“Whatchu doin’ for the squad and the coalition?” pineappleCITI’s thoughts on music, spirituality and expression
One of TIDALâ€™s Rising Hip-Hop cover artists this year and featured on NBA2K20 and Netflixâ€™s Sneakerheads, artist pineappleCITI is equal parts rapper, singer and acclaimed songwriter. With a poetic lyricism and melodic voice, pineappleCITI uses her music to liberate herself from the external oppression she has had to navigate as a self identified Black and gay woman.
Named one of Okayplayerâ€™s 25 Underrated Female Rappers, she has penned works for Twista and Kelly Rowland. In the same year, she celebrated the release of her viral hit â€œRose Coloredâ€ and suffered a near-fatal car crash, causing her to learn how to walk again over the course of two years. As a way of conquering her own narrative, pineappleCITI recreates her 2016 car crash and demonstrates her healing process in her song â€œRecognize.â€
With a focus on songs that feature motivational lyricism and powerful messages, she has released a number of recent singles including â€œBelieve,â€Â andÂ â€œLift Me Up,â€Â the latter of which was dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement and victims of police brutality.Â She has also just released a music video for her single “Balance” and released her new single, “Dance,” which you should make sure to stream as her flow will send you off to a feel-good place.
Galore: In what ways is music a means for practicing your spirituality?
pineappleCITI: Music is my connection with source. When I write it feels like Iâ€™m channeling something. Sometimes I look back on my lyrics and find gems as if I didnâ€™t write it myself. Thatâ€™s how I know Iâ€™m a part of something bigger than me.
Galore: How did the quarantine period impact you as an artist?
pineappleCITI: Honestly, it wound up being a blessing in disguise for my spiritual growth. I believe Iâ€™m making some of the best music I ever have as a result. I think we all had to learn how to pivot. This pandemic affected creatives and entrepreneurs the most but they donâ€™t call us creatives for nothing. Weâ€™re going to dig deep and pull out something beautiful. Itâ€™s in our nature.
Galore: How has the resurgence of protesting for Black Lives Matter influenced your work, if at all?
pineappleCITI: Iâ€™ve been writing from a more authentic place. Times like these have encouraged me to write more food for the soul. Songs like â€œLift Me Up (Acoustic)â€ tell my sentiments exactly. As horrendous as these past couple months have been what we are all yearning for is something we can feel. Iâ€™m grateful to be in the space that Iâ€™m in musically. Itâ€™s important for me to stand up for what I believe in on and off record.
Galore: How do identity politics and intersectionality intersect with your artistic practice?
pineappleCITI: My music is an expression of me. It would be hard to separate me from my lyrics. I write music about different aspects of my life because humans are multifaceted. And I leave nothing to apologize for. Thereâ€™s so many things that divide us. Music is something that brings us all together. I speak from my own unique point of view and it’s a blessing that so many people can relate to that – regardless of race, sexuality, creed or gender. I donâ€™t want to use these labels (black or gay woman) as the forefront of what I am, I want my music to inspire people; whoever that person is.
Galore: In what ways is it important to break away from the binaries of oppression and liberation? In what ways does your work seek to break from these binaries?
pineappleCITI: Iâ€™ve experienced oppression my entire life from different vantage points – being gay, and especially being black! Making music is my liberation. The use of free speech is a necessary aspect of who I am. Iâ€™m liberating myself by just expressing myself. The most powerful thing in the world you can be is yourself.
Galore: Why is representation important?
pineappleCITI: You never know who youâ€™ll inspire. To see someone you can relate to achieve any type of success gives you hope for your own success – no matter how you relate. For example, Seeing Lauryn Hill be so successful not only inspired me as a black woman, but as a lyricist, a singer, and a native of Newark, NJ. I wouldnâ€™t be who I am without that representation; same goes for Queen Latifah. Representation gives the next generation confidence they need to become what God called them to be.
And it’s not just about looking like someone, I find that Drake represents me too, he was making music were he sang and rapped during a time that was not popular. Think back to 2009 Drake; we grew up with Drake. He was able to express himself in whatever way he wanted and he made it cool. I feel represented by Drake’s form of expression.
Galore: Apart from music, what other projects are you working on, or are hoping to manifest /put into fruition?
pineappleCITI: Iâ€™m working on writing a book and Iâ€™d love direct music videos for other artists in the near future.
Galore: Are you willing to collaborate with up and coming artists that do not have the tools, or wisdom for entering the music industry?
pineappleCITI: Of course! I wouldnâ€™t be here without the people who lended a hand, a tip, or mentorship in any capacity. One conversation could change your outlook and a simple session can change your life.