From Santo Domingo to the world, the chaotic rise of Tokisha, an artist who is a provocative open book of sexuality and controversy. A talented, charismatic rapper who is proudly bisexual, has a flair for creating her own unique fashion, used the money earned from her sugar daddy to start her music career, got fined by the Dominican government for indecent behavior and has collaborations with stars such as, Rosalia, Madonna, J Balvin and Eladio Calderon.
She has become the most provocative superstar in Dominican dembow by making songs that pull no punches about sex, drugs, and queerness. She wants to go even further
Tokischa was born in the small town of Los Frailes, a lower income neighborhood of Santo Domingo, on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. Despite reports that she suffered from constant bullying in school, she denied it and said that
“I did not suffer bullying, I have always been a very rebellious person, I have not been like children who understand that they must respect and silence everything that is told to them, no, I defend myself”.
Tokischa was always expanding her creativity “I always drew and wrote. I closed myself in the room to see myself in the mirror and act,” she confessed.
She grew up among Caribbean rhythms like merengue, dembow and bachata, but later she opened her range of influences to bands and artists like Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. “I didn’t know why, but I always knew that I was going to be a great artist,” she said.
Tokischa studied fine and dramatic arts. At the age of sixteen, she did some professional modeling and worked in a call center for a while.
After her mom left for New York in search of work when Tokischa was a toddler, she bounced back and forth between relatives’ homes.
Throughout her adolescence, she cultivated her artistic inclinations through theater, dance, and writing. After high school, she turned to the lucrative sugar-daddy and prostitution industry on the island.
Tokischa is honest about her past in her interviews, she shares her drug use and showering after sex in attempts to wash off the smell of unwanted partners.
For a time, she says, her money went to drugs. But after in 2016, she met producer and eventual manager Raymi Paulus, she took the money she’d saved from sex work and invested it in her music.
“The first thing I said since I began to make music was that I would be honest, that I would say what I was living through because I wasn’t going to invent a movie.”
Some artists stay away from revealing their truth and instead make up tales of their past (and sometimes present). Why couldn’t that work for Tokischa? She was asked; Because her past, she counters, “was what I could speak about with pride. I was empowered.”
Tokischa has managed to become the most provocative superstar in Dominican dembow by using her natural charisma and provocative and uninhibited persona.
Today as an established artist Tokischa cultivates various musical styles, where trap, hip hop, rap and urbano stand out. However, she has stated in different occasions that there is no genre that identifies her. One artist who inspired her early in her career was DJ Scuff.
Tokischa is a fan of rock music. “I chose to trap because it is the closest thing there is now to rock, which has always been my favorite genre. Trap is modern rock. At that time I was very unleashed, and I expressed myself that way”. –said Tokisha
Tokishca and J Balvin
Tokischa says J Balvin contacted her through a direct message on Instagram, and Rosalía reached out via a phone call. “I already had ‘Perra’ ready and sent it to J Balvin.
Rosalía came to the country and we created ‘Linda’ together. It was a beautiful experience.” The hit “Perra” in which Tokischa colaborated with J Balvin, helped increase her global reach within Latin America and beyond, but not without controversy.
The music video, directed by Raymi Paulus, Tokischa’s manager, shows the Colombian artist entering “el bajo mundo,” (the hood), where he meets up with the Dominican Rapper.
The video shows Balvin tugging at two Black women on leashes, a group of Black people that were made up to look like dogs, and Tokischa posing on all fours inside a doghouse.
With these type of visuals, one can understand why this received negative backlash.
J Balvin has apologized to fans after viewers complained his new music video was racist for its portrayal of black women. The video for the song “Perra” has also been pulled from YouTube.
“I want to say sorry to whomever felt offended, especially to the Black community,” the Colombian artist said on Instagram. “That’s not who I am. I’m about tolerance, love and inclusivity.
I also like to support new artists, in this case, Tokischa, a woman who supports her people, her community and also empowers women.”
Collaboration with Rosalia:
In a press release, Rosalía spoke enthusiastically about collaborating with Tokischa, in the new song and music video “Linda” she described Tokischa as a “strong and indispensable woman, who doesn’t conform to any molds”.
“I admire her because she is unapologetically herself and doesn’t try to be a role model,” she continued. “This song came together in the Dominican Republic, in the “Barrio Los Guandules”, where I was inspired by and felt the affection of its generous people who are filled with creativity.
Viva dembow and viva la República Dominicana!” –said Rosalia. Check out “Linda” below;
Tokischa and Madonna
She identifies as bi-sexual and raps about sex, drugs, and queerness and she wants to go even further. It’s no wonder that the queen of pop and controversy Madonna, reached out to Toksicha and they collaborated musically and mixed in a little erotica to go along with it.
The 64-year-old pop icon teamed up with Dominican rapper Tokischa in a music video, released for the remix of Madonna’s 2005 hit, “Hung Up” with the remix, titled “Hung Up on Tokischa”.
Madonna and Tokischa, 26, spent much of the provocative video dancing and gridning on each other, caressing each other, and locking lips as they sang about being head over heels.
Madonna sang the song’s chorus, while the rising rapper took on the verses in Spanish with Madonna accompanying her in English. See video below;
In an interview in the New York Times, the 26-year-old artist openly spoke about her bisexuality, carnal pleasures, drugs and urban rhythms.
As highlighted by the newspaper, most of her lyrics are “unpublishable,” due to the use of Dominican street slang, abundant sexual references and use of narcotics, although in recent interview Tokischa claims that she no longer uses drugs.
Tokischa is controversial, there is no doubt about it and that controversy has gained her plenty of media attention, for example;
She angered government officials and eliciting warnings about corrupting youth. She was fined for taking lingerie photos in front of the mural of the countries Paton saint “La Virgen de Altagracia” (Virgin of Altagracia) in the Dominican Republic’s La Vega province (Tokischa’s middle name is Altagracia).
The caption of her post read: “Sluts pray, too.” She issued a public apology, but she did not remove the post from her social media accounts.
Months later, Tokischa was at it again: “Soy La Santa Popola” (“I’m Saint Vagina”), she tells a journalist covering The Billboard Latin Music Awards red-carpet event.
The camera pans slowly revealing her outfit, from top to bottom, first view is a cross between a Conehead and a nun’s habit, then to the crucifix resting at her belly, to the chalice and spiritual hand of God drawn onto latex hanging between her legs.
According to a Dominican columnist, the rapper’s lyrics “disrespect a population that fights to preserve family values.”
Tokischa surprised many when she appeared in various American media outlets being interviewed in English. Check out her sit down with Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning to get to know her a bit more personally.