Nickelus F

A Conversation With Nickelus F Part 3: The Richmond Music Scene, Kanye West Rants & Drake

Nickelus F is an undeniably unique artist. From his delivery, to the sound that he cultivates, to his experiences, the Richmond, Virginia native is in a world all to itself. We already discussed a number of topics with Nick, but today he speaks on the Richmond music scene, the Association of Great Minds, his relationship with Drake, dream collaborations, and more. Read the final segment of our conversation with Nickelus F below, and check out parts one and two if you haven’t already.

A lot of artists in Richmond, Virginia will say that it’s a tough place to build a buzz, in terms of music. How do you feel about the Richmond music scene?
Yeah. I have to agree. I’m not one of these disgruntled cats out here. People are disgruntled because they haven’t been able to find a way, but there are ways. Richmond isn’t necessarily a hotbed of musical opportunity, but there is talent out here. You just have to use what’s available to your advantage. That’s another thing. I didn’t come up with a cheat code. I just utilize what I have. I have Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram, access to some blogs, and I make the most of it. Learn how to play the game and watch how people did it before you.

You’re part of AGM, or Association of Great Minds, a collective that includes Radio B, Michael Millions, yourself, and a few other creatives. How did the Association of Great Minds come to be?
Those are my dudes, we’ve been rocking. I met Radio on the battle scene, and met Mike through Radio. Monsee has been around, doing photography and videography for people. We’re not a rap group, we’re not label or anything. Those are just the homies. That’s family. I know a whole lot of people, but I can’t say that I have a lot of friends. What makes someone a friend, or family, is what we’ve been through. All of those dudes, we’ve been through things together. Trying moments, important moments, big memories. It’s the Association of Great Minds. We don’t have albums together, maybe a few songs on occasion. But that’s the family, that’s who I kick it with. We smoke, we drink, we have parties, go out. I’ve known a lot of people, and I’ve tried it with a lot of people. As you grow older, the people you used to be cool with fade away. There was never any fall out or beef, but you just grow apart. We grew, but still stayed with each other.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
I have decent accolades. I could mention being in the Source, XXL, or Vibe. I could mention being on 106&Park. I honestly don’t know. I’m still pressing forward. I haven’t stopped to think about it. I think the thing I’m most proud of is being free of working for somebody, for over a year now. It’s been a year and a month that I’ve been able to provide for myself and my family, solely off of music. I’ve still been doing a bit of side hustling, but for the most part, music has been taking care of everything.

How is your relationship with Drake, these days?
It’s cool, to my knowledge. We speak on occasion. Everything always seems good. We’re not constantly in touch, because those times have passed. But, everything always seems good.

If you could work with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
I have two. Kanye West. That’s big bro and he doesn’t even know he’s big bro. Also, MF DOOM. DOOM is the Petey prototype. I’m trying to reach the legendary status that he has, in my eyes. I want to give people that same feel. When DOOM drops something, you’re going to get DOOM. Not any of the watered down shit, not what’s hot right now, but DOOM. It’s going to sound like DOOM every time. That’s what I want. I want that legacy. I want to be able to drop an album at 48, 50 years old. I would buy a DOOM album if he dropped one at age 50. You know why? Because since the mid 80’s, he’s been putting out the same shit. The same dope. I snort that shit and I’ll get the same high, every time. That’s who I’d like to liken myself to.

I like Kanye for the opposite reason of why I like DOOM. I admire how Kanye has stayed consistent, but changed with the times. Kanye is always relevant, he’s always changing, but he still gives you that high quality.

A lot of people give him heat for how much he pushes the envelope, but I think it’s exciting.
Kanye is the greatest of our time, point blank, period. Kanye is like Quincy Jones. He knows how to let somebody be great. He’s good at playing the keyboard, but he knows a great keyboardist. He’s going to bring a great keyboardist in to work. He can play a little bassline, but he knows the illest bassist. That’s what makes Kanye great. Recognizing other people’s greatness.

What do you think of the infamous Kanye West rants?
I love his rants. I love them. I’m trying to tell you. Let me get on a platform where I can start ranting, and people will get upset. You wouldn’t even expect it. I have rants, too. I’m ready to go on that BET stage ranting and raving, turning up. Leather pants, and all.

Leather pants, really?
Nah, no leather pants.

You sure?
Yeah, I’m sure. Well, actualy if I got them for free I would rock them. I damn sure wouldn’t spend any bread on them. If you wanna be a sponsor, send them in the mail. Hell yeah, I’ll rock them.

A manifesto is a declaration of intents and principles. What is your Artistic Manifesto?
Never force it, and keep it honest. I make it count when I go in. I’m not going in, forcing anything. My e-mails are all out there. Every single day, I get blasted with beats. I have like 8 or 9 e-mail accounts on my phone. They’re all full of beats. I like a lot of them, but I need the spark to make something special. You’ve got good, and you’ve got special. I strive to make everything special. So, don’t force it. Make everything special. Have something on your heart to say, even if it’s just for you. Have something substantial to say. Keep it honest. Stay true to your feelings and your desires.

Don’t just recycle some shit you heard somebody else say. Other people will identify with it. There’s always somebody out there who feels the way that you feel. I had to learn that the hard way. I didn’t have any big homies. I didn’t have anybody to take me up under my wing. I didn’t have anyone to tell me when shit wasn’t cool. People would just talk behind my back, and wait for me to get it together. I learned through trial and error. I tried to make music that fit certain sounds and styles. I myself have been swayed by what was popular. As I’ve gotten older and more mature, and seen what I offer to people, I started to truly understand the importance of being. Common put out the album Be. That’s how you do with the music, just be.