From the moment she picked up the mic, Jenny Robinson has been in a league all her own. In an ever-growing scene where rappers can be found almost anywhere, individuality and authenticity have always been important to Robinson from day one, even in the confusing midst of change. As a new Dallas transplant far away from her home state of New Jersey, Robinson learned very early to craft a voice that was uniquely hers – and all it took was a little help from her friends.
“I started rapping at 18 when I moved to Texas with my parents from New Jersey,” Robinson says. “It was half way through my senior year of high school, so naturally I really missed my friends, all of which had been these young hip hop heads, very anti-gimmick, anti-radio rap, didn’t-really-listen-to-anything-that-came-out-after-’02 kind of cats. We were and still are very close, and they really instilled a lot of values in me about being real and true.”
Such values have served her well musically. The fast-flowing, tight rhymes Robinson spits on any track are distinctive, as well is her space in the Dallas underground scene. Yet Robinson’s still in the business of expansion. After all, such a space has to be as big as her goals. With a new mixtape, single and video released, she’s side-stepping limits, one hit a time.
You can catch Robinson on June 22 at Hailey’s in Denton. As far as the rest of 2013 goes, her plans are sound: “I’m cooking up sassy raps to be served on a silver platter. Know that.”
Front Row: How did your newest mixtape, Pigeon, come into fruition? What was your goal for the mixtape? What did you want to do/say with it?
Jenny Robinson: I was just making songs to express myself. I chose beats I enjoyed. I guess the goal was to try to find my sound and overall refine what I was doing, develop my style. I wanted to do with it what I always want to do with all my music: empower people, let people know it’s okay to be vulnerable and open and honest about what they feel. That’s why I chose the cover photo. It’s a symbol. I want people to stand by what they believe and to believe in themselves. I want people to accept others and be tolerant of others beliefs and feelings. I want people to know, you don’t have to be afraid to be real.
FR: Describe shooting “Sucka Emcees” in New York City.
JR: It was January, twenty degrees and freezing, I was so sick, I was literally about to die, but I had my heart set on making it happen. I had a mission, and in five layers of sweaters and jackets, with a snotty nose I could barely breathe through. I was like, “Alright life, challenge accepted.” The video was shot by Bailee Boyko, my longtime friend and very talented photographer and videographer. I encourage everyone to check out her work.
FR: What’s your relationship with the Dallas hip-hop scene? Anything you like/don’t like? Anything you’d change? Any hopes/wants you have for the scene?
JR: My relationship with the Dallas hip hop scene? Well, we have our quarrels but I’ll never leave her! [Laughs] No, I really like it. It’s very organized. There are so many people doing so many different things, from promoters and show organizers, to photographers and videographers, to sound engineers and beat makers, and writers and magazines and newspapers. It’s just amazing the resources you have access to in this city, and I love the people who come to the shows. It’s amazing that so many people know the words to so many local artists music. I would have never been able to do this correctly without such a good support system, and I hope I can continue to reach out to so many very talented people. The makings for an empire are residing in Dallas as we speak.
FR: Describe your relationship with 8earcub and Blue of Brain Gang, who both produced on your mixtape.
JR: Oh 8earcub, my 8earcub, my best friend and the person who really helps me make my ideas a reality. Collaborating and working with him is probably one of the best things I’ve ever done for my music. We both complement each other well, his raps are so real and his production is just magnificent. He’s so versatile. And I would say the same for Blue. Blue and I have been good friends for a while now. He and 8earcub both share this very eclectic sound within hip hop and I think that is what attracted me to them. They’re different from the norm, and to be different you have to be brave and intelligent, and I like that. 8earcub and I are working on a collaborative EP as well as my next mixtape, and Blue and I also plan to work on collaborative records in the very near future.
FR: Any dream venues or collaborations?
JR: Obviously I would love to play a huge music festival or award show (one day) but I honestly prefer more of an intimate experience. I like to talk to people and touch them and look them in the eye. I hope I can leave a long string of late night talk show performances behind me when this thing is all over with. I think I would really love to play alongside an orchestra at Carnegie Hall, rolling around on the floor in a long gown with a 1950s microphone. That would be exquisite.
A dream collaboration of mine right now would be to work on a record with Missy Elliott and Moby. I think a really unique record would come out of it! [Laughs] I’d also love to work on a Digable Planets type song with topic and Kool Quise. I really wish I could resurrect Amy Winehouse and get her to sing some hooks for me, that would be ideal, something bluesy but sassy.