“When I look at the issues faced by others and myself in the industry. I don’t look at them like ‘Okay, it’s because I’m a girl.’ Everyone has challenges in their life and that’s cool. But I refuse to have someone make a challenge for me because of the gender I was born. I don’t see limitations.”
Ejecting rhymes slicker than a can of oil, Nikki Lynette, is not the typical female rapper. Her effortless flow is refreshing. The lyrics aren’t riddled with exploiting her femininity or sexuality but boast shear confidence in skill and who she is. Hailing from Chicago, she is an emcee, producer, singer, songwriter, and on-air personality. Her sound is heterogeneous; infusing rock, pop, techno, hip-hop, and alternative music into one compilation. Coming off the heels of success from her first mixtape, “Roses N’ Guns,” she is finally receiving some well-deserved recognition for her craft as MTV has recently licensed two of her singles and played them on the hit reality show, “Jersey Shore.” Nikki is also the president of a worldwide movement of awesome called Team Bad Ass. Here’s why…
Sonic Eclectic: Who is Nikki Lynette?
Nikki Lynette: I’m the one weird friend that everybody has. They tolerate that her because she’s a really good friend to have…but mad weird. I think everyone in their life has had one of those. That’s who Nikki Lynette is. [Laughs]
SE: So how long have you been in the industry?
NL: The first thing I have ever wrote and recorded was when I was 15. So, I’ve been in it for a long time. I’ve only been making a living at it for the past five years, and people have only cared that I existed for the past two.
SE: What obstacles did you face starting out?
NL: Initially, I did have a few because I am different. A few years ago there were no outlets for artists that didn’t sound like “super” urban. My issue was being told that I didn’t sound urban enough or black enough. As others disappeared, it opened up opportunities for people like me who are thinkers. Finding other ways to get my music out there. It worked out for me because my stuff is different and it makes me stand out. But of course…being a female who raps, I get a lot of pressure from people who don’t like the fact that I do crossover music. They only want to hear me rap and hear me do straight forward hip-hop stuff because that’s what they want from a female emcee that can spit.
SE: How important is creative control over your music?
NL: My heart isn’t only in making hip hop. I love rock, I love electro, I love dance. I’m inspired by it. It moves me. It makes me happy. So that’s what I do. So I really like the idea of a project that really speaks to me with no samples and I produce the whole thing.
NL: It’s a weird mix. Outkast and N.E.R.D. were really good motivators for me. They are my old school. Of course I like The Roots, Common, Mos Def, Nas, Jay Z. But also [growing up] liking alternative music too–like Rage Against the Machine, Incubus, Korn. This was music I could relate to. It was good to have people there whose sound was something that gave me inspiration to know that I would be able to make it in the industry, because look what they’ve accomplished! Other people like Queen Latifah, Missy, and Lauryn Hill. People that sing and rap because that’s what I do. There aren’t many that sing, rap, and produce. But look at the examples we can point to. They’ve been successful.
SE: What was the inspiration behind “Roses N’ Guns?”
NL: It was the first time I did exactly what I wanted to do–and how I wanted to do it. I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m really happy that people liked it so much. It was something different and refreshing to the industry at a time when people were all doing the same thing. And what came after that was more people finding out about me.
NL: I recently released an EP titled “The Strong Survive” in which I produced the entire thing. It’s great if people buy it, but I really want them to listen to it. Videos from the EP are coming soon as well. Then possibly another Roses N’ Guns, but for now the camp wants me to focus on finishing my album entitled, “Popularity Contest,” on which I’ll be working with some real heavy hitters. My goal for the album is to be extremely different and special. So I don’t want to rush it.
Certain to garner universal appeal, the multifaceted Nikki Lynette is not one to sleep on.