Watching new artists blossom into national brands is a pleasant reminder of the transformative power of hip-hop fans. Some emerging artists might not even sell as many records or fill arenas or win Grammys, but we should listen to them with the awareness that they should. So without further adieu I would like to introduce to you to Rio de Janeiro-born, Florida-based emcee: NIKO IS.
By now, just about every country on earth is represented in hip hop, but few have an influence as large as Brazil. Though better known for other types of music such as samba, forro, tecnobrega, funk carioca, and the country’s billion or so other less popular genres, there are still parts of Brazil where boom-bap beats dominate the sound scape and vibrant graffiti decorates every open surface.
NIKO IS is the newest addition to Talib Kweli’s Javotti Media imprint. He recently released Good Blood, a precursor to his long awaited BRUTUS LP. The follow-up to last summer's The Other Side of the Velvet Rope street album, the project packs 12 original jams from the up-and-coming emcee. The title is the literal English translation of the Brazilian term, ‘Sangue Bom’. NIKO is the sole vocalist on Good Blood, which features beats from Kriko and Thanks Joey, as well as production by the artist himself. Creating diamond-cut rythms mixing rap with samba, soul, reggae, bossa nova, acid-jazz, and razor-sharp rhymes, this mixtape is a must listen.
FIFA may be praying for a successful world cup this summer, but even if you can’t bear to watch a carnival of unfinished stadiums, political unrest and police crackdowns, just make sure you keep your ears open – NIKO IS can match with a mic whatever Neymar can do with a football.
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