“I Can’t Fumble”: An Interview with Thomas Who?

OKC "Lounge God" brings epic year in for a landing with new Dr. View album collaboration 'Perennial'

Thomas Who? has been pushing himself to new heights in 2021. His weekly Who’sDay singles series (released every Tuesday) haven’t missed a step, and by the end of the year, it will be host to 52 new Thomas Who? tracks. He also turned heads with his contribution to Fire in Little Africa, the Tulsa-based commemorative film and music project created to carry the legacy of Greenwood a century after the Tulsa Race Massacre. He has put together events ranging from monthly hip-hop programming for Hubbly Bubbly Hookah Lounge to The Big Show in October. He even got a big shout from a Michelin Award winning chef this year. Still, like a holiday feast, there was still somehow room for more.

Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, Thomas Who? co-released Perennial, a new record that sees the rhymesmith emcee joining forces with FILA producer Dr. View to form Dr. Who?. It’s yet another project that doesn’t miss, and you can stream it everywhere now.

The following interview was conducted for a feature in the Oklahoma Gazette, which you can read here.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: What inspired the new Dr. Who project?

Thomas Who?: My relationship with View. We connect on a kindred spirit level. I respect him, I honor our brotherhood, and I am inspired by how he gets shit done. He produces at an elite level, and he trusts my ability. It was a no brainer. We have an appreciation of Hip Hop from a sincere space. We do not want to simply make music. We want to make a contribution to music. We want to make music that people would have listened to 100 years ago and will want to hear 100 years from now.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: How does collaboration play into your work? 

Thomas Who?: It gives me a chance to learn from my peers. It gives me a chance to be in the room with people who see nothing and then decide to make something out of it. Artists are crazy, but we are not isolated. We needed our Danger Room. I tried to Professor X some shit.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: What is your writing process for collaborating with other artists? 

Thomas Who?: On the spot, in the room, creating energy, feeding off of all of the pressure and competitive urges that craft this amazing thing. 

Make Oklahoma Weirder: What led you to start the #WhosDay weekly song project in 2021? 

Thomas Who?: I saw Jacobi Ryan do it last year on a grander scale–song, visual, podcast every week. It was impressive, and I knew with my schedule I wouldn’t be able to do it on that level. However, I felt that I could be present in the culture without having to drop an album. I could present without having to be in the room.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: Did you always plan on having so many features throughout this project? 

Thomas Who?: Yes, I always saw it that way. Niggas have to leave their ego at the door and focus on the art. It’s art!!! We have so much talent in this place. Oklahoma has a Hip Hop culture. It’s flavored with Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, and all of the influences that we have by way of being in the middle of the country. If we plan on making the country take us seriously, it can not be about who’s name is bigger on the fucking flyer. It has to be about who is willing to create the most objectively dope thing possible. I hoped to show my peers what I have learned throughout my journey. However, I was blessed by being able to learn from those who I collaborated with.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: Are you creating these songs as you go, or have you had them ready well ahead of time? 

Thomas Who?: It’s all organic, and as we get closer to the end, the pressure mounts. I try to be level-headed, but I can’t help but think there are people in the scene who are waiting for me to fumble. I can’t fumble. I gotta see this through. Even if that assertion is a result of paranoia, it still motivates me to see it through.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: Any favorite tracks so far?

Thomas Who?: Honestly, I’m so busy creating that I haven’t had a chance to listen back. I know that sounds cliché, but I promise you I mean that.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: What has this project taught you? 

Thomas Who?: When ego dies, art flourishes.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: How would you describe your musical style? 

Thomas Who?: I’m The Lounge God. I don’t make club music. I make music you sit and smoke hookah and weed to. I make music you roadtrip to. I make music that makes you consider various sides of life. I make music that lets hip hop know what it means to me. I make music from the 80’s and the babies. I am fervently pursing being timeless, leaving my DNA on the landscape of Hip Hop in this city and state. I make objectively good art.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: What is your artist identity? 

Thomas Who?: I am who I am.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: How does fatherhood factor into your work? 

Thomas Who?: It holds me accountable, and it reminds me of who I’ve grown into. I made every bad decision, and it is by grace alone that I’ve survived it. I holler at Jesus on the regular with gratitude for giving me my children, my woman, and my family.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: How has Fire in Little Africa affected your career? 

Thomas Who?: It gave me an opportunity to shine brighter than I am currently capable of providing for myself. It also confirmed thoughts that I have had regarding the record business. It was a blessing.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: Why did you decide to release “Postmortem” on July 4th last year? 

Thomas Who?: Because our country needed a gift on its birthday.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: What are you up to with Hubbly Bubbly these days? 

Thomas Who?: I was blessed with an opportunity to become a partner, and I seized that opportunity. This gives me an opportunity to foster our culture from a grass roots level. I think that place is special. It was before I had anything to do with it. I think that we can push to make it as legendary as it feels.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: What other projects do you have your hands in? 

Thomas Who?: Too many. Just know that I’m constantly working and that work ethic will not cease.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: What are your thoughts on Oklahoma hip-hop in 2021? 

Thomas Who?: We have brilliance of various levels, in various genres, supplying various listeners. I’d say that we are special. I’d say that those who have the platforms are willing to share them with those who can truly contribute to the culture. We are dope as fuck, and I would pick us over anyone.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: What are your long-term goals with hip-hop?

Thomas Who?: To honor it till I pass. To contribute to it. To help young niggas get 10 times further than I was at their age. I want to have a servant’s heart regarding the art. If I can keep those intentions pure, then it will make a way for me. 

Make Oklahoma Weirder: Anyone you want to shout out?

Thomas Who?: View, Jacc, Skanes, Bonez, Jacobi, Flow, Savion, BASH, KO, SoufWess, Barbie, Brandy, Banner, Nia, Cortney, Tony, Phil, Trip, Dollasign, LoudMouf, Sundeep, T-Mayes, Chop, Poe, Josh, PAEME/GMG Conway, Steeze, Shaheed, Bishop, Christian, SoulFly, Los, Corrina, Mama, Trell, Reggie, Bek, X, Kebry, ET, King, Jesus, and Everybody Black.

Make Oklahoma Weirder: Anything else you want to add? 

Thomas Who?: I want to thank you Jarvix for your contributions to our music scene and willingness to utilize resources that your platform provides to shine light on myself and my culture. If you listen to my music I am truly grateful. If you do not, you should. 

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aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.

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