"I just know that I strive to be different"
Raw, passionate and skilful artist, Nathan Mendes aka Tsumyoki, is the hottest rapper to emerge from India.
Specifically from the bustling streets of Goa, the 20-year-old is an unbelievably organic musician.
Dealing with a disjointed home and numerous setbacks, his extreme dedication to music has awarded him with a newly-obtained spotlight.
However, this comes from Tsumyoki’s belief in manifestation. The star’s self-belief is an ode to his positive reinforcement, mother and strength as a person.
Interestingly, it is this strength that has transcended Tsumyoki’s music. His confessional lyrics, ominous trap beats and immersive melodies are all poignant elements within his catalogue.
This was particularly the case when the musician decided to apply these same aspects to his collaborative debut EP, Way Too Messy (2021).
Joining up with another Goa rapper, MC Kidd Mange, their high-octane and lyrical presence on the project helped shape Tsumyoki’s fresh career.
Undoubtedly, it is these key characteristics that grabbed the attention of Gully Gang – An Indian record label founded by award-winning Mumbai rapper, Divine.
The label saw the punchy bars and artistic percussions with Tsumyoki’s arsenal and signed him in September 2021.
A monumental achievement considering Gully Gang have over 200,000 Instagram followers and will expose more fans to the awe-inspiring cadence of the superstar.
DESIblitz caught up with Tsumyoki to discuss his lyrical influences, the impact of Way Too Messy and the undying love to create music.
As a Goa native, what was your upbringing like?
I’ve been blessed to grow up in Goa with such a supportive family. They’ve always told me to do what I love and what makes me happy.
Goa is such a peaceful state and I’m proud to be from here. No matter where I go, they cannot take the Goan out of me.
Life was really rough at times as I come from a broken family, but I’ve always kept my chin up. I always knew that there were brighter days ahead.
I believe that I get my musical ability from my grandfather. He was an amazing performer and musician.
Unfortunately, he isn’t here today but I know he’s looking down on me proud.
All things considered, the ups and downs, I wouldn’t have asked for a better upbringing. The hardships just made me a smarter person and that’s all I can ask for.
When and how did your love for music begin?
Music has given me a way to express my emotions. It’s a form of therapy for me.
On the other hand, seeing so many people being inspired by what I do and seeing how I’m making a change makes me love music even more.
My love for music has been there since I was a kid. Music brings people together.
“I don’t think I would make it through my hardships without music.”
I can’t remember a certain point in life when my love for music has started, I just remember that it’s always been in my blood.
Even when I was younger I used to enter a lot of singing competitions and completely loved being on stage. It’s a high that’s unmatched.
How did you come up with the name ‘Tsumyoki’?
In all honesty, I just looked in the mirror and that’s the first thing that came to my head.
I don’t know how and I don’t know why. Later, I decided to give the word ‘Tsumyoki’ meaning. It means vision, productivity and a positive mindset.
‘Tsumyoki’ is a state of mind. I gave this word this meaning because it’s a state of mind that I always try to be in.
Being positive and optimistic is a huge part of my personality and it would be unfair to the world if I don’t spread it everywhere I go.
As you can tell the word has a bit of Japanese influence and that’s because I love anime and Japanese culture.
I hope that one day everyone reaches the state of ‘Tsumyoki’.
As a musician, which artists and genres have influenced you?
XXXTENTACION, Juice WRLD, Eminem, Post Malone, Ski Mask the Slump God and Michael Jackson are some influences of mine.
My main influence is definitely my mum. The way she has pushed through life’s hardships has really inspired me.
When it comes to genres, there are too many to count that have influenced me. Hence, the diversity in my music.
“I try to do as many genres that I musically can because…why not?”
Every time I listen to music, new ideas and inspirations pop into my own head of what I should do in my own music.
Sometimes I’m simply inspired just by how a song is different from other music.
I love weirdness and individuality. Stuff like that helps me take my own weird steps in my music.
What elements within your sound set you apart from other artists?
I keep trying different things with my music and creating new sounds.
I have no idea how to put it in words but it’s like I’m a scientist in a laboratory mixing different chemicals to see what I create.
Honestly, I don’t really know what exactly sets me apart, I just know that I make some damn good music and the people love it.
I can only explain so much, in the end, you just need to turn on my music and it will speak for itself.
I’m just grateful that I’m able to make unique music. My creative processes don’t even make sense to me sometimes.
“I just know that I strive to be different.”
Can you explain the creative process behind your debut EP ‘Way Too Messy’?
This EP is a product of mine and Manges wild sides. In my opinion, we bring some amazing bars along with some crazy melodies as well.
All five tracks are bangers. I and Mange were at the Gully Gang Camp 2021. We were surrounded by such great artists and the vibes were just overflowing.
I and Mange just fed off that raw energy and decided to dish out a couple of tracks in the short time we were there.
Little did we know that the Gully Gang team loved it and we decided to release this amazing project as an EP.
But me describing the EP doesn’t do the project justice. All you have to do is start playing it.
“You’ll find that each of the five tracks has its own unique flavours and as an EP, it’s a whole meal.”
The melodic elements with the unique flows and beats create something extraordinary. I’m so happy that I could be part of the process in the making of this EP.
What type of messages did you want to get across in the EP?
This was more of a fun project, which people can enjoy and bop their heads to. There wasn’t any specific message.
We just wanted to make dope music that people could tune into and, which can act as a distraction for people from the world and its problems.
I have a lot of other projects which do send messages, but not all music has to have one. Some music is just to enjoy and turn up to.
Rather than a message, this EP shows that I and Mange are skilful in the art of rap.
The rhyme schemes and flows with the delivery and cadence show that we aren’t rappers that play around. We’re here to get to the top.
What has the reaction been like to the EP?
Super overwhelming. It’s amazing to see how many people are enjoying the music and spreading it.
I’m so happy to be a part of everyone’s lives through my music.
“Gully Gang has helped so much when it comes to this EP.”
I’ve reached tons of new people and I’m incredibly happy that they digested to music well and believe that I can reach for the stars.
At the end of the day, as long as even one person is being influenced by my music, I know I’m doing something right.
Tell us about the link up with Gully Gang and how that came about?
I waited outside Divine’s show for about two hours just to give him a USB of my music. I didn’t think much of it but it was worth a shot.
A little time went by and I kept working and finished an album that I and my group were making.
The song ‘Jackets’, which was part of that album stood and that’s how I got on Gully Gangs radar.
My music seemed to impress them and Divine remembered me – the kid who gave him a USB of music.
They reached out to me and the rest is history.
Which collaborations have you learnt the most from?
I’ll not bring out names but the only thing I can say is; collaborate with artists who are on the same mentality and wavelength as you.
Collaborations can be super annoying in some cases and super productive in others.
“Making music that is sonically amazing is a challenge in itself so you gotta make sure you collab with the right people.”
The second you start to work with someone your ego needs to be thrown out the window and you need to be super open-minded.
Most importantly, I make sure I enjoy the process.
Do you think enough is being done for Desi artists within mainstream music?
I think we all need to support Indian artists on an international level.
Right now most of the big names in India in music make terrible music but are supported by big labels.
It’s more of an entertainment industry than a music industry because it makes money.
We need to support artists based on the quality of music they’re making.
What would be your ultimate ambitions within music and why?
In music, I just want to inspire as many people as I can and help as many people as I can. I want to make a change.
Why? ‘Cause the world is too damn messed up.
I will keep moving forward in music and I will not stop till I’m considered to be one of the greatest.
At the end of the day, I just hope to learn as much as I can learn from this journey and spread positivity along the way.
“I want to end this journey in happiness, that is the ultimate goal.”
With such an impressive appetite for music and the drive to share it with the world, Tsumyoki is a breath of fresh air within the industry.
This is illustrated through his humble and grounded personality. As a kid who has made his dreams come true, he wishes that his story serves as motivation to others in India and worldwide.
When asked about his future projects, he answered in true Tsumyoki fashion:
“I have unreleased music that is going to change lives and shock the world.”
His livewire chorus’, catchy harmonies and penetrating instrumentation evoke a whirlwind of recognition from a lot of diverse audiences.
Leaving fans eagerly awaiting more sizzling tracks like ‘No Games’ and ‘Jackets’, the rapper is showing no signs of slowing down.
Check out Way Too Messy and Tsumyoki’s other mesmerising projects here.