Growing up in Federal Way, Iggy “Thistlewhite” Medani has been exposed to a multitude of backgrounds and diversity in the town. The up-and-coming artist has been a hip-hop fan for his entire life. With an open mind to different backgrounds, the young musician has been able to inherit styles from all different areas of hip-hop.
An old friend of mine, I was able to catch up with the Federal Way born, Ellensburg based rapper this past weekend for a quick interview on what he’s working on. With a ton of projects on the way, Thistlewhite has had an interesting come up that is more than worth diving into.
RMR’s Exclusive Interview with Federal Way’s Thistlewhite
*This Interview Has Been Edited For Clarity*
RMR: It’s been a long time man! First things first, how long have you been creating music for?
Thistlewhite: I’ve been making music since eighth grade for fun, but I didn’t start focusing on creating solid work until high school. Once I got to Central Washington University I really began to take it seriously in my sophomore year.
RMR: What inspired you to begin making music?
Thistlewhite: Well the very first rap song I ever heard was “Chamillionaire” by Ride Dirty. When I heard it I was like “Damn, this shit is crazy.” It really pushed me to explore the possibilities in music. 2000’s hip-hop has always had a place in my heart. Artists like Lil Wayne, Drake, and musicians like that. I always knew I wanted to create music, but I had one foot in and one foot out. To be honest I was super nervous about my parents beefing with me.
RMR: Now that you’re making music seriously, do you still worry about your parents?
Thistlewhite: Yeah, I still do worry about what my parents think. I don’t think they want me to be an artist. My dad knows I make music, but not the extent of dropping music videos and singles. I still worry about it to this day.
RMR: What other artists besides your first have helped to inspire your music to this point?
Thistlewhite: There’s a ton of artists that inspire my work, but not in the ordinary way. I like to find commonalities between my favorite artists and find ways to combine them to create my own style. I love artists like Playboi Carti, Drake (still), and Nav. These guys all have their own sound, and it inspires me to find my own individual style.
RMR: Alright, so you mentioned that you always messed around with music until your sophomore year. What was the turning point?
Thistlewhite: In my second year I just wanted to really push the envelope and create something I could be proud of. I went out and bought a snowball mic and downloaded beats off of YouTube and just got started. I got GarageBand on my laptop and asked my friends to make cover art for my singles. It just kept going from there.
RMR: What inspired you to take the next step in creating music videos?
Thistlewhite: I met my friend named Segun. He has a group of friends who would squad up and rap together named the Club House Collective. We were all homies and all had a unique story to tell. I wasn’t that serious straight away, and I asked Segun if he thought I was good enough to get on with their team. He hyped me up and helped me a lot with my confidence, and he really helped change the game for me.
RMR: How has the northwest affected or inspired your art?
Thistlewhite: To be honest the northwest didn’t really influence my music. I always would listen to artists from Chicago, Atlanta and LA. It’d be dope to mix and match all these attributes into one style. Besides that, I guess the main way the NW rubbed off on me was the people around me and the vibes that I could pick up on. All the music I make are the real experiences that I’ve gained through everyone I’ve met here.
RMR: Tell me about some of your very first projects that you worked on at CWU?
Thistlewhite: My freshman year I created my First Quarter mixtape. The next year I created the follow up titled “Second Quarter”. However, I lost all Soundcloud password for that account at the same time my friend’s laptop got wiped with all the work on it. I ended up losing both mixtapes and decided to start putting out singles instead to gain traction. Up until this point I have a total of around 10 singles.
RMR: Out of those 10, what are your top three favorite tracks that you’ve released?
Thistlewhite: Damn, that’s a good question. I really love “Undercover” produced by my guy Boola. When I met him, I really started to go hard. Funny story, I actually met him the day after I mentioned I needed a producer. He was sitting in front of me in my class and he was mixing on his laptop, and we connected from there. It was so perfect and genuine, I knew we had to follow up.
Along with “Undercover”, I really like my songs “Guava and “Nice”. The latter of which was alongside my guy Segun and another Federal Way rapper Ronnie Shest. It was dope to be able to collaborate alongside an artist from the same town.
RMR: What do you have planned up next?
Thistlewhite: I just put out a new single titled “Wavy Shit“. It has a super dope music video alongside it directed by GGERCAI VISUALS. We worked really hard on it and I’m excited to see where it goes.
RMR: Are you looking to expand into performing in concerts?
Thistlewhite: Yeah, totally. I just had a performance at a spot in E-burg named Pounders. It was a great turnout and a ton of fun. I’m still looking for places to perform at, including another popular spot in Ellensburg named Old Schools. It’s going to be dope once I start to get more venues.
RMR: In 5 years, where do you want to see your career?
Thistlewhite: Honestly, I just want to see myself happy. Being able to create art and give it to people to enjoy, it’s a special thing. In 5 years I want to be able to see myself continue to create and love life while doing it. With that, a Billboard top hit would be great, too.
RMR: Anything else you want to add on?
Thistlewhite: A big shoutout to Federal Way, Club House Collective and Boolah– the best producer in Washington.