Trinity Home was born on March 15, 1995 in Calumet City, Illinois. Her mother, Renae, a gospel singer, and her father, Thomas, a record producer, met in Chicago where they were postal workers. Home was nicknamed Tink by friends in elementary school and she has used the name ever since. Tink started singing in church when she was five years old and began writing songs at age 11, including some for her father's friends. She attended high school at Chicago's Simeon Career Academy where she participated in talent shows and joined the school choir. She counted English as one of her favorite subjects because it helped her become a stronger writer. She started rapping and recording music in her father's basement studio at the age of 15. At age 16, she and her brother posted a clip of her freestyling over Clipse's "Grindin'" to Facebook and received local buzz.
Tink's career officially began with the release of her 2012 mixtape, Winter's Diary, while she was still in high school. She followed that up with two more mixtape releases in 2012, Alter Ego and Blunts & Ballads. In 2013, she released her fourth mixtape, Boss Up, and guested on Future Brown's debut single "Wanna Party". The buzz surrounding her mixtape releases and her feature with Future Brown led to meetings with record executives in Los Angeles in 2013. At the time, Tink noted that she was comfortable staying independent.
Tink's next mixtape, Winter's Diary 2: Forever Yours, was named the eighth-best R&B album of 2014 by Rolling Stone and the ninth-best R&B album of 2014 by Billboard. Tink performed with Sleigh Bells at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2014, and the acts released a joint single, "That Did It," later that year. She also collaborated with Kelela on a song titled, "Want It", and with Jeremih on a song titled, "Don't Tell Nobody" in 2014. Tink signed with Timbaland's Mosley Music Group, an imprint of Epic Records, in October of that year. Her debut studio album is scheduled to be released in 2015 and was preceded by the single "Ratchet Commandments". Timbaland made headlines in 2015 by indicating at SXSW that Aaliyah had appeared to him and described Tink as "the one." Tink would later perform an unreleased track that incorporated Aaliyah's "One in a Million".