RESPECT. Interview: Nate Nixen Talks Detroit, Label Deal & the Future

Nate Nixen

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begin solidifying his name in both the infamous Detroit streets, and the Hip-Hop world. RESPECT. sat down with Nate Nixen recently to discuss the Detroit Hip-Hop scene, his recent label deal, and whats next for the budding emcee.

RESPECT.: Describe the current Detroit music scene in your own words.

Nate Nixen: “On the come up. There’s a lot of different talent in Detroit and there’s definitely a scene that’s been building for a good amount of years now. There’s definitely a culture out here and a rap scene in Detroit, and I like it. I think if everyone keeps doing what they’re doing, there’s definitely room for Detroit to have its own name in Hip-Hop.”

RESPECT.: What are you trying to accomplish with your career? Are you trying to be the best, have fun, or create your own lane?

Nate Nixen: “I think anyone that does anything wants to be the best. But I think mainly with my career what I want to do is create. Create as much dope s*** as I can, and make stuff that I can look back at and say, ‘damn did I make that?’. So I’m going to do that, that’s goal numero uno.”

RESPECT.: You’ve recently signed to Culture Republic, how important is signing to a label in todays industry? What are your thoughts on label deals vs. staying independent?

Nate Nixen: “I think artists definitely have the tools to do it on their own now with the internet. You can move the same way you move with a label, but I think a label can really put you in front of the right people and help steer you right. They make sure you’re going in the right direction no matter what you do. I think the label has been around and they understand the game a lot more than I do, and I kind of just make the music. It’s great to have some more people help steer the ship for sure, but I think in today’s climate anybody can achieve anything they want with the internet. It’s kind of up to the artist right now, but both work for sure.”

RESPECT.: Can you tell us one trend in Hip-Hop right now you mess with, and one you do not?

Nate Nixen: “I’m really feeling Ty Dolla $ign, Kehlani, and Sonny Digital, but that’s a tough one. I’m trying to think of something I dislike but its all part of the culture. I’m down with it. Even if I don’t like it I’m still going to watch.”

RESPECT.: Many Hip-Hop artists have their hands in multiple financial pots (clothing, alcohol, apps). How important is it for Hip-Hop artists to focus on more than just music? Is that strategy something you agree with?

Nate Nixen: “I definitely agree with that strategy. Ever since Diddy came out [with Ciroc], it kind of started around then for me noticing, and 50 Cent. But having your hand in a lot of different pots is going to be a big thing in an artists career but it has to be the right brand and fit. I’ll try myself to get to that point but I definitely agree with that approach. Selling records really isn’t a high part of any artist’s earning anymore, mainly its all from touring and what not. Touring and merchandise is a huge thing as well as endorsement deals and anything along those lines. Just making sure you have a bunch of different ventures going on at one time. That’s the key.”

RESPECT.: Being so close to Canada, what are your thoughts on the expanding northern Hip-Hop scene?

Nate Nixen: “It’s crazy how much Canada is making a dent in Hip-Hop right now. First Justin Bieber being such a big star coming out of Canada, then followed by Drake coming out of there too. Now you got Nav, Tory Lanez, and there’s a lot of other people coming out of Toronto and Canada as a whole. I’m glad it’s branching out past L.A., Atlanta, and New York. I see it over seas a lot too with Skepta and those guys over there. It’s nice you don’t have to be tied down to any city to get momentum, you can do that anywhere.”

RESPECT.: Jason Geter praised your talent for not only recording, but editing and directing your own videos. How important is it for artists to be involved in more than just the recording aspect?

Nate Nixen: “My favourite part about doing everything, is that I can put my two cents into everything that we do. It’s not necessarily the most important thing, I mean you can just be the guy that raps, or the guy that does the videos on the side, but I like the fact that I can be a part of everything. The beats, the rap, the video, that way I can really convey the feel I’m trying to. It’s nice that every step of the way I can have my two cents heard. But I don’t think its necessary for any artist to be completely involved in every part. But I will say with me kinda doing everything, Jason respected that about me and my hustle because I don’t have to wait on anybody to get things done.

RESPECT.: If you could collaborate with one artist, who would that be?

Nate Nixen: Jeff Lynne from ELO. He was composing a lot back in the day, and still making music and putting it out today. Definitely someone I look up to in music. If I could collaborate with anyone, that would be the guy.”

RESPECT.: How would you describe your own sound?

Nate Nixen: “I like to think it’s a little bit of everything. I like to sample from older music, I like to listen to older music, so I like to think that you can hear a little bit of everything. There definitely will be labels, but I like that there isn’t. I want to be able to make every genre I can, I just like making music as a whole. I never go in tied down to one sound, I just let it flow. Whatever you hear is 100% me, I only make my own music. I have my own vibe.”

RESPECT.: Can you give us any details on what’s next for Nate Nixen?

Nate Nixen: “I’m going to keep the First 59 [series] coming. I’m going to unleash a string of music videos and singles, I’m not really focused on doing a whole project right now, but more just a constant flow of material. I’m going to focus on producing a lot more, on the beat side of it. Up until now it’s been mostly other producers, but I’m really going to try producing my stuff instead of just writing and recording it. A lot of songs and videos coming real soon.”

While the rest of Detroit may be currently facing political and economic obstacles, the Detroit Hip-Hop scene is in fact alive and well. Nate Nixen is also proving the newest generation of rappers can do it all. With writing, recording, editing, and now producing on the horizon, Nixen is acquiring the skills he needs to one day be a force in Hip-Hop. Check out Nixen’s First 59 Youtube series, and look for new material to drop soon.

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About TJ Mroz

- Honors, Communications (Wilfrid Laurier University) - Program Director, Radio Laurier (Waterloo & Brantford Campus) - Host of The Rap Up (Radio Laurier) - Amateur Hip-Hop artist - Email: - Twitter: @TeeJmroz