Nenjah Nycist
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Nenjah Nycist

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Brooklyn, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Hip Hop Alternative

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"The Rap Group That Witnessed Eric Garner’s Death Attempts to Make Sense of Tragedy"

In Wu-Tang Clan’s classic anthem “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me),” Inspectah Deck described Staten Island as a war zone overrun with “stickup kids / corrupt cops / and crack rocks and stray shots / all on the block that stays hot.” About two decades later, in 2012, the block in Tompkinsville, Staten Island, where Gary Nieves Jr. decided to build a recording studio, was still pretty warm. Young men stood outside the studio slipping baggies into the hands of glassy-eyed customers; fights were constantly breaking out among the homeless people who hung out in the park across the street. Still, the block might have been even hotter if not for the presence of an unofficial neighborhood peacemaker who kept an eye on the strip. Soon after Nieves opened the studio, a singer showed up to a recording session saying some asshole had been drunkenly harassing her outside. Nieves and two friends confronted the man. As they exchanged words, a hulking bystander walked over and ordered that man never to bother the woman again. The musicians soon learned to expect this kind of thing from their new acquaintance. In an area where people didn’t have much faith in the formal justice system, this man was a respected figure of authority, a "gentle giant" and a "big teddy bear" who often settled disputes and offered to look after people’s parking spaces. “He was a nice guy,” said Nieves. “Always said hello.” His name was Eric Garner.

On July 17, 2014, Nieves, a 27-year-old who handles production duties for several bands and plays bass for a hip-hop group called the Rising Sun All Stars, was working in the studio when he heard shouting from the street below. He went downstairs and saw Garner pleading with the police to leave him alone. What happened next was captured on a video that has spread far beyond the streets of Staten Island. From Nieves’s vantage point, the incident looked like “a savage gang attack.” Like everyone who has watched the scene play out on their TVs and laptops, Nieves saw Officer Daniel Pantaleo grab Garner around the neck and heard Garner shout “I can’t breathe” 11 times before falling silent. “I wasn’t sure if he was dead or not,” said Nieves. “In my head, I didn’t think he was dead. It looked bad, but because of how nonchalant the responders were, I was kind of assuming, tomorrow he’ll be out here again.”

A month ago, the Rising Sun All Stars released a song inspired by what Nieves witnessed that day, joining the ranks of better-known artists from around the country who have been using hip-hop to express their anger and grief over the mistreatment of black people at the hands of police. G-Unit and J. Cole, Alicia Keys and Killer Mike — it’s a long and eclectic list. Nieves’s song “I Can’t Breathe” is dark and angry, with a rugged boom-bap beat inspired by the distinctive Wu-Tang sound. NenJah Nycist, the band’s emcee, raps from Garner’s point of view, alluding to his peaceful reputation. “I’m no stranger to these streets / everybody know me, I never start beef.” You can listen to the song for free on SoundCloud or Bandcamp, where it has been played several thousand times. The band says they’ll pass along all donations to Garner’s family, though so far they’ve only managed to raise $200. The song has yet to get much play off the Island.

Staten Island is a racially divided place, with the homes of white cops, firefighters, and nurses spread out across the suburban-style neighborhoods of the South Shore and the borough's growing black and Latino communities concentrated in the densely populated neighborhoods to the north. The Rising Sun All Stars span the divide. Nieves and his cousin Ruben, a percussionist, are of Puerto Rican descent, and NenJah and Ariana Smith — one of the band’s two singers — are black. The other singer, Mike Costello, along with the two guitarists, Pat Nowak and Dave Giordano, are white. Ask about their experiences with police, and you’ll get very different answers.

“I have police in my family,” said Costello. “I have a lot of police in my family. My grandfather, my uncle, my aunt, two cousins. One is in narcotics at the 120, the same precinct Officer Pantaleo came out of. And that’s all great. But my grandfather would be rolling in his grave right now knowing that this shit is going on.”

One evening in early December, before a deadly ambush on a pair of police officers shook the city and diverted attention from the escalating protests against police misconduct, Garner’s family members and their supporters gathered near the spot where Eric died, chanting, “I can’t breathe.” Upstairs, the band members were sitting around on Nieves’s couch cracking open cans of PBR. Costello said he couldn’t understand why the cops would respond so aggressively to something so trivial. (The police say they’d confronted Garner for selling loose cigarettes.) “Before putting your arm around the man’s throat,” he said, “why not open the squad-car door and say, ‘Eric, let’s go’?”

“I’ll tell you why,” said NenJah, a 26-year-old originally from the Bronx. The officer, he claimed, “sees this big black guy — he already demonized him in his mind. People are like, ‘Oh, it’s not a race thing.’” He rolled his eyes. “It’s nothing but a race thing.”

“If they were responding to somebody selling cigarettes in Annadale,” said Ruben, referring to a white, middle-class neighborhood on the other side of the Island, “that guy would not be dead now.”

A few nights later, I met Nieves outside the studio and we walked over to the spot where he watched Garner take his last breath. Nieves is quiet, reflective. As we stood there, looking at the cluster of votive candles and handmade signs that have marked the site since July, I noticed him anxiously tearing a scrap of paper into smaller and smaller pieces. Nieves said he’d had doubts about releasing the song. What if people saw it as a ploy for publicity, a vulgar attempt to become better known outside of Staten Island?

“What pushed me to the point where I knew [recording a song] was something that felt right was thinking about what Eric’s reaction might have been,” he said. “What if the song was about another guy out here? There are other guys serving the same type of role that he did.” Nieves paused and fiddled again with the scrap of paper. “I think he would like the song,” he said. “I think he would like the message.” - Vulture.com; Written by Saki Knafo


"Young Staten Island talents to look out for in 2016"

The hip hop artist who forms part of the successful group Rising Sun All Stars is working on his solo project titled, "N3NJVH." He should be finishing it soon, and is looking to have a release party on the island in the next few weeks. He produced the majority of the album and edited a lot of the visuals for it, too. - SI LIVE; Written by Lauren Steussy


"NENJAH NYCIST – NENJAH [ALBUM]"

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Nenjah Nycist doesn’t embody the stereotypical New York sound, though is definitely influenced by it, and it comes together nicely on his latest offering, his new album titled Nenjah.

It’s filled with well-written bars and rhymes that combine with the various instrumentals mad well, and really have some personality. Nenjah does a great job of combining the old school New York sound with his unique, new school style, and the end product amounts to a well-done project that is definitely worth a listen.

You can grab it on iTunes here, and stream via Spotify here. - Daily Chiefers


"Staten Island's Best Artists & Entertainers of 2015 announced"

BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST:
Rising Sun All-Stars — 337

Jayburn Park-Isum — 335

SCRIBZ — 232

Holy Moe — 178

Paul März — 150

William 'Starda' Perry — 127

Mack Wilds — 125

Nani Castle — 114

S.I.T.H. — 104

Zizzo The Phynix — 96

Fes Taylor — 83 - SI Live


"ALBUM ALERT: NENJAH NYCIST – N3NJVH"

Brooklyn’s own Nenjah Nycist delivers his innovative album, N3NJVH, which blends the old-school with the new with a strong, complex flow.

The project features production from RaZah Ade, MWill the Shogun (Marley Marl’s son), and Natureboi as well as Nenjah himself.

And if you’re wondering who did that insane artwork, it was none other than the infamous Miami Kaos.

Click here to listen to N3NJVH in full. - The Dope Show Online


"NENJAH NYCIST – NENJAH"

Brooklyn native Nenjah Nycist is back to drop off a brand-new project entitled “Nenjah.” It’s a nice blend of old school and new school hip-hop sounds, with Nenjah’s piercing lyricism and slick flows leading the way for an overall strong project. - Unsigned Hype


"NENJAH NYCIST – NENJAH (ALBUM)"

NenJah Nycist is a refreshingly dope hip-hop artist from New York, who crash lands on our pages today with his brand-new album, titled Nenjah. It’s a well-done project that features his mix of old and new school hip-hop vibes, all coming together for a great listen from front to back. From his sharp lyricism to his slick flows and delivery, Nenjah is chock-full of flavor-filled tracks, and amounts to a pretty great project overall.
You can grab it on iTunes and stream on Spotify now! - Elevator Mag


"Nenjah Nycist ft. Rik O Neal - "I'm Tight""

Nenjah Nycist heeft een nieuwe track genaamd “I’m Tight” uitgebracht. De gastbijdrage op de track is gedaan door Rik O Neal. De productie is verzorgd door Nenjah zelf. - Hip Hop Core


"Rap Feature: Nenjah Nycist"

ecently I had the pleasure of interviewing New York Rapper Nenjah Nycist.



Nycist was born in the Bronx, NY. He is a Self-taught songwriter, producer, music engineer and video director (CONTENT CREATOR) and has performed in premier music venues along the East Coast. Has released over 8 full length albums and has performed in over 100 shows! Raised in Mt. Vernon then Columbia, MD. Now based in Brooklyn, NY. He began writing at the age 13 and started performing in Baltimore, MD. He attended Long Island University for a year studied Media Arts. Since then the rapper has shared stages/performed with Redman, Big Boi (Outkast), Rakim, Slick Rick, and more! Currently he performs with his hip hop/soul band, The Rising Sun All Stars – an organic take to hip hop.

IDK: When did you first start creating music?

NN: I first started creating music during the summer of 2003 in Columbia, MD. I was in high school and met producer, NatureBoi, through mutual friends. I had been writing battle rhymes for about a year and called myself, “Nycist.” After I heard some of Natureboi’s beats I wanted to write more raps over more beats.

IDK: Tell us a little bit about your most recent project.

NN: My most recent project is a self-produced album titled, “Revenge of the Nenjah.” It was my first solo album whereas I wrote, produced, and engineered the entire project. I was in a darker place and really needed to get rid of those energies by making it. That was an album for me truth be told. Thank you for everyone who appreciated it though. I had someone pay $25 for just one song – “Martyr 4 Marijuana.” Thank you to the fans!

IDK: Who are some of your non-musical inspirations?

NN: Support from the people, kung fu flicks, incense, traveling (scenery), home cooked food, entrepreneurs I know, fans and family.

IDK: Who is one artist outside your genre you would love to collab with?

NN: The first person that came to my mind was Aaron McGruder. Spike Lee though.

IDK: What is the first step in your creative process?

NN: Probably lighting incense. The smell goods are a necessity.

IDK: What is some advice you would give a person just starting their musical pursuits?

NN: Research and study. Be willing to sacrifice. Patience will be your best friend. When life gets hectic, put it into the music. Stay humble.

IDK: You are best friends with the main character of the last television show you watched. What would you two do first?

NN: Damn. Ha it was Naruto, so we’d probably train and eat Ramen. I’d have to tell him to leave that pork alone though.

IDK: Do you have any upcoming projects?

NN: I am working on a new project titled, “N3NJVH,” which will be strictly for the culture of hip-hop. It’s for the train-riding fare evaders, the hip hop skaters, and ultimately for the “headz.” It’s honest, clever and at times philosophical. It’s raspy and heart-felt and I cannot wait to put it out to the world.

IDK: What are some of your non-musical activities?

NN: Reading, beating my whole camp in NBA 2K, traveling, creating and selling merchandise, and being a role model for the young nenjahz.

IDK: Would you rather be a master of every musical instrument or be able to speak every language fluently?

NN: I feel like if I master every musical instrument, I can speak to everyone’s emotions fluently. So yeah, I’m going with that.

IDK: What was the first thing you ever got recorded?

NN: Whoa, I forgot the name but it had this verse that started like, “Who you thought taught 50 cent how to rob, keep on talking, I’ll put more holes in you than Spongebob.” The 15 year old me thought that was the hardest thing I ever wrote. Ah man, good times.

IDK: Any final thoughts you would like to leave for the readers?

NN: I’m staying busy and have my hands in a lot of great projects! Be on the look out for my solo project – “N3NJVH” coming this Spring. My band, Rising Sun All Stars, is dropping new music and a new EP very soon! Also, watch out for my production group BLKKDZ are coming… - IDK The Emcee


"New Music: Nenjah Nycist - "I'm Tight""

Produced by Nenjah Nycist himself, the Brooklyn-based artist drops his high-powered, rock-infused banger “I’m Tight!” featuring Rik O’Neal. Artwork by Flunked Fiction. Check it out. - The Dope Show


"*New Music* Nenjah Nycist - I'm Tight"

The newest installment from Nenjah Nycist and Rik O'Neal, "I'm Tight" is a high energy, hard-hitting track about being outraged, frustrated and upset or rather - 'tight!' The back and forth storytelling between the two describe a particular situation in which the pair vent their anger on the Nenjah Nycist produced track. - Dope Music Daily


"Interview with Nenjah Nycist"

Interview with NenJah Nycist
by johill679

Me: I would love it if you could explain the birth of the NenJah?

Nycist: The birth of the NenJah happened to be a rebirth of my persona as an artist. Before I focused solely on writing and MC’in under Nycist but as I began to delve deeper into music, I started engineering and producing as well. I added the “NenJah” afterwards because you never really know what I’m up to or going to create. Plus who can literally see a ninja?

Me: If you could see yourself mastering any martial art, which would it be?

Nycist: Hmmm…I’m a big fan of Muay Thai. Although it’s a movie, “Rise of the Elephants (“The Protector” in the States)” had me bugging because Tony Jaa was busting ass with his elbows, knees, joints, ankles. Great stuff, shit is crazy.

Me:Do you see yourself going to Japan any time soon?

Nycist: Hell yeah! I feel like they’d love and appreciate my music there for sure.

Me: Growing up were you into anime?

Nycist: Yeah man, just like any other kid. I loved watching/drawing Dragon Ball Z, Lupin the Third, Vampire Hunter D was dope, Spirited Away was my movie too.

Me: Two catch phrases that seem to follow you around are who da fuck? And peach baggies. What are the origins of these call lines?

Nycist: My bro Natureboi (Tay) and I created a mixtape titled, “Who the Fuck is Tay & Nycist?!” simply because we were performing with national acts and we had chips on our shoulders. We wanted everyone to know and understand who we were and what we were about. The crowd loves saying it! Peach baggies is that herbal medicinal the U.S needs to go ahead and legalize everywhere. Big shout out to Denver.

Me: What was the inspiration behind Revenge of the Nenjah?

Nycist: Unfortunately the inspiration came from a negative place. I was going through a transition in my life whereas I felt like everyone close to me, people I heavily relied on, were sleeping on me. I felt a complete sense of abandonment. Instead of getting depressed or being on some lame shit, I took that energy and harnessed it into artistry. I want revenge for everyone who doesn’t think I can compete with the greats.

Me: So far, what do you think has been the most important performance of your career?

Nycist: There have been several – performing before/with Dead Prez, Big Boi, Redman, playing at the premier venues in the city, Sticky Situation on Staten Island. They eventually all have a huge impact on my career, consistency is everything nonetheless.

Me: You have been an emcee in one of the most competitive hip hop hubs of the country, how do you think this has effected your craft?

Nycist: It’s great because it gives me a chance to be different. A lot of nenjahz love talking about the same willy foofoo bullshit on predictable beats. I wasn’t about that, never have been, never will be. My words have substance and I’ve always had the idea that if I’m going to do this I’m going to create something timeless – songs that jogs specific memories you know?

Me: What has been the most important advice given to you as an emcee?

Nycist: “Keep doing your thing.”
It’s so simple and why try to be someone else? Be you and strive to be the best and make a difference in at least one person’s life ya dig? No matter how major or miniscule.
“Be great,” is another good one.

Me: If you could collaborate with one artist who would it be?

Nycist: Hmm good question, since I started producing this question opens up more possible answers. It’s hard to pick one but I would say Jimi Hendrix if deceased artist and RZA for someone still alive. If I collaborate with an artist I would want it to be bigger than producing and rapping on a song with them. I want to create a movie, on some MJ’s “Moonwalker” shit.

Me: Any underground rappers you recommend to the readers?

Nycist: Hell yeah! My bros Brain Rapp from the DMV, the Mizzle Squad from BK, Sammus is a dope producer/rapper from upstate NY, shout to my dude Saidu in Shaolin, can’t forget my homies The Warden and Fame out in Long Island. Also, be sure to check out my band – The Rising Sun All Stars, I heard they were the best band in NY.

Me: Any closing thoughts you would like to say about Revenge of the Nenjah?

Nycist: Get Revenge of the NenJah. Cherish it. Because you appreciate artistry and music that is different. This project from the front to the back is hard work, new experiences, and the journey of a growing young nenjah; from the beats to the engineering to the idea of the designs and marketing – it’s NenJah Nycist. Fuck with me. It’s nothing you would hear on the radio but everything that can change it. Much respect and thank you for your time bro! - Collapsed Lexicon


"Watch: NenJah Nycist’s “Zordon”"

NenJah Nycist delivers bars from the underground — complete with an infectious hook promoting higher thinking, “I’d rather be a moor than a muthafuckin moron!”. His flow and tone are reminiscent of DMX circa the 90’s. Great visuals that fully develop the emotion behind the song. “Zordon” is a lyrically graphic song with some raw and gritty visuals to match, from the wisdom-dropping New York emcee. Returning to the essence, NenJah Nycist takes his genre back to the underground in the most literal meaning. Nostalgia ensues all around from the title of the track (see Power Rangers circa 1992) to the Kill Bill sample and grimy cinematography created by Ahmi.

“Zordon” is the second part of N3NJVH SEASON; a string of singles with accompanying visuals created by he and his team. Check the first video of the series, “Can’t I Shine” too. - GrungeCake; Written by Suzanne Biello


"WATCH NENJAH NYCIST CHANNEL THE WISDOM OF ZORDON ON HIS NEW CUT"

NY emcee Nenjah Nycist delivers nothing short of a lyrical power bomb on his latest visuals to his song Zordon. Form the title you should expect nothing but dopeness anyways and Nenjah Nycist doesn’t disappoint as he kicks off immediately by “…Cutting the tension with a plastic knife…” and warns his peeps “…If I get barred ‘cos of my bars, you ninjas better write me…”

Zordon works with Nenjah Nycist’s aggressive flow and graphic lyrics which are accentuated by the Lady Snwoblood (yeah I’m that nerdy) sample used in the song. I totally recommend this joint for y’all so hit the play button and get with the program. - Word Is Bond; Written by Teckzilla


Discography

Official Releases
Rising Sun Gang - The Rising Sun All Stars
Revenge of the Nenjah - Nenjah Nycist
Ahmi, Me & Chopstix - Nenjah Nycist
N3NJVH - Nenjah Nycist (Latest Release)

Photos

Bio

  • Based out of Brooklyn, NY.
  • Began writing at the age 13.
  • Started career performing in Baltimore, MD.
  • Has shared stages/performed with Redman, Big Boi (Outkast), Rakim, Slick Rick, and more!
  • Performed at more than 100 shows 
  • Self-taught songwriter, producer, music engineer and video director (CONTENT CREATOR)
  • Has performed in premier music venues along the East Coast
  • Performs with his hip hop/soul band, The Rising Sun All Stars - an organic take to hip hop.
  • Thousands of followers on social media
  • Has released over 8 full length albums
  • Very live performances!

Band Members