Niccolo aka Shabazz is a man of many talents, aspirations and ideas. The name Shabazz is an ode to the famed black architect whose tribe founded the populations of Africa, according to the doctrine of the Nation of Islam.

While this shows Niccolo’s versatility and evolution, it also demonstrates his deep and true spiritual aspect of the music he creates. Even in his darkest times, Shhabazz continues to strive towards the light.

Growing up in less than ideal conditions gives Bazz a unique perspective on Life which easily translates into the music he creates. Hailing from various parts of the country including Texas, Colorado, and New York, Niccolo draws much inspiration and creativity from the time he spent in Boston, MA.

Thought provoking lyrics combined with an intense delivery reminds Hip-Hop fans of the 90’s era influence of Nas, Ice Cube, and 2 Pac which instantly puts Shabazz in a league of his own among today’s rappers.

Embodying truth, soul, swag, and a raw spirit, Niccolo is a culmination of the experiences and trials and tribulations he’s endured.. When it’s all said and done, Shabazz is more interested in being a Revolutionary than a Rapper.

1) Talk to me about the making of your latest project. What was the inspiration behind it?

The construction of the last project “Crushed Grapes” was similar to a windy cyclone! The mixture of wine, music, and the Holy Spirit is a lovely combination! I mean my lifestyle is at the moment, very nomadic so the project was pieced together in different locations including many hotel rooms.

This brought out different energy levels wrapped around the same concepts. Overall the project was fun and creative, but I can’t wait till when my mixing and mastering are perfected.

2) With the music industry tanking and record sales falling, how do you currently make money as an independent hip-hop artist?

Honestly, I treat it like a network marketing or entrepreneurship. In this case, it is always important for an indie artist on the come up to keep the main source of income while investing in their music until it becomes an ongoing asset.

In today’s music market it is vital for an artist to try and obtain streams and downloads. Read everything they can in order to build adaptation, and evolve with new platforms and opportunities in the music industry. So personally, I keep a job on my level and really due music part-time until the big break! I spend the bulk of my funds on operation costs for my music business slowly building up my brand.

3) From a business point of view, which artists in the game do you think are really pushing the boundaries and changing it up?

Good question… I, like many, study the game aloofly but pretty close lead by The Spirit.

Don’t get me twisted, I respect these artists in their field of work and look to take nothing from them, but I hold them too strong moral standards, because like it or not they are leaders in the communities, and influence youth on a global scale.

In this game drama sales and different is good, but in my opinion, it doesn’t necessarily make it right. Besides all that, I do consider a few artists to be pushing boundaries in today’s time and i take time to listen to their work.

But I mostly observe everything but stick to my “Green Day” “Sam Smith” “Sublime” Common” and most artists that have something positive to convey, or that has the right Hz or a sound that calms my soul.

I listen to a lot of binaural beats and frequencies. Lately, I have discovered or looked more into Billie Eilish. I really enjoy her voice and even did my own mix to her Ocean Eyes. However, I wish the mixing/mastering could’ve been better lol, but I think I did my thing vocally. Hope that answers your question.

4) What business lessons have you learned from the music industry so far?

In this game, you are in a forever training seminar in other words. The moment you stop learning about the business is the moment you cease to be fully alert and risk becoming obsolete or damaging your success.

I have learned many terms like exclusive, non-exclusive, I have learned the process of running your own label and registering your LLC, I have learned management, promotion, of course, marketing, the process of making quick but intelligent decisions, and the ability to have an eye for talent. All in brevity, I have learned the lesson to take a risk after you performed a good enough SWOT analysis.

5) What do you love about hip-hop music?

In my teens, I read a book called “Hip Hop Nation” in this book the author broke down many concepts expressing the dialectical importance of Hip Hop and its effects or impact on today’s youth even beyond the so-called Black community.

We have no idea collectively who are politicians are that make authoritative social decisions that can have a major trade-off on our lives but ask us who Jay-Z is and we respond without hesitation!

Hip Hop sets the trends of the earth and has become a subculture for today’s inner-city youth. Hip Hop is our voice, and can either be a scapegoat adding fuel to deadly conditions and behavior, or it can propel positive spirits back into the communities. I believe Hip Hop will be used by The Most High God as a major instrument to bring back his lost sheep, or at least blow a trumpet of war and warning…

6) What still surprises you about hip-hop?

How we still support the fake and not the real… And when I say real I don’t really mean gangsta. A gangsta is normally stupid, relentless, and reckless. On the contrary, a revolutionary or true soldier uses his brain and music to teach and make you think. Not just only make you dance and feel good. We as a Hip Hop nation need to build up our society not destroy it with poisonous lyrical content.

7) If you had the power to change one thing about the hip-hop industry to help independent artists – what would it be?

More support and platforms for recognition. Demand needs to be changed, if more positive music is pushed by the machine then the sheep will become unprogrammed and unbrainwashed. Their need for derogatory negative lyrics would dissipate.

8) Who do you think are top 3 rappers doing it at the moment?

As far as buzz and recent popularity, oh yeah and controversy, “Dababy” “Migos” “Jcole” but in terms of success I really can’t forget “Drake”.. I know you said only 3, my bad haha

9) So what are your plans for the future?

In regards to this music, I would like to make music that cast out demons, music that uplifts the brain in a positive manner, create music that is life-changing thought-provoking and bring forth fruit for the heavenly kingdom. I want to create music that rejuvenates the Spirit and cause people to galvanize and mobilize! I wouldn’t mind becoming a humbled CEO in a position to make a difference. I have an aspiration to own my own record label and recruiting talented future leaders. I also have a personal goal to develop the greatest album ever released musically with the most sales the RIAA has ever seen! Until next time… Peace & POWER

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Written by Hao Nguyen
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.