The eastside of Detroit has bred many of the city’s finest from Della Reese to Icewear Vezzo and everything in between. Tiny Jag is one of the greats shining through the emerging Detroit art scene. Known for her vegan journey and now for her grimey raps and gothic visuals, she shows every pretty girl that you can be as gritty as you feel.
What inspired you to start doing music?
Back in like 2009 I used to run with a few guy friends who made music. I started doing voice overs and vocals for them on their songs, and after a while I realized I was happy as fuck in the booth like, fulfilled as shit. The producers and engineers I was around were crazy supportive and patient from jump. The rest is history.
You rapped for a short time in the past, what makes this go-round different?
Honestly, back then I was so young, inexperienced, and being pulled in so many different directions I couldn’t decipher between the things I was doing because of love, passion, and purpose and the things I was doing to please or keep from disappointing others. This time I’m doing music because I cannot afford not to. I’m in tune enough now to know that if I don’t do what I love, I will be in trouble; spiritually, emotionally, and physically in trouble. If you guys aren’t doing it what you love, switch it up as soon as possible man, don’t wait.
Your style is grittier than the average femcee, what inspires this?
It’s crazy because I get “you’re so peaceful in person” or “you’re so gentle but your music is so aggressive!” and to me it’s like a no-brainer. I am only able to maintain my peace and sanity because I have built this personalized outlet for myself. I use my music to dump; dump out the things I should have said, going hard on the motherfuckers I should have slapped, claiming the shit I always had… and without remorse, you know? It keeps me calm and collected in my everyday dealings to have somewhere purposeful to let that shit out.
Not only are you a rapper, but you are a health guru with a business,The JARRS Journey, how does your passion for health tie in to your music?
Yeah man it’s wild. JARRS birthed Tiny Jag. If it wasn’t for me getting my health together by taking charge of my nutrition, fasting, getting the right nutrients and such, I would have never been able to reach the level of clarity I did when I realized I had to get back to music. On top of that I think it’s important to show my peers and the youth that you can do it all. You can care about your health, avoid hard drugs, practice self-care and still go absolutely dumb on tracks. You just gotta know yourself. No two narratives are the same.
Some people have compared you to Rico Nasty, some Instagram users have even said you bit her style, what do you say to those critics?
First and foremost I been in the game all of 6 months, I refuse to let anyone start to pin me against other female rappers. The shit is sick as fuck and I’m not into it. Secondly, I love Rico Nasty. I love her music and I’ve met her a few times and she always brought great energy and love. Third, I think people group things that are not the norm together. So I, as in Tiny Jag, am a part of rap music that looks different than a lot of women in rap right now. It’s easier for people to tie me to someone else than it is to try to understand what I got going on but those comments show me that those individuals don’t actually listen to either of our music. Plus, Rico is sexy. I’m more of a creep.
How has being a Detroit Native and Eastsider helped shape who you are today?
Man being from the eastside of Detroit showed me how to make being an underdog something hot. It showed me how I could take something that some people view as a disadvantage or something that makes me “rough around the edges” into something that helps define me as a talented, black woman. My city taught me resilience is the greatest tool to have in your toolbox. You’re going to fall down, those struggling with their own demons may even push you down but that getting up part, that shit is vital.
What is your message to the world in your music?
Do not neglect yourself. Not in the name of your parents, your community, your peers, no one and nothing. You can flourish at many different things in many different ways simultaneously. What matters the most is that those things are true to you; truly fulfilling to you when you’re alone with yourself.
There’s literally no reason for you to not have her music somewhere in your library. You can find Tiny Jag’s music anywhere! So get with the shits!