When it comes to the UK rap game, people often have artists in two camps: the creators of grime such as Dizzee Rascal, Skepta, Jammer, and then almost everyone who has come since is classed as the new school. Only thing is, the newer artists are often accused of jumping on sounds that are just seen as trends and compromising what made grime so exciting and original in the first place. Not an argument you could lay at Nics, who is every part worthy of North London’s rich heritage within this scene. Very quickly picking up support from Kiss FM and GRM Daily, this genre-fluid rapper and producer is proof there are characters the grime forefathers can proudly pass the baton to.
Nics helps to distil the unfortunate stereotype that grime is all about aggression and gritty-living when he tells me he’s spent the afternoon “at a rollerskating event with my cousin and my brother. It’s been nice vibes today!”
But with that said, I’m keen to know his thoughts about his native Tottenham being such a rich source of talent for UK rap throughout the years, and how he feels he fits into that (no pressure).
“Yeah, Skepta, JME, Chip, Wretch 32, quite a few names,” he concurs. “Chip is a big inspiration for his versatility, and the way Wretch tells a story and conveys his message is a big influence for me too.” And does he feel like a baton is passing between them and him? “I'm gonna say yeah, in a sense, definitely. Especially when my sound is very unique. I definitely have some sort of responsibility to elevate the sound a bit more from where they've left it off.”
And while these kinds of artists are lauded for their ability with a microphone, Nics has quite a few things to put on his CV — he is also a producer, mixing engineer, a DJ, and a video editor and animator; the latter two skills have seen him employed by Universal to work on music videos. This multi-talent certainly helps to explain why he is among a very select few to have been accepted into South London’s (very) prestigious BRIT School, with such alumni as Adele, Jessie J, and Amy Winehouse to name only a few. It was his skills on the piano, however, that saw him passing his audition.