Post-Soviet rap in Estonia with Tommy Cash
Estonian rapper Tommy Cash reveals an altogether grittier side to the country in this austere and vaguely disturbing video.
There’s no denying that Tallinn’s Old Town is very nice. And that the natural beauty of the Lahemaa national park will soothe your soul.
But there’s another side to Estonia. A part that hasn’t moved on since the hard times of the Soviet Union.
That’s the Estonia rapper Tommy Cash captures in this video for his song, Leave Me Alone.
Tommy, whose real name is Tomas Tammemets, was born to a Russian father and a Ukrainian mother.
He grew up in a poor, predominantly Russian neighbourhood on the edge of Tallinn. He calls it the ‘Detroit’ side of town.
‘It was all tiny, rotting wooden houses,’ he says. ‘There was always a bad smell on the street.’
Tommy describes his music as ‘post-Soviet’ rap. He is also a well-respected visual artist. A recent exhibition at the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn drew big crowds.
He is famous too for his surreal music videos. They are definitely not for the faint-hearted.
The video for Leave Me Alone is pretty straight forward by Tommy’s standards.
‘It reminds me of a typical summer holiday in my Grandmother’s village,’ said one commentator in the comment section on YouTube.
The kind of summer holiday we’d love to go on.
But maybe just once.
“I had this very cool-ass dance teacher called John. He was the only guy in Tallinn rocking all the fresh steez from America. He inspired me a lot.”
Main image: Tommy and friend in Tallinn (© Tommy Cash)