got older, he found a love for hip-hop and rap with some of his favorite artists being Eminem, JAY-Z and Tyler, The Creator.
He got his start in rapping by freestyling in high school but never got into anything serious. After high school, he spent a lot of time homeless and couch-hopping. He ended up staying with some friends that were into mixing and making their own music, and that’s when he became their musical engineer. That inspired him to create his own SoundCloud where he would write and engineer all of his music.
Being homeless played a huge part in TOKYO’S REVENGE’s success, saying, “It just taught me to never get comfortable ever … Being homeless gave me this huge hunger to never stop doing something. Back then, I never thought about making music — I was more worried about finding a place to work, finding a place to stay, and if I had become comfortable with just doing that, I would probably just still be doing that.”
TOKYO’S REVENGE doesn’t have to worry about hitting the studio to get creative — he writes and produces all of his music in his room.
“If I know exactly how I want something to sound specifically, there’s no way I can verbally translate it to an engineer. The best thing I can do is sit down and do it myself. For me, that’s half the art. In a lot of my music, you’ll hear special types of reverbs, super-specific beat cuts, chop an 808 out of one place and put it in another … All of that stuff I do by myself here.”
Not only does he like to play around with beat drops, but a huge part of his music is also his delivery and changing the volume and tone of his voice.
“I want it to be super clear that my lyrics have nothing to do with my delivery. I want it to be hard for you to predict what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen. If I can create a scenario in which I’m using an extremely aggressive delivery style, but extremely light-hearted lyrics, it’s confusing, but it almost makes it go harder because you were expecting something.”
This contrasting delivery can be heard in his first viral song, “GOODMORNINGTOKYO”, which quickly spread on TikTok and reached #1 on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 chart. With over 128 million Spotify plays on that song alone, TOKYO’S REVENGE has been thrown into the spotlight despite only having been making music for three years.
However, this immediate fame is what has caused him to remain as anonymous as possible.
“I liked the idea of no one really knowing anything about me because it forces them to try to figure me out by listening to my music, as opposed to looking for clues about my personality or what I’m like based on social media posts.”
TOKYO’S REVENGE goes on to say that he’s not attached to social media at all and even thinks that it poorly affects music careers. He explains that by constantly sharing every second of your life on social media, you give away so much about you that people then think they know you too well.
“We have people that aren’t just trying to be musicians, but be musicians and social media influencers and do brand deals and sponsorships … I skip out on all of that and put my music first. I’ll go extremely long times without posting because I’m just focused on getting my head right, getting my music right. All of that stuff will be OK once I drop and people can see what I’ve been working on.”
TOKYO’S REVENGE just dropped his latest album “7VEN” earlier this month, along with his anime-inspired music video for “GOTHAM”, the album’s opening track.