Tommy Kuti is one of the hottest rappers in Italy right now. We had the chance to ask him a few questions about his career, culture, and life. Enjoy!
Mr. Fantastic: In this current day and age, hip hop has become more global than ever. In your opinion, what makes Italian rap music special?
Tommy Kuti: think What makes italian rap special is its history of poetry, what I like about certain artists in this country is the great amount of figures of speech that you can find in songs. I think it derives from the country’s tradition of poetry and writers. Anyway, when I’m talking about this I am not including the new trap/drill artists, because their language and vocabulary is quite simple, their talent is more about saying sentences that can be posted in a Meme.
Mr. Fantastic: What drifted you towards making music in the first place?
Tommy Kuti: People have always said that I’m a great communicator, so my passion derives from my desire to make my words, my vision heard, but, to be honest the Album that made me want to become an Artist is Get rich or die trying by 50 cent.
Mr. Fantastic: On top of speaking Italian, you speak English. Have you ever thought of making an album in English so a larger audience can enjoy your music?
Tommy Kuti: I never considered the Idea of making a whole Album in English, but I can say that I’ve been trying to make my music multilingual lately, In my songs like Ale Ale, you can hear me speaking in 4 Languages, Italian, English, Yoruba, French
Mr. Fantastic: Your powerful single “#AFROITALIANO” is how I discovered you and got into your music. With such a powerful track, what went into making this thought-provoking anthem?
Tommy Kuti: That Song just came out of anger and love that I have for Italy, the country that I grew up in.
At some point I realized that there was a whole generation of people like me who had loads of talents and wanted their voice to be heard but the country and the institution was not giving us a chance to explain ourselves. Also, as people who grew up or were born in this country, a lot of people of my generation demanded respect and representation, so this song was a way to shout for our basic human rights.
Mr. Fantastic: Who are the biggest influences in your music?
Tommy Kuti: My biggest music influences are American artists like J.Cole or Kendrick, then French rappers like Youssopha, Uk artists like Dave, Stormzy and Skepta, and then of course all of the Nigerian Afrobeats artists like Burna Boy, Wizkid and Falz, I love musicians that are able to tell a story a describe a reality.
Mr. Fantastic: During the covid-19 pandemic, you made headlines worldwide for using your platform and rapping ability to help spread awareness about the virus and keep people safe. Explain how music kept you not just in check but able to empower others’ lives during such a challenging time?
Tommy Kuti: For some crazy strange reason I was able to increase my following during the Covid. I think it’s because we had to develop new ways to communicate and to stay connected with people.
As a result I had the chance to show different aspect of myself.
Mr. Fantastic: Out of all the rappers who have ever existed, who’s your top 5 dead or alive?
Tommy Kuti: This is such an hard question for me because I speak like 5 different languages and I love rappers from all those different languages and cultures, I will just give you one of Each.
Favorite Uk rapper: Stormzy Italian rapper: Marracash French rapper: Youssoupa Nigerian Rapper: Falz American: Notorious BIG
Mr. Fantastic: As a third-generation Italian American, my family’s cultural values still shine through in our everyday lives. Tell us what living in Italy firsthand has done for you as a person?
Tommy Kuti: I think Living in Italy gave particular sense of style, the ability to cook all kind of stuff lol, and I most say also a lot of general knowledge about things, I went to a Liceo, and I’m thankful for all the things that I learned there.
Mr. Fantastic: Your new single “Hustler” pushes your style in a more upbeat, fast-paced direction than ever. Is this more club-oriented sound something you want to expand on in the future?
Tommy Kuti: It’s afrobeats, it has all different styles and subgenre some songs are of slower pitch, some are super fast but most of this music is to be danced and eversince I decided to switch to this sound I made the decision to make music you can always dance to.
Mr. Fantastic: It’s been since March of 2018 since your debut album Italiano vero stapled your name as a key name in the Italian hip hop scene. When can we expect a new album?
Tommy Kuti: A lot of nice music, some international collaborations, some hits, some conscious tracks, but mainly me having fun and enjoying myself making music.
Mr. Fantastic: Aside from yourself, what other Italian rappers should Americans check out?
There is a lot of new second generation afroitalian artists making the wave lately, some are quite creative, here are some names: Heartman, Slings, Epoque
Mr. Fantastic Who are your favorite rappers outside of Italy?
Tommy Kuti: I said a few names already, but I can say a few more, J-hus, La fouine, Magnito,Soprano, Olamide
Special thanks to Tommy Kuti for letting us ask these questions!
Interviewed By: Mr. Fantastic, owner and founder of Fantastic Hip Hop