Tonight the Live In The Cipher crew brings you a couple of up and coming MC's. We are rating and reviewing MC N1S mixtape release Empty Space. Join us tonight and as we get back to what made BKS1 Radio known around the industry. We bring you another Best Kept Secret. Also we have MC Beyond Belief tonight on the Live In The Cipher Show.
Guest: MC N1S:
A lot of people have been saying "Hip Hop/Rap Is Dead". I find that hard to believe. There's a great number of talent out there, especially in the heart of Jersey and N1S is one of them.
Born and raised in the streets of Newark/Elizabeth, Erik Britt, also known as N1S or ‘The Prince of the City‘, would be the first to let you know that where you're from doesn't determine your level of success. It's your talent that's going to take you to where you need to be. And I must admit his talent is going to take him to places beyond Jersey.
"It's not where you come from or what your buzz is, it's about your talent level."
N1S has been practicing his craft for over 16 years. He first began rapping when he was in the 4th. Grade. To be more precise it was September 1994. It all began in a lunch room in Plainfield, New Jersey. As he stood in line and heard the group of guys freestyling behind him. Being caught off guard N1S was approached by one of the boys and was put on blast to spit a freestyle. Unaware of his talents, due to the fact that he believed he could sing, he spit the first line that came to mind.
“I see Tupac coming around the corner with a boom box”
The line may seem like nothing to others but to him it was a door-opener. Once he said that line and heard how the rest of the kids reacted he went home and wrote his first rap called “The Realest Mack”. According to N1S, that was probably the last day he did homework. He dropped his books to pick up a pen and write rhymes just as some his influences: Naughty-by-Nature, Redman, Kriss Kross, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Biggie Smalls and Tupac. The list doesn’t stop there, those are just a few that he shared.
“Anybody who took this seriously and wrote their own rhymes and could perform was an inspiration to me”
With the help of his mother, he created his rap name from a nickname she gave him. She would always tell him he was the “Number 1 Son. So he took that concept and began to think of different ways to make it sound good. Once he originated his unique name he then gave it a unique meaning.
“The main meaning for N1S is: No one says what I says. No one sees what I sees. That’s why no one that sounds just like me. Then I can say no one’s seeing cause there‘s no one out there that‘s rocking on a track like I do. Then I can say I‘m the nicest one still cause at the end of the day that‘s what I am. Then I can sit up here and say I‘m no one special but I‘m good at what I do. It has a lot of meanings to it”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and the music that N1S creates is a picture that tells a story you will never forget. Rap may have been his first love, but over time he evolved and branched out to writing R&B. His music has been inspired by his own life experiences or the experiences of those around him. To N1S the best part of this business is the reaction from the fans. To be able to grasp their attention by either the lyrics or the beat of the song is a fulfillment for him. The worst part of this business for N1S is not being signed. To have people approach him and tell him how much they enjoy his music, tell him how good he is at what he does and to bluntly tell him oppose to other underground artist getting signed he should have a deal is not just a compliment; it’s also an indirect reminder that even with him taking two steps forward the worst rapper getting a deal sends him four steps back. As a result of this being humble is something N1S admits he needs to work on. According to him, why should he be humble when he knows he’s better then his competition.
Me: If you could be signed where would you go?
N1S: At first I said I wanted to go to Young Money but then someone made me think about it, if you go to Young Money you’ll be sitting on the shelf for a while. So I would say something like Interscope, Universal. I wanted to go to Grand Hustle because I’m a big T.I. fan so I would love to go to Grand Hustle. Or Ludacris’ label. And that would probably be it.
Now that he's in the spotlight the Prince is shinning brighter then ever. His mixtape ‘Rise And Fall Of An Empire” dropped on August 26, 2010. He described the process of putting it together as being fun but stressful. For seven years N1S was a part of a group but felt that their big break was taking too long to come. He decided to take his talent and become a solo artist. Even though he wasn’t used to being a one man band, he’s loving his time in the lime light.
Now that his creative control was in his own hands N1S was able to say what he wanted to say on any beat of his choice. The creative process for his latest mixtape took a year to complete. His release date was significant because his mixtape was released on the anniversary which he left the group. This album was an expression of everything that was on his mind and everything that he was feeling during that entire year. So you can say his first solo mixtape was a “musical diary”.
The mixtape consist of 13 tracks which included artist such as, Kortini and Su. Out of the 13 tracks N1S chose “I’m The Shhhh” as his favorite song. The song portrays him as his fans see him. When you hear him on the track you would say he’s “stuck-up”, “cocky” or “conceited” but he hasn’t been able to see that in himself.
“People always tell me, you’re so arrogant with your rap, you’re so arrogant with your attitude but if you really knew me I’m the shyest person in the world. I‘m a very shy person but people tell me when I do music I‘m cocky as hell”
He’s currently in the studio working on his next mixtape which is called “Top Floor” which is scheduled to drop February 2011. The concept of the mixtape is a metaphor of what it takes to succeed. For N1S, his goal is to make it in the music business but for others this could be applied to any and every aspect of succeeding. Everyone has to start at the bottom in order to make it to the top.
N1S is creating one mixtape with three sections. The first section of the mix tap is going to be the “Lobby Section”. It will consist of upbeat songs which shows that he’s ‘starving’, ‘hungry’ and ready for success. Then there’s “Elevator Music” which geared more towards his female fans. This is going to be his collaboration section. The songs will have a mellow vide which gives you the impression that success is a slow process. No one makes it over night. Next you have the “Penthouse Suite” which is the “I’ve made it, I’m successful, they know me, I’m here” music. You could consider this section of the mixtape the party tracks. The first song off the mixtape is called “Talk Dirty” which features Savoy and let’s just say it’s a track that can’t be described, it can only be felt.
Although the road to success seemed lonely, which is why N1S referred to himself as a “one man gang”, he wasn’t walking the road alone. As the saying goes, “behind every great man there is a strong woman pushing him to succeed” for N1S that woman was his mother. Just as she gave him life, N1S received an opportunity to return the favor. On July 28, 2011, he underwent surgery and gave his mother a kidney. The transplant was a success and the road to recovery was what inspired his newest project “Empty Space”. The first single off his mixtape, "The Recovery" ft. TeNeil Nicole, shows you the growth of N1S. Not only as a person but also as an artist.
Since the surgery N1S has pushed himself to exceed beyond his own expectations. Not only has he dropped one of the hottest mixtapes, but he's also taken the crown as the "Remix King". He's remixed songs from artist such as Usher, Rhianna, Big Sean and Ella Varner.
Special Guest: Beyond Belief:
It all started back in 1994, when Beyond Belief first got his hands on Biggie’s debut album Ready to Die. After hearing the record, he was immediately hooked, and began writing rhymes in the basement of his parents’ Rockaway Park home.
Later influenced by artists such as Kool G Rap, Big Pun, Nas and Run DMC, it was through a high school classmate that the Rockaway emcee met rapper-turned-producer Kwame, who he credits for teaching him the art of songwriting.
Kwame, who is most notably known for starting the polka-dot trend in hip hop in the late 80s, as well as his production on the number one records “Switch” (Will Smith) and “On Fire” (Lloyd Banks), saw Beyond Belief‘s potential, and quickly signed him to his boutique production company, Make Noise.
While completing a full-time bachelor’s degree program at the University of Miami, Beyond Belief still managed to release two mixtapes (Bobby J From Rockaway and Beyond Your Reach), as well as a full-length album (What About BOB?) under the Make Noise imprint, and is currently working on his second full-length project, the bulk of which will be produced by Kwame.
With this next offering, as with his previous projects, Beyond Belief strives to bridge the gap between the conflicting worlds of commercial music and underground hip hop, proving that it’s possible to make commercially accepted tracks, while still maintaining artistic integrity, and upholding the roots of hip hop: true lyricism and self expression.
Having completed a certificate program at the New York Film Academy, Beyond Belief not only writes and records his own music, but also shoots, directs, and edits all of his own videos.
Be sure to check out his new music video series, Breaking Beyond, which airs every Wednesday on his website: www.beyondbeliefonline.com.