At a young age, PineappleCITI got a clear message on what her life was going to be devoted to--music. The New Jersey born and bred rapper has been focused on creating music since the tender age of 6 years old, however, many hurdles along the way have proven to test her determination and resilience. From a near-death experience that left her in rehabilitation for injuries to her legs, neck, ribs and more, to getting a sour introduction to the backstabbing nature that the music industry is often ridiculed of, PineappleCITI had plenty of opportunities to pack up and call it quits on her childhood dream, a move that many would've probably left unquestioned, but she never did.
Instead, she remains true to her goal that she set as a little girl in Brick City, and alongside the music, she speaks on love, divine purpose and living as a black, gay woman in today’s America.
Here’s my conversation with PineappleCITI:
So before we dive into all these different topics, for those who don't know, where does your name, PineappleCITI, come from?
“Well, I'm originally from Newark, New Jersey, and people call that Brick City. So my name is Brittany, and my dad has been a DJ since forever. I've been walking around with a rap book since I was, like, 6 years old. So he started calling me Britt City. City stuck around, but it changed mad times when I was growing up rapping.
“And then as I was making my first real project, I was with my friend one day, and we were eating some pineapples in a car. And I put my hair in a bun, and he was like, ‘Yo! When you put your hair in a bun, it looks like a pineapple!’ And I'm like, OK, clearly there's something wrong with you, what are you talking about? You know, it took me a minute. But then I sat back and thought about it, and I'm like, ‘Dang, Pineapple City!’ And then it just came together like that.”
Yeah, it has a great flow to it. I love the backstory. It's always interesting to hear how artists come up with their names, because that's a huge deal. I can only imagine the pressure.
“Word. The cool thing about my name was just how it came together. So it really just started to fit everything. Out of nowhere. It started to fit in the kind of music I was doing, it started describing me as a person, you know, pineapples are welcoming, inviting, and warm, all of those things. And it just really started to take shape and really be exactly who I was.”
Absolutely. Something that I really admired about what I read in your interviews was how transparent and vulnerable you’ve been about your personal journey and the challenges you’ve faced both with your accident in your personal life, and even some situations with your music career, yet you still continue to be positive about everything. So how do you feel like those types of challenges, that are so difficult, have given you an upper hand as opposed to letting them bring you down?
“Everything is a blessing, man. Everything is a lesson learned. This is gonna sound crazy, but I felt like God talked to me when I was six years old and told me exactly what I was supposed to be doing. And there were so many times in which I should have not made it past the circumstance that I was at, but my faith is what kept me going. I feel like everybody has a purpose in life. Everybody has something that they're supposed to do. When you know [what your purpose is], I feel like you're obligated to fulfill that. So I just have to get back up every time, because this is me. This is who I am. I don't know how to not do music. I don't know how to not keep going. I've been doing music since I was 6 years old, and I'm super passionate about it. So doing anything other than music just doesn't feel right.”
In your Paper Magazine interview, you said something super powerful, which was that as a young, black, gay and disabled woman, you're "everything Trump hates." It blew my mind when you said that because there was so much that was unsaid about what you said. And so with the way the political climate is right now, what would you tell someone who's feeling super defeated in our country, and maybe even attacked?
“I would just say that this is really just a storm that we're going through now, but we're all gonna get past it. I feel like this in my personal life: Everything happens for a reason. And sometimes you've gotta go through hell to get to heaven, you know what I'm sayin'? Like, in every sense of the word, and every way that America has fought for equality, there has been hardships. I mean, black people were sprayed with hoses, but look at where we are today. I’m not saying that we're perfect, but I feel like we just happen to be going in the right direction. And just as in people's personal lives, in real life, in the whole world, there's gonna be obstacles that we're all gonna have to get over. We're all gonna have to step up and say things that may be uncomfortable and have conversations that we don't wanna have. But I feel like this generation, we're crazy millennials or whatever, but I feel like we see something that maybe past generations didn't see. And I feel like we're going forward.”
I wanted to know--how would you define love?
“Love is the only thing that matters.”
Yeah. Very straight to the point and simple.
“Cause we can't get past things with hatred. You know what I'm sayin'?
“We have to forgive people. We have to, and it's hard. But it helps us grow. You know how they say holding on to negativity or not forgiving someone only puts a wall around you?
“But love enhances you. The more love you give to people, not just in relationships, but just the more love you give to people in general, it's a karma effect. It comes right back to you. It comes right back to the receiver.”
As a gay woman, have you faced any particular hurdles with the dating scene that you don't think gets talked about enough?
“I think that everyone who is a part of the LGBT community, they all go through a life-changing event. Or they all go through a time period in which they don't really know who they are. So they don't really know how to date. I remember when I was back in college, and I really had low self-esteem at the time, and all this positivity and stuff comes from me talking it into myself. So now I can spread it to everybody else.
“When I was in college my freshman year, or in high school, I was real insecure. I didn't really know who I was. And I remember girls would call me cute and stuff, and I thought they were crazy! I'm like, "What is wrong with you?" Like, "You like me?!" It sounds crazy, but that's how I felt. And so a lot of times lesbians who look like me, people have this connotation of, "Oh, you're a player. Oh, you get a bunch of girls," but I'm genuinely just not like that. I don't like to sleep around. I don't like to be promiscuous. I like to be with just one person. I think just growing up, you may not have seen a version of love that looks like the love you want. You know what I'm sayin'? So it's hard to really understand what you want. And it's OK because you get through it, and you figure out who you are. And that's that.”
I love how you touched on the journey it took for you to get from your insecurities to where you are now, because self-love is another huge message that I try to promote with readers. I think it's so crucial to any type of relationship that you attract into your life. So what's an important lesson that you've learned from your self-love journey that you could share with others?
“It's OK to make mistakes.”
“Ah, that's deep, right? It's really OK. Like, it's OK. You know how sometimes you just need somebody to tell you it's OK?”
Yeah! I needed you to say that to me. So thank you for that. Because I grew up thinking the opposite. So I was damn near my 30s and I was like, ‘Oh, wait, I'm allowed to fail. That's OK. The world won't blow up if I do something wrong.’
“I'm telling you this now, but it's something I gotta tell myself every day.”
“I think everybody has to tell themselves that. You've got to talk yourself into still being you. That's mad deep. You've gotta keep talking yourself into being you, because the world will mess you up and think, ‘Oh, this part of me other people don't like,’ or ‘This part of me, I don't like that I failed here,’ or ‘I didn't do as good as I thought I was gonna do here.’ But that's still you. You've gotta love all of the parts. Because they all make up the whole. And every up and down, you know, leads to your success story.”
So in your single, "I Need a Coupe," which, by the way, is very catchy and makes me do a little sway dance every time I hear it, you list off all kinds of different things that you need. But what do you need most in your life right now?
“Hmm. Wow, that's a deep one.”
I'm a pretty deep person. You know, I like to go there.
“Yeah, I'm trying to sum it up into one, cause, you know in the song, I need a bunch of stuff! But I think ... I think I need patience.”
Why is that?
“Because I feel like--this is me personally, but I feel like it goes for everybody--I don't celebrate myself enough. So I spend a lot of time waiting for my next success story instead of living in the moment and being patient with myself and where exactly I'm at. Because we're always exactly where we're supposed to be.”
Um. That was a bar. A few bars.
“Yeah, for real. But you know, I can say it to you, but it's one thing to live it.”
Absolutely. So my last question is what do you think is the problem with dating?
“The problem with dating is nobody wants to be vulnerable anymore. Nobody wants to make mistakes. Everybody wants the honeymoon stage to stay forever. And it doesn't. Relationships are things that are here to help us grow, help us mature into the people we're supposed to be. So live life, have fun, and don't be too serious, man. Just be you. That's it.”
Is there anything coming up that we need to keep an eye out for?
“Absolutely. My project Neon Blue. I'm just super excited about that, man, cause I'm just ready to take over the world and just inspire people along the way.”
You're already inspiring people, so know that, and it's just gonna blow up from here. I already feel it.
“Appreciate you. Thank you so much.”
Listen to Neon Blue now on all major streaming services.