Music

Meet PineappleCITI, the New Jersey rapper on a mission to spread good vibes

© Red Bull Records
By Chris Parkin
After surviving a near-fatal car crash, the New Jersey rapper is back with a new label and her brand-new single, Recognize. We found out how she's blazing a trail of positivity on her way to the top.
Brittany Dickinson is back in the game. The New Jersey rapper known as PineappleCITI first made a splash in 2016, receiving major props for her singles Pepsi and Rose Colored – both of which appeared on her self-titled debut album of old-school-meets-new-generation rap finesse. But a serious car crash put the hip-hop dreams she’s been making a reality since the age of six on ice.
Fast forward three years and a recovered PineappleCITI is making up for lost time. In the past year, she’s written for Kelly Rowland and Yo Gotti, released her banging second album, neonBLUE, and is newly signed to Red Bull Records. Now she’s releasing her latest single, the defiant, limelight-grabbing Recognize.
“I’ve been doing this since I was six years old and have gone through various trials and tribulations, as most people have to get where they’re at,” says PineappleCITI. “At this point, with me signing with a new label, and everything else I’m doing, it’s time to recognise me, you know what I'm saying? Also, I feel there’s a lot of people out there that need to be recognised for what they’re doing.”
And who's going to ignore her? PineappleCITI is like a force of nature. As a gay, female rapper of colour, who's battled disability since her crash, she's using the positive Jedi mind tricks that got her through the tough times to inspire her community and put a smile on her fans' faces just as she once did as a member of show choirs.
We spoke to PineappleCITI as she kicks off the next stage of her career. Get ready to be charmed.
A photo of new Red Bull Records signing PineappleCITI.
PineappleCITI brings the sunshine
PineappleCITI radiates good vibes
“I’m definitely a Positive Patty. I learned from the things I’ve been through that it’s important to maintain a positive attitude. That has a lot to do with my faith and just believing that life is inherently good. Like, anything that happens is supposed to happen. We don’t really see all the pieces on the chessboard, but everything kind of works itself out. I also believe in manifestation and in believing in yourself and the power of your mind and putting your best foot forward. When I got in the car crash, that’s when my positivity went to another level because I had to force myself to keep going.”
PineappleCITI is making up for lost time now
“I’m just trying to live every day like it’s my last. You know how much you use your foot, but you don’t ever realise how much you need your foot until it’s gone? I was out in LA about two weeks ago on a songwriting camp and we were playing basketball. I had to catch myself – it was so surreal, that I was running up and down the court, and that was the first time I played basketball since my accident. Even in that moment, right there, that instilled in me to believe in myself.”
For some reason Jersey is left out of history – nobody speaks on it
PineappleCITI
PineappleCITI's outlook is similar to her Wu-Tang hero RZA's
"RZA is dope. I feel like there's not a lot of people in the industry who think beyond the music they’re making, you know? Understanding that there is more to life and how we can all contribute to it in a positive way. I think RZA is an important figure who puts that at the forefront of everything he does. And there are more artists coming out now with this positivity, like Megan Thee Stallion – she’s dope. The fact that she can make the type of music she’s making, which is amazing, and then come out and say, 'you gotta stay in school, work hard on your degree', and putting positive vibes into the atmosphere.”
Not that she wants all rap to be sunshine and flowers
“There are people who talk about the struggle and there are those that talk about rising above it. I feel like art is art. At the end of the day, as long as you’re doing your thing to make music your outlet and put your art out there… like, I love drill music, man. I love all kinds of different music. One of my favourite albums right now, and this is not drill, but I love Young Thug’s album. It’s so fire. But then I’m waiting on Kanye’s Christian album, too. They all have their own part to play in the world and anyone who’s inspired to make music, whatever they make is dope to me."
Hip-hop runs deep in PineappleCITI's family
“My dad, my grandfather, my stepfather – they all DJ. I had a whole bunch of music around me all the time. I used to go down to North Carolina to family reunions and do talent shows and I would walk around with my dad all the time carrying my rap book, just writing my rhymes, listening to the stuff he would play. He would remix songs, add his own beats, and I’d write raps to them. He played hip-hop and Jersey house. My grandfather was the same – hip-hop and house, but old-school stuff from the '70s and '80s. He’s still doing it right now. He’s got his own online virtual DJ show, don’t ask me how."
PineappleCITI has plans beyond music
“I want to write books, I want to be a motivational speaker, I want to do a lot of stuff with autism speech, because I have a brother and sister who have autism. There’s a lot I want to do to spread love in the community, where I’m from. Like right now, our water is worse than in Flint, Michigan. I know that music is my avenue to get in, but I want to inspire the world as much as I can.”
New Jersey means a lot to her
“It’s everything to me. Jersey has a lineage of legends. And for some reason, it’s left out of history. Nobody speaks on it. I think there was an awards show a couple of months ago where they did a shout out to Jersey, and that was super dope, but we really have legends. Like, female legends. Queen Latifah,Faith Evans, Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill. It’s embedded in my spirit, in my soul, that I have to aim for their level of greatness. To really take it to that level again, because Jersey isn’t recognised in the way it should be.”
Music is my avenue to get in, but I want to inspire the world as much as I can
PineappleCITI
PineappleCITI is all about black excellence and self-improvement
“I read a lot of books. Like, self-improvement books. I think that’s where a lot of my motivation comes from to help people. The Seat Of The Soul by Gary Zukav – that's an amazing book. It's about living in the moment, using the power of the mind, meditation, and speaking positivity into our lives. I actually have a meditation centre in my house; there’s a whole room with blue statues and floor cushions. I just tried to float in Pasadena, too. It’s a sensory deprivation tank where you’re in pitch darkness for an hour; it just clears your mind."