The other day I hit up the Orlando homie NIKO IS and conducted a quick, somewhat random interview covering a vast amount of topics from Cheetos vs. Doritos to West Coast compared to East Coast hip-hop. If you are not already acquainted with his music, NIKO IS dropped an incomparable album entitled Chill Cosby that stirred a pretty big buzz in the hip-hop scene back in December. His hippie like swagger, and humble yet conscious flow & lyricism are bound to create fame and fortune for this emcee soon enough, but how soon? Well on NIKO’s most recent project Chill Cosby he linked up with Action Bronson, and the album has already been featured on Complex Magazine, alongside other major music websites. Below you can read the exclusive interview, stream Chill Cosby and watch previously released music videos, stay tuned for more music by NIKO IS to drop in the near future;
Stream NIKO IS’ Chill Cosby as you read the interview;
Skoodmusic: First off, what is your name? Who does NIKO IS represent?
NIKO IS: NIKO IS a conceptual idiom symbolizing the many personas and identities one experiences and is reflected through my albums. I wanted something that represented me and had longevity to it..
Skoodmusic: That’s deep stuff man, I can dig it. Who are some musical influences on your sound? What is the Orlando hip-hop scene like?
NIKO IS: My sound is influenced by not only music but real life but also nature, friends, drugs, etc. Things I encounter in my every day life. That’s where the real inspiration comes from. Orlando has a very eclectic music scene for a city that has never achieved major music success (besides pop). It definitely is a creative hub of untapped talent.
Skoodmusic: Word I agree, so with Chill Cosby gaining so much positive attention so far what’s your personal favorite joint off the project ? How’d you link up with Bronsolini and do you plan on collaborating with anyone else in the near future? (Peep the Action Bronson & NIKO IS collab. “Steffi Graf” below)
NIKO IS: I have a new favorite song everyday to be honest, they all kinda embody a part of my chill. Right now, I’m kinda stuck on “Say High To My Friends“. That beat is outrageous. And it’s 6 years old…Unreal. I opened up for Action Bronson last year and then my people talked to his people and got us in the studio after the show. 3 am session. We chose a beat, sparked some medicine and went off. I am always up for collaborations, I just like them to make sense. I don’t work with anybody I don’t support. I’m not that type of artist. I don’t like resorting to filling my album full of the “hot new rappers,” I’d rather work with live musicians.
Skoodmusic: That’s the way every musician should work and think, only with people they feel they have a musical chemistry with. Mad respect. How’d you come up with the name NIKO IS? Did you ever have any other stage names?
NIKO IS: Yeah, I’ve gone through quite a few stage names… It’s all about finding one you that properly represents your brand. Haha, I’ve had too many corny rap names before I stumbled on this land mine. Hahaha.
NIKO IS: Maaaan, Curren$y is an all time favorite during smoke sessions. I prefer him during personal sessions though, to be honest, he’s more introspective and lyrical so I dig being alone and stoned bumpin that Spitta. Devin the Dude is the god of smoke songs. So effortless and so casual. I call it Rap easy listening.
Skoodmusic: I feel that, now I understand to some this may be impossible to answer but might as go for it; East coast or West coast rap? Not just Biggie vs. Pac but east coast vs. west coast rap now? From Dom Kennedy and Kendrick Lamar to Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$ who do you dig more if you had to choose?
NIKO IS: I’m more of an East coast cat. Not recently though, the west took it back and now it’s a beautiful, thriving artistic scene. I’m not really area discriminative, I just support innovation.
Skoodmusic: Well put. After seeing you perform live, I can without a doubt say you put on a great show filled with high energy and always seem to please the crowd of both old and new fans. Do you have any pre show rituals?
NIKO IS: Yeah, I need to smoke 4 joints, take 10 shots of Johhnie Walker Red Label, Eat Brazillian food (steak, rice & beans) get a blow job and listen to some Tom Waits.
Skoodmusic: Haha Tom waits, nice, didn’t see that one coming. So who are some of your other favorite non rap / hip hop acts?
NIKO IS: Maan, It really depends on my mood. I listen to music based on how I’m feeling (or want to feel) so It varies. I love me some Pink Floyd, Devendra Banhart, Buena Vista Social Club…I’ve been a French music binge recently so that’s been my recent choice. Some Charles Azanavour, Jacques Brel, all the greats. French Music is very inspiring.
Skoodmusic: Devendra Banhart is amazing, mad respect for that name drop.
NIKO IS: Love him.
Check out the music video for NIKO IS’ track “Smoking Jacket” off of Chill Cosby;
Skoodmusic: As i sit here, smoke my joint and cook myself some breakfast, a question broils in my head; Bacon or sausage for your side of choice with eggs and toast?
NIKO IS: Bacon all day.
Skoodmusic: Good choice… Got a two part, extremely random question for you here; Cheetos or Doritos? And favorite ethnicity in a female? (I’m aware these questions don’t exactly correlate, readers.)
NIKO IS: I hate both Cheetos and Doritos. Pretty much anything that ends with eetos. I have an obsession with red heads. I like mixed asians too.
Skoodmusic: Word I feel that, who are some of your favorite producers?
NIKO IS: I love the old school producers a bit too much. Maybe it’s the nostalgia or maybe they were just ahead of their time. I’m a huge fan of The Dungeon Family, The Hittmen, Premo. Stuff like that. Currently, Justice League are miles ahead of the rest I think..
Skoodmusic: Old school hip-hop instrumentals are some of the best, I can agree with you there. Thanks again for the interview my dude, peace!
Check out NIKO IS’ most recent set of dramatic visuals for “FIFI” below;
Follow NIKO IS on his social media pages;