The name is familiar, but you have a hard time matching it to a face, which is understandable considering most of us haven’t heard from Virginia’s Nickelus F since 106 and Park. After toiling through the underground rap scene for awhile, it looks as if Nickelus has taken on a new frame of mind concerning his career and looks to attack the upcoming year with the same perfectly timed aggressiveness that routinely destroyed his battle rap competition of the past. This more business minded approach looks like it’s coming at just the right time to help Nickelus F finally take that leap to becoming a mainstream star.
How would you describe your label situation?
I’m currently still unsigned, but I think that’s the route that I want to go. At the top of the year I’ll probably do a one off situation and drop an official album in the stores yet which I haven’t doesn’t yet and eventually move to a major later in the year.
What made you want to go independent instead of shopping yourself for a major label deal?
It’s just more or less the type of movement that we got going and it’s the type of music that I want to do. It really just seems like the smarter route. I want to go to the majors, but when I go I want to get a respectable deal and be respected, so it’s kind of like its best to go to them with numbers already because who get good major deals a lot of the time already have numbers on independent labels.
Does it ever get frustrated to be out for so long without ever actually dropping an official album?
Yea you could say that, but the thing is earlier on I was making the music and outing it out without ever realizing how far it was really reaching. I can say that we seriously began pursuing and tackling things around the beginning of 2009 and we’ve been putting music out and having the different approaches to it. Anything before that is kind of like I was doing it and putting it out, but not necessarily focused on the business side of it. A lot of it was just for the love, but it started growing a lot and now it’s at the point where it’s like let’s do it for real.
Comparing yourself earlier in your career would you say your music style has changed or just your business approach?
The music style has changed in certain ways, but the thing about me and what I’ve always been is a free spirit when it comes to the type of things I record and the genres that I like to go into; Recently over the last year though it has been a lot more polished and appealing to a wide range of people. The music has changed, but also the mindset in terms of what our goals are.
How would describe your style as of today?
As of right now what I’m working on is fun, real to life music and it’s a lot more, full sounding. We’re working with a lot more live instruments now a days and just trying to round the sound out a lot more. I mess around with a lot of different styles and I have a band that I perform with down in Virginia Beach called the …, very talented, and I have a whole album worth of music with them that we haven’t put out yet, but that’s going to be for the spring time and we plan on going major with that project. That’s why at the top of the year we want to do the independent thing and then go major with the band music. It’s a lot more up tempo and fun as opposed to the other music I make where it has that traditional hip hop sound.
So what are some of your current projects?
I put out Commercials and I put out Season Premiere HD, which you can get from my website, nickelusf.com. Those are both being received very well and pretty much for the rest of the year I’m going to be putting out videos to promote the songs off of those projects while I’m working on the new music.
Have you done any shows or touring to promote Season Premiere HD?
Yea we’re doing a lot of shows especially in the past two or three months when it’s really been picking up. That’s just the main thing that’s really important because that’s where we’re living and eating right now with the shows and the features. That’s where the videos come in because they really help out with the visuals. I’ve come to find that I have pretty large pockets of fans all over the United States and we’re just trying to get out to all those areas. Right now the areas that we’re really frequenting are between New York and Virginia, but we have some shows coming up in Cleveland, Connecticut, the LA area, and down in Florida. We’re definitely trying to spread it all out.
What are your thoughts on how the important the internet has been in the development of your career so far?
The internet has been instrumental on my career because of the fact that where I’m at there at there are no powerhouses, so I’m not going to be walking down the street and bump into a Russell Simmons or stumble upon an Akon who can give us an opportunity and it’s hard to get onto the radio out here, so the internet has been huge in helping me get my name out there because there are no strings and no rules attached. With the internet you can just put it out there and promote where to get it form and it spreads.
How would you say being a great freestyle battler has helped and even hindered your career?
It definitely helped a lot because of exposing me to a lot of different people, especially 106 and Park. I wouldn’t necessarily say it hurt, but it does put a stigma on you. As long as people think something of you, you have an opportunity to change it. I’m an artist before I’m a battle rapper, but I have that stigma and I think that has driven me as an artist to get better and to grow so I can cast that stigma off.
What separates you from any other rappers out there?
What separates me has a lot to do with my work ethic. When I get into the booth I’m not fabricating or selling people a dream, I’m giving people myself because I want to give people something they can stand behind too; something that they can relate to and take to use in their daily life because it speaks to somebody. I get a lot of mail and emails from people who refer to me as a big brother or father type role because I speak on a lot of real things in a real way and they can listen to me and pick up on a few things. I like to make my music from the heart and help people. There’s a lot of different music out here, some of it is for entertainment and some of it is food for the soul. I prefer to give people food for the soul.
Words by Michael Mahon