On Wednesday, I caught up with Nickelus F on the phone right after he got home from work. He just released his album Heathen so an interview was due in my part. Blessed with a crazy rhyming pattern, flow & delivery, Nickelus F is pleased to cater to hip hop heads. In this interview he talks about his new album, his experience on 106 & Park’s Freestyle Friday, his music relations with Toronto’s own Drake, his soon-to-be twin baby girls and more.
Make sure you visit www.NickelusF.com for more on Nick!
hustleGRL: So how’s everything?
Nickelus F: Life is good yo, life is good. You know, I’ve got kids on the way, twins on the way. I just put out this new project [and] it’s getting a lot of positive feedback. Uh, I don’t know, things are good.
hustleGRL: So you just dropped your album “Heathen” and for me it’s like one of the best releases thus far this year. It’s really dope and I was just wondering how long did it take for you to put it all together?
Nickelus F: Truthfully really, it took about 2 years in total. That idea just dropped on my head one day. Look, I inspire to be somebody that people, you know what I’m saying, [can] look up to. I want to be a role model. So I’m sitting here for a second and I’m like: “Yo, how can I get myself across?” So one day I was driving out of town and it kind of got drawn in my head. I was like: “You know what? I’m going to make this project and I’m going to call it ‘Heathen’“. I kind of just put the word out to the producers that I work with they started hitting me and stuff and it just started coming together.
hustleGRL: Okay, so production is a really important factor and I find that it makes the listeners get in the zone. So while I was listening to your album, I [had] seen that you had an outstanding set of production. Which producers did you use for the songs on your album?
Nickelus F: Well I used – - the entitled track is done by Sneaka Freak. She’s dope. I’ve known her for a while; she’s a female producer and she’s just crazy. She has such a gutter, raw, heavy, you know, type of sound. So uh, she hit me with the joint [and] as soon as she hit me with the actual “Heathen” instrumental, I was like ‘wow‘. So I called her up immediately and I was like: “Yo, that’s going out; you got to let me have this. Let me get this in the cut“. Then I kind of just sat on the beat for a while. But anyways, then um Conrizzle who I’ve been working with for a long long time; me and Con go way back. Then Ivory; Ivory did a whole lot of it. It was cool working with him on it because he was like a really involved producer. He liked the whole concept and idea. He would hit me and we’d talk about what’s going on, you know what I’m saying and how, you know what I mean. He would hit me with a beat and we’d sit there and talk about it. You know what I’m saying, so then, then The Epics, those are my people from Virginia Beach. [It's] a band that I’ve been working with for years. That’s everybody that’s on the project pretty much. I’ve been working with them for a very long time and we’ve all grown together. Then also I have uh Lab Ox on there and he has a lot of good things going on in his career and all, and a lot of good records with major artists. So it was good to have him on that. Um, who else did I have on there? (Editor’s note: Up & coming producer M.Rell also took part of the project. He produced the Demon Talk beat) Then I had this guy Big Drew; he was just a person who just hit me up out the blue in my email address. He was like: “Yo, you should have this beat” and it was like out the blue and I had the beat for mad long. I always got some ideas I’d write to it and then this [song] came together. He did the last song, the “Hold You Down” record. Um, I’m making sure I’m not forgetting nobody. I think that’s pretty much all right now.
hustleGRL: It sounds like a lot of people took part in the project. You rap about a lot of pretty deep issues and situations; what was the hardest song to write?
Nickelus F: Um really, none of them were really that hard to write. [It's] kind of like the way I create [music]. I would kind of create in time; as things were going on, I would write about it. So there would be songs that I’d [write] the first verse, then I’d come up with the second verse for like 2 months later. Then I may come up with the third verse you know, 4 weeks before the album drops. You know what I’m saying, there were stuff like that, you know what I mean. I was pretty much comfortable with everything that I talked about. You know what I’m saying, because I know of everything that I talk about so none of the songs were actually difficult to write.
hustleGRL: That’s wassup. So has [being] an MC always been your passion or did you just wake up one day and say “I’m going to be an MC”. How did this all begin? You’ve been in the game for a long time; what really made you start?
Nickelus F: Oh my gosh, I’ve been rapping since I was [at] a very very young age. Its hard for me to remember exactly who the first rapper I heard was or any of that but I remember the time I was at a summer camp. It had to be like 4th grade [when] Kriss Kross was hot. So I was at the summer camp and we had to write a song; and a lot of the kids changed up the words to normal songs like “Mary had a Little Lamb” and all of that stuff. So we’d use the same pattern but just change up the words. So for some reason I decided to write a rap, you know what I mean. But this was young and I was writing little raps. But then I started reciting lyrics from then and on. Then I’m remember 6th grade and I officially picked it up; and I rapped on the LL Cool J beat…uh, I can’t remember what it is but it’s– oh yeah, its “Hey Lover”. I would write my first official song then at least. So it was a long time ago.
hustleGRL: At least you’re not like one of those other rappers that decided to rap because everyone else is doing it.
Nickelus F: Nah, at first — I mean it was just like a true love form. There’s a purpose behind it.
hustleGRL: That’s good. So I remember seeing you on 106 & Park for the Freestyle Friday and I know that you won all 7 rounds and got the hall of fame belt and everything. How that whole experience benefit your rap career? Did you get any record labels looking at you?
Nickelus F: 106 & Park was benefiting me like in the eye of people. But really for real, it didn’t really do much, you know what I’m saying. And I don’t mean it in a bad way but its like you know, I got some contacts out of it for real. That’s what it ended up like; I got some contacts. It was fun, it was a good experience. A lot of things didn’t get carried around much after this. You know, it was more or less an experience and I got a few contacts.
hustleGRL: Cool. Speaking of contacts, Drake is a big artist in Toronto and you happen to have a lot of collabos with him. Are we going to hear more new material from the two of you? Cause its been a minute since there’s been new songs featuring Drake.
(Editor’s note: Listen to Drake ft. Nickelus F – A Scorpio’s mind)
Nickelus F: Truthfully, I’m not necessarily sure when we’ll hear some new Drake. He’s a very busy man at this point of time and we’re both trying to work to get to a better place. So, when time will come, you know what I mean? He shows mad love and I got nothing but love for him yo. He’s my nigga yo.
hustleGRL: Fosho. We’re gonna go back and talk a bit more about your album. On the song “A New Day” featuring Ivory, you mention a situation with [who] I believe is your current girlfriend, saying she got pregnant and she showed you her pregnancy test. Can you go deeper [in talks] with that situation about everything that happened?
(Editor’s note: Listen to Nickelus F – A New Day)
Nickelus F: Yeah, I mean, it was a big eye opener for me, you know. But I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming either. I wasn’t necessarily surprised but that joint hit me. I was funny about it at first like anybody would be because I was nervous, but now, you know, it’s just an exciting thing, very exciting.
hustleGRL: So you’re having twins?
Nickelus F: Yeah, Twin girls. We’re still trying to settle on the names but we can’t agree on much. I want celebrity names, you know what I’m saying, I want some celebrity names. I got some creative things but everybody else is like: “ah, I don’t know F, you ain’t there yet”.
hustleGRL: Well, I’m a female listener of your music, I love your music. Do you find that you have an active female fan base?
Nickelus F: Do I feel I have a what? An active female fan base?
hustleGRL: Yeah like, do you find that a lot of females listen to your music? Would you know?
Nickelus F: Yeah, I actually do know and it surprises me. A lot of the times, I — it’s kind of hard for me to cater necessarily to the female audience. Its not necessarily that its hard but I do what I feel, you know and its based on how I’m feeling. So, you know, I keep it real organic. I try, I do other things and that’s going to come with time. In fact, in fact yo, I got something that the females will love coming later on in the year; about around summer time. In a few months, I will be putting out a project that I feel the females will love.
hustleGRL: Yeah, because I notice [that] you don’t do a lot of “female love songs” and stuff.
Nickelus F: Yeah, I mean for real, its not about that with me. Like I said, it’s all about a message or a point I’m trying to get across and I realize like one thing — okay here’s one thing after 106 & Park. It also let me realize that I had a big influence on certain people, like other individuals that do a lot of rap. There are rappers that are trying to reach goals and what not. They look up to me in certain ways so I had to — I realized my force, and I wanted to be positive with it. [That] is basically what I’m saying.
hustleGRL: What can we look forward to in the next 6 months? Do you have any other mixtapes that you’re gonna drop? Are going to be touring? Any shows? Any music videos?
Nickelus F: Yeah we got a — I got 2 more projects lined up coming up. One of the projects’s called “RARE”, that’s another thinker. Then I have a project coming up in the summer time called “The Silverust”. That’s gonna be crazy. We got a nice band and it’s produced by my man Kid Icarus from VA Beach and it’s fun music, its just fun. It’s a whole other side of me. I’ll let you know me in one way then in a few months, I’ll show you a whole other side of me and a whole other light of me. So I have those projects coming out. I have lots of shows lined up, with the band actually. We have a lot of shows lined up. We have a video coming. I got plenty of videos coming for the Heathen, for the freestyles. I’m just trying to stay as active as I possibly can.
hustleGRL: Okay, that’s wassup. This is one of the few last questions: where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Nickelus F: 5 years? Truthfully, just to tell you the truth, in 5 years I see myself in my prime. I see myself happy and I see myself, I don’t know. I feel like I’m on the verge of something. I wake up everyday anxious because I feel like this is a big year for me, you know. I’ve got a lot of positive energy right now.
hustleGRL: I’m going to end it here, do you have any last words? Any shout outs?
Nickelus F: I wanna shout out all the blogs that have been showing support. That has been key this year, I really appreciate that, all the websites. I wanna thank all of the fans, shout them out because they reach out and they talk to me. That’s the good thing about my fan base, they’re very interactive, they hit me up, they talk. I want to shout out Rayni Day, my man Radio B, Hijynx, shout to VA as a whole, I wanna shout out my man Drizzy Drake and uh, I think that’ll be all. That’ll be all the shout outs.
I really appreciate it. I’ve been getting a lot of love lately. Thank you for everything. I appreciate the love. I guess that I’ll hit you up on the Twitter in the AM. I saw that you hit me. Alright another thing, if I — Oh! Thank you for one! Yo, thank you! I gotta thank you! Ah I should of thanked you in the interview. Put it in there, put it there. I want to thank you because, you saved me. I did not realize that I had posted my number on the Twitter jawn. I did not realize. I thought I had sent a direct message and I didn’t know yo. I’m so glad you saved me yo because I guess it was still early [in the morning] so I didn’t get any weird calls.