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Hood Celebrityy live performance photo and Sound Check hero for web

SOUND CHECK with Jamaica Dancehall Queen HoodCelebrityy

May 202022

Before earning a major label record deal with Epic, playing sold-out shows, peaking at number 9 on the Billboard Reggae Albums and 22 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, and before the glamorous after-show parties, Jamaican dancehall singer-songwriter HoodCelebrityy worked at a clothing store on Fordham Road in the Bronx, New York. There, she freestyled for friends and store customers, impressing them with her flow, her charisma, and her tireless work ethic. Hood’s success story is part Cinderella, and part a lifetime of focused dedication on sharpening her talents.

This episode of Sound Check is a homecoming for Hoodcelebrityy as she performs for friends, family, and fans at the elegant Gramercy Theatre, a 499-capacity venue which she has sold out. You can feel the love and respect her community has for Hood, and she reflects that back through a stunning live performance filled with spectacular choreographed dance moves and her signature blend of hip-hop, pop, and reggaetón. In this segment, Hood proudly discusses her upbringing, her pride for being a Jamaican woman, and the profound influence her native culture has on her to this day.

Born Tina Pinnock in Jamaica, Hood and her family moved to the Bronx, New York when she was 12. She grew up in a strict religious household, and bootstrapped her way into a music career. She got her big break when her close friend Cardi B reposted one of her freestyling IG clips. As a shop girl, she was known as Hoodcelebrityy, and she took that name from the streets of the Bronx to the stages of sold-out shows. Along the way, she injected her Jamaican roots into New York’s vibrant hip hop culture, and, since then, the dancehall genre hasn’t been the same.

Before Celebrityy

During this segment, we sit back in the plush confines of a sleek, jet back SUV for an honest chat with HoodCelebrityy. While being chauffeured around pre-show, the bubbly artist talks about her roots of being a Jamaican kid finding her way in New York City. She also gushes about the excitement of being home and having her family supporting her.


The Sound Check video shares the glitz of the gorgeous Gramercy Theatre, gives us a glimpse into the luxurious solitude of being an artist getting ready to do a show, and it reveals the hard work it takes to put on Hood’s energetic show. We see contrasts of the backstage party with her KSR management team alongside shots of Hood fine tuning dance moves with her onstage posse. Throughout this portion, Hood talks about studying violin, her love and dedication to dance, and her Monster-fueled drive to stay active onstage and off. She also shows us what it takes to be a world-class performer—no matter what size the crowd is, she gives it her all.


What Is Dancehall Music?

Hood’s songs are often empowering female anthems with undeniable dancehall grooves. She cites inspirations such as New York rap royalty 50 Cent, and authentic Jamaican icons like Vybz Kartel and Lady Saw. Dancehall as a genre is an outgrowth of reggae music that originated in the late 1970s. Initially, it was a stripped-down version of reggae, but, since then, its infectious beats have been used by pop, hip-hop, and modern world music artists. Over time, digital instrumentation began to feature prominently in the music, paralleling the trend in pop and hip-hop music in America. By the 2000s, dancehall had become a big part of modern pop groove culture with big producers and artists building on its slinky beats. Hood leans into these sizzling grooves on her music, but she adds pop hooks, and a lean and mean hip-hop rhyme flow over the top. She salutes her Jamaican roots by furthering the tradition with her balmy dancehall-pop-hip-hop cocktail of sound.


Tina Versus HoodCelebrityy

Sound Check’s Hood-edition snapshots a superstar artist at the peak of her powers. Her vocal flow is fierce and her musicality is undeniable—an infectious mix of sun-splashed Jamaican culture and gritty, swaggering New York City hip-hop. Her onstage outfits are stunning and glamorous, and Hood glides through her dance moves with ease and elegance. It all looks so natural, but that kind of precision and polished performance takes a lifetime to put together, and many, many hours to maintain to keep the physical stamina.


During the Sound Check, we learn that Tina Pinnock is still there behind HoodCelebritty. Both are hyper, and ready-to-go spirits. Tina lets us into her daily life off-road, revealing many of her daily rituals. We won’t spoil the big reveal here, but we will say drinking tea at home is a favored ritual.


To date, HoodCelebrityy has released two Billboard-charting mixtapes in 2017, Can't Believe It's Just a Girl and Trap Vs. Reggae, and four singles, each racking up millions of spins, with 2018’s “Walking Trophy” up to 25 million-plus on Spotify. Many first got a glimpse of her talents through Cardi B, who in addition to posting her video on Instagram, included her on Cardi B's mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 2, on the song "Back It Up" which also featured Konshens. Hood’s fly style, her magnetic stage persona, and her many talents have earned her comparisons to legends Aaliyah and Left Eye, though HoodCelebrityy is always her own person: self-made through hard work and dedication to her multicultural musical vision. Currently, Hoodcelebrityy is readying new music for 2022.