Category: Jack Nickelz

I Am Solo



Solo is an independent artist from the Hartford/East Hartford area. Somewhat new to the scene but growing not only as an artist but a person. I’ve had the honor of watching Solo take steps towards becoming a all round producing and emceeing threat. Recently i had the chance to sit down with Solo and pick his brain about his thoughts on the game as it stands today.

Jack Nickelz: What was your first Hip Hop experience?

Solo: I remember listening to red and meths “How High” on cassette at my grandparents house. Rap was banned from my house so the fact my grandfather would let me and my brother wild out and recite word for word was the best. There is more music but the list is long.

Jack Nickelz: What made you start emceeing and producing?

Solo: The emcee part came from listening to so much music and thinking how great it would be to have a skill like that not realizing that I had it in me already I just never utilized it plus my brother gave that push to just do it. Now as far as the producer part that just stemmed from my gift of playing back what I heard on my piano as a kid. It sometimes drives me crazy on both ends because I will loose sleep over not being about to get a certain sound or what I’m trying to put out lyrically.

Jack Nickelz: Do you remember what your first song was?

Solo: My 1st studio song was off my “Beginning of A New Error Ep” album entitled “Preordained”. The track was a true to life intro of me as a person and my experiences a few years prior. I was given an opportunity from a friend who had heard some of my older material and the rest is history.

Jack Nickelz: Tell us about your current project?

Solo: The current project that I am working on is titled “End of A New Error” which follows the past 2 projects “Beginning of A New Error” and “The Darkest Hour”. The 1st was to be released on my 25th which was delayed due to personal issues and the 2nd was released after tragedy struck which put me in a dark place in my life. Now the idea behind “End of A New Error” is basically closure for myself and also some new experiences in my life which are heard on tracks such as “Fatherhood” which is my personal view as a father but also an underlined message from a males perspective on the subject and “Harsh” which gives a personal point of view of how some perceive my reactions to things around me as a whole. Basically my “how comes” and “just because” answers to the remarks I’ve heard over my lifetime.

Jack Nickelz: Are you working with anyone on this project?

Solo: The album is still in the beginning stages so the decision as far as features hasn’t been made yet. But, as far as beats go I’ve worked with 2 other artist/producers “Jack Nickelz” and “Tone Benjaminz” with whom I’ve worked with in the past and have backed me up on this project. I myself have also worked on the beats which pretty much pulls the sounds from my own head so I can sleep at night.

Jack Nickelz: Who are some of your influences as an Emcee?

Solo: Outkast, 2pac,Tech N9ne and Eminem, the list is larger than the few mentioned but that’s off the top of my head. To me they all have the ability to tell a story and some material from each I can relate to.

Jack Nickelz: Who influences you as a producer?

Solo: For me personally I couldn’t just name any particular person or sound due to the fact that I listen to a very wide variety of music. One day I might listen to R&B or wake up and want to listen to some Rock & Roll it all depends on my mood. So we can just leave it as music being my influence.

Jack Nickelz: What makes you different from the other artists that are currently out?

Solo: The fact I am literal on what I write. I use my personal life and views to a T without fault or guilt of maybe this can possibly rub someone the wrong way or make me deal with my own issues even when I don’t want to. More so therapeutic than anything else. Some will relate because they don’t know how to voice it and some may dislike it all together which is OK for me because it me no fabricated material whatsoever.

Jack Nickelz: What is your view on the current Hip Hop scene?

Solo: Wow that is so easy but so hard for the mere fact that what I heard growing up was totally different from whats being portrayed now. I mean the image and lyrical content as a whole is going in a direction that gives you that “what the f*ck” feeling. You can’t possibly tell me you have all those cars,money and jewelry. I mean if you do that’s great but really every song on the radio is about it. Give me some real life topics to relate to. There is so much more to life than all those things. It could be a front or dream for so many but I want relate-able and lyrical material not this bubble gum mess.

Jack Nickelz: Do you feel major labels are still important?

Solo: With the internet and all these avenues of technology I would think no just because you pretty much can sit in the confinement of your own home and do it yourself on your laptop or whatever you use. I mean as far as record deals go unless you really want to be bound into a contract and paying everyone else to do the work for you when you can do it yourself I don’t feel them being important. I could be wrong but that’s just how I see it.

Jack Nickelz: What advice would you give anyone trying to get into the game?

Solo: I would just have to say be yourself and don’t let anyone tell you differently. You will have many that’ll say oh that’s trash or you don’t have what it takes which is just fine because everyone is entitled to their own opinions but, don’t let that stop you from doing you. This business is cut throat and has no problem putting you on your a** if you let them. Stand your ground and keep pushing through.

Jack Nickelz: Thank you for taking time out to answer some questions. Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans and readers?

Solo: No thank you for considering me for this article. As for the readers keep and eye open for my album “End of A New Error” which is scheduled for release on 12.02.2014. You can follow progress on twitter @Iam_solo and ig @iam_solo82

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Food Not Bombs



When I came up in the game,hip hop was very raw and uncut. Freestyles, cyphas and basement show were the norm. So when I found out that I would be able to have a flashback style taste of that, I had to come to my home girl, Dina Brass’ birthday bash slash charity event “Food Not Bombs”. As I stepped down the old wooden stairs into the dungeon of sorts, I felt like I was 16 again being asked to spit a verse at a party.

The vibe was so old school. The textures and the sounds looking like something out of an old Hip Hop film. It set the tone and mood for what would be a very organic Hip Hop event that would keep your focus for the whole night. Nothing pretty…just ugly…ugly and in your face. But when you combined it with the music and the energy it became a masterpiece.

A few sound checks later and my good friend, Kyle Young begin to weave sounds through the speakers.I almost felt a calm nervousness float through the artists as we revisited the raw atmosphere of basement bashes. As people made through way down the stairs, you could smell the krylon in The air. The walls filled with various tags and statements of artistic skill and mind state. The area was small…but as the tunes of Tribe called Quest filled my ear, I feel at home.

The cold brick, steel and wood become warm with a feel of hip hop. The lights, a combined effect of old Christmas lights and regular slightly dim bulbs set the mood. Now old school Outkast get the growing into a state of head nod as we wait to get things started.i stare at the old wooden stage covered with a old mat and remembered when this was all that we needed to feel like stars. No green room or elaborate stage shows. No champagne or expensive bottles, just some twist cap bottles that will fill tour lungs up with that harsh barley taste.

I look out at the assorted crowd that’s has been brought together. An assorted cast of race and shades only concerned with having a good time. Each person adding a bit of their energy to the excitement of the night. people mingled and made introductions, old and new. I listened into conversations and stories about how this person was met or what about Hip Hop brought that person to the event.

The lady of the night, Dina Brass, is dressed in a mix if neon pink and green. A modest mix compared to her live out loud stage performance style. Dina jumps on stage to warm up and entertain the crowd. With a mix of charisma and comedy she holds everyone’s attention. Dina flowed between thanking people for coming, impromptu freestyles and over all checking to make sure the mood was right. She informed people that the canned goods they brought and the donations that they made would be given to a good cause(Who says Hip Hop can’t be positive).

As soon as she got the nod, Dina stepped off the stage and the show began. The line up itself a great mix of talent. Kyle Young, S. Blaze, Tang Sauce, El Vee, Krishna Miles Hayes, Entileck, Young V,  K Dub and Jack Nickelz. Each act made sure the crowd got a bit of everything. From Hip Hop to Spoken word poetry. Solo acts and team performances. Female and male emcees. A impromptu freestyle cypher and an emcee who not only delivered his verses by played the trumpet as well. Even the birthday girl herself, Dina Brass, did a set filled with heartfelt tunes that touched on the travels of her life. And no matter who was on stage, the love was felt and shown all around.

The people who think Hip Hop is all the same needed to be at this sure to see there are still some separate identities still floating around. And just because it was a Hip Hop show it ended with booty popping…


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Random Propaganda by Rockoleone/Jack Nickelz



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