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Q&A With Rising NYC Hip Hop Artist Nels

Q&A With NYC Rising Hip Hop Artist Nels

What’s up Nels! Much respect on your new EP. You are really bringing something completely different to the Hip Hop game today! Where area NY are you from , how long have you been making music & how did you end up getting your MC name?

I’m originally from Washington Heights in uptown Manhattan (NYC). I was the first person in my family born in the US after they came over from the Dominican Republic.

I feel like I’ve been making music my whole life. Lol. It all started when I was a kid singing all the time. Then I would write raps as a teenager with my friends and we’d battle in the lunch room. But I’ve been recording as a serious artist since 2012.

My rap name is just a rendition of my actual name. My friends used to call me Nels all the time for short so it just stuck.

What makes you different compared to other MC’s int he game today?

I believe I’m different from MC’s today in the fact that my content is different. You hear the emotion in the music and you see how cleverly I tell my story. I’m from the birthplace of hiphop so the culture and its entirety mean the world to me and I was put here to help preserve the culture for what it really is: witty, gritty, emotional, and clever (with wordplay).

A lot of rappers who tend to get big completely disappear from their local communities and never give back! What is your take on that, and lets say you hit it major one day, what will you do?

I think that’s bullshit. Excuse my french. Your community molded you into who you are. They most likely were the first ones to support you as an artist. How can you turn your back on them? If by God’s grace I’m ever in a financial situation where I can contribute a good-sized portion of my wealth, I plan to do so. I’m tired of schools closing down or kids in the inner city not having the same opportunities as others who are more privileged. I’m sick of seeing children with no books or toys and families without food. If every artist, professional athlete, business mogul, and actor did something to help A community, any community that’s less fortunate, this country would be a much better place.

Please breakdown the creative process of your latest EP “Lost In The Days”. And tell us a little about the producer to this EP Rob Relish.

I’ll start with Rob. Thats my dude right there. I originally met him when we used to work in a restaurant. I told him I make music and he said he did to. That night we checked each others work out and got in contact immediately after and got to business. He’s super talented with the beats and he’s a monster with mixing and mastering so I’m blessed he even took my music seriously. The creative process was cool because it was all so new to me. I would head to Rob’s house where the studio was and he would put on a vinyl record and we’d just kick it. Maybe sip a little brew or smoke some trees while we got our minds right. Then out of nowhere rob would walk over to his turntables and mpc and start making magic. Before this I had never seen anyone rock the turntables live, nor had I seen anyone sample live from record to mpc. Eventually he would have a “shell” or “rough draft” for me to write to. I’d vibe out to the beat whenever I got the chance and I’d come up with some ideas and verses for the next time we got together to record. After recording my vocals he’d then go back to the track we worked on and he would start playing with the beat again. Fixing it, changing it, or making it sound completely different. Lol. Then after a few days, or weeks, we’d have a dope song.

What are you looking forward to for 2017? Anything you going to be doing differently compared to past years?

2017? I’m looking forward to a lot. Like growing my fan base and marketing my brand better. Really I’m just very focused on making more quality music and getting my merchandise game up. Everything has been slowly but surely unfolding in my favor and I’d like to be ready for what ever opportunities present themselves.

Any pressuring situations before you decided to push your latest EP? Did everything work out according to plan? Did it really take you 2+ years to make a EP???…LOL

maaaann, yes it took like 2 years to finish the EP. Hahaha. With that being said, it’s safe for you to assume that nothing went according to plan during the making of this EP. Between computer glitches, equipment malfunctions, re-recording sessions, work (like actual jobs), car accidents, me becoming a father and all other real life stuff that can happen to a person; I almost felt like the EP wasn’t going to happen. But you know what? We got it done AND the project came out really dope so I’m not even mad.

Being from New York, how has your city influenced your Hip Hop career?

Like I mentioned before I’m from the birthplace of hiphop. I grew up listening to people battle or freestyle or just rocking microphones at parties along with whatever spanish music my mom was blasting in the house. Lol. But honestly NY made me who I am today. Damn near every aspect of me. From how I move, to how I talk, how I dress to how I want my music to sound.

Rappers nowadays think by throwing up a few videos up on social media and pushing quick projects, they can blow up overnight! Give us your view on how over saturated the market is right now with so many MC’s/Producers but not to many quality music.

We all wish to “get rich quick”. A lot of people want to be successful but don’t want to put the time and effort in. Hell, some people don’t even care if their songs all sound exactly the same or like someone else’s for that matter. They don’t realize that labels pretty much already want a packaged artist before trying to work with them. Do you have a following? You doing shows? Social media presence? Have you sold any merchandise? Do you engage well with your fans? Is your music real? Are you transparent in your music? Or are you just trying to get rich? Cuz people can spot a fake. I’ve done my research and really am out here putting work in. Networking, engaging with potential new fans, working 2 or 3 jobs so that I can not only invest in my brand but take care of my family as well. This is my life, believe it or not. Some people are doing this to be famous. I do this for my love of music, my unfathomable infatuation with the culture, and because it’s an amazing feeling when a complete stranger reaches out to me to say they really like my music and that they really feel what I have to say.

How often do you perform LIVE. Shows lined up in the near future?

Unfortunately I haven’t been performing as much as I’d like lately. But that’s not to say I haven’t been working. I’m constantly writing, recording or busy bringing ideas into fruition. As far as shows for the future, I have a couple local shows lined up for around spring break.

Where do you see yourself in 5yrs time?

In five years I see myself touring and doing film whether it be movies or tv. I’ve been told I have a phenomenal voice plus I write scripts, produce, film and edit video so entertainment is right up my alley.

Here it is! Our most popular question! What is your definition of “underground hip hop”?

my definition of underground hiphop is music or hiphop that has yet to be tainted by mainstream music or media. It isn’t backed or consigned by major labels. Because of that the masses don’t get the opportunity to hear it unless they personally search for it. Underground is real. Underground is raw.

Where can people find you on the web? Drop all the vital links.

people can hear my music at: http://www.youtube.com/nelstheartist, http://www.soundcloud.com/nelstheartist, https://open.spotify.com/album/6HJSw0NXIaML5k7gl9Rmee, or on my personal website http://www.NelsTheArtist.com

Lastly, and shout out?

First of all, s/o to the higher powers that allow us to walk this earth. Big s/o to my dude Rob Relish. Without him I wouldn’t be the artist I am today. S/o to my brothers sketch, Kev, and Double A for believing in me and rockin with me during the making of LITD. But most importantly shout out to the whole UGHH camo.

About Armando Urena Jr

Senior Publisher for @UGHHBLOG // Been an Underground Hip Hop fan all my life and I'm dedicated to keeping the culture alive on a daily basis. Working hard every day and staying positive is what LIFE is all about.