Australia has a pretty strong foundation for rap artists.
With fast phrasing mic-slingers like Hilltop Hoods dominating the airwaves, you’d be forgiven for thinking our rap scene is becoming a bit samey. However, in the creatively blossoming streets of Melbourne, rapper NYUON plans on taking Aussie hip-hop to the next level.
With ultra-modern soundscapes and his deeply personal, witty lyricism, NYUON could be destined for really big things. We were lucky enough to chat with the man himself across the interwebs about his roots and where he’s headed next.
NYUON’s music cites decades of rap from around the world. His influence and his heritage make for a deadly combo that’s about to shake up the Aussie scene.
HAPPY: For those who don’t already know, tell us about your beginnings and background.
NYUON: NYUON is just your average Melbourne boy chasing big global dreams but, as for my origins… simply put, I’m an Ethiopian born, Kenyan raised, South Sudanese Australian.
HAPPY: Who or what inspired you to get into music? How did you develop your distinctive flow?
NYUON: At the beginning, I just rapped along to all my favourite artists but over time I started to recognise some of the mistakes they make in their delivery. From then on, I’d try to fix them myself and then, eventually, I just started to write my own verses to the songs, which turned into something more then a hobby over time. Every month or so, I have a new favourite rapper that I’m listening to. I think because of that, my flow is unique and distinctive as result of all the different artists I’m listening to.
HAPPY: Views Up, your latest single, has been garnering a lot of popularity of late, what’s the song about and why do you think people like it so much?
NYUON: Views Up is one of the easiest songs I’ve ever written. I think it’s because I was literally just talking about what my friends and I did and talked about over the previous weekend. I think people like it so much because it’s very different to anything that ever came out of Australia. Also, a lot of people can relate to it since the message behind it is to keep your head up until you and your crew make it. I’m also referencing places we all know and hang out at, like Chapple Street and it’s dope hearing that in songs, it’s a change from always hearing about New York or LA.
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HAPPY: What do you hope to achieve in music? Do you have an important message to put across?
NYUON: I hope to achieve all my dreams through music while inspiring others to do the same with whatever they’re into. Overall, I don’t have a specific message but my songs individually I’d say have different messages depending on what topic I decide to write about at the time.
HAPPY: Australia has a surprisingly diverse rap scene. What Aussie rappers do you rate?
NYUON: The rap scene is crazy dope at the moment! So many new people are coming up, which is good for everybody because it means we all have to step our game up constantly to stay afloat. I met Nico Ghost recently I think his music is dope, Anne-Marie, Allday and Sampa The Great are also killing it.
HAPPY: Kanye West is a pretty divisive figure, as someone in the rap game, what are your thoughts on his contribution to the music?
NYUON: There’s no question I’m a huge Kanye fan. His contributions seem endless at times. He paved the way for artists such as Kid Cudi, Chance the Rapper and also contributed to producing some of the most influential artists of all time. He’s always doing something weird and different that’s never been done. For example, he’s the only person that I’ve ever heard of that was still editing his album, even after it’s release.
HAPPY: How do you go about finding the perfect music to match your lyrics? What does that mean for the finished product?
NYUON: I don’t really have one method for finding the perfect instrumental. Sometimes I sit on Soundcloud just listening to random producers, other times I call my boys and make a request. But, if I’m really particular about what I want, I just jump on the computer and make it myself. To me, the music can completely change the feel and vibe of the lyrics so it’s very important that I’m always mixing and matching between the two until I find the perfect combination.
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HAPPY: A line in Bitchu from your record, By Myself repeats the lyric “real recognise real”. I’ve heard it a few times in hip-hop tunes lately, what does it mean to you and in the context of the song?
NYUON: To be honest, the term real recognise real can’t really be defined. It’s an idiom in hip-hop culture and Im positive it’s mainly used in reference to how real individuals connect, respect or identify with other real individuals. In the context of the song Bitchu I was pretty much just expressing how there are people out there that we don’t recognise, no matter how good their acting skills are!
HAPPY: What musicians would you really love to collaborate with?
NYUON: Chance the Raper, Tyler, the Creator, ASAP Rocky, T.I. To be honest, the list could go on forever but I’d just love to work with all the guys I’ve been looking up to for years. It would be the ultimate accomplishment.
HAPPY: What’s next for NYUON?
NYUON: Next is more and more music, shows and videos so stay tuned!