until his older cousin asked him to do a chorus on one of his songs.
And as told, Lil-D (his first rap name) did what he was asked.
While doing his thing, his cousin saw that he was very talented and asked him to make some more songs with him. That's how he discovered his passion in the English rap music.
He started to write his own English rap lyrics over instrumentals.
His first mixtape Hiker has been released in 2008, and was hosted and mixed a Slip ‘n Slide Dj called DJ Chuck Clasik. (At that time his stage name was D-Nice)
In 2009 he recorded his first video which was a remix to Jeremih’s “Birthday sex”. When one of his videos went online on the number one urban/hip-hop site WorldStarHipHop.com, people started to get to know more about him. This interview is an effort to do just that.
LB: I would first like to ask you about your background. When did you first start rapping?
Niceguy: I started rapping at a age of fourteen when my cousin first asked me to do a chorus for him on one of his tracks. He was already busy with rapping so I did it. People dug it and since then I started to write my own lyrics and record some songs via my computer. I had a microphone built into my computer monitor, downloaded a program to record, and that's how I started.
LB: Care to explain your stage name to me a little?
Niceguy: Niceguy The ILLIAN ! Ha, ha. How I came with that stage name? When I first started, my stage name was Lil-D. That's the name my cousin gave me because my real name is Donovan and I was a “lil’ fat boy” So he gave me the name Lil-D. When I was like 15 or 16, I saw the movie State Property for the first time, and there was a dude in the movie by the name of D-Nice and I thought that name was NICE! Since then I switched my name from Lil-D to D-Nice. A moment came where I wanted to take my music career more seriously and to another level. To me it seemed that if I was going to be famous, I couldn’t use the name D-Nice. So i switched to Mr. Niceguy. From here, I started to get a little buzz and people started to know me as an artist. People were leaving comments on my video like 'DUDE, your name is Mr. Niceguy but the way you killed that beat was NOT nice! You are ILL but change your name!' I was already saying the word 'ill' in most of my lyrics, like 'Mr. ILL and Outta Space' or 'Niceguy The ILLEST' so I skipped the 'Mr.' in the front and made it Niceguy The ILLIAN!!! There isn't anyone with that name! So I got myself a legit name.LB: What are you aiming to do with this year, musically speaking?
Niceguy: Well, 2012 had a bad beginning for me. I was homeless at the beginning of this year. I also lost my son just a month ago. Despite this, I'm now working on my third mixtape The Cremation, Vol.2 which is going be mixed by DJ Choz (Official DJ of Gunplay 'Maybach Music') and hosted by my homie EuroSelfmade. My plan is to release the mixtape this summer. I don't have an exact release date yet. I'm also going to London in August to shoot a video with a artist from there by the name of Barn-B. We have a song together which is going to be on his mixtape so we are shooting the video when I'm there.LB: Currently, how many projects do you have out? And of them, which project was your favorite and why?
Niceguy: I have two mixtapes out, and now workin on my third.I have worked with Young Slick, which is also an unsigned artist from Amsterdam. I did the chorus on the first single of his EP, and we have also a video online of that song we did called “Young Boy”.
I have worked on a project with Barn-B on a project as well. That was also one of my my favorite projects because the track we did together is a dubstep track and I never did dubstep. So it was a challenge for me to kill a dubstep beat. But hey, I'm not just a rapper. I'm an artist so even if someone wants to collaborate with me on a rock song, I will get on it and get ill on it.
LB: Who inspires (or has inspired) your interest with hip-hop?
Niceguy: I would like to give you a top three but there are so many more artists that inspire me right now. My favorite artist is Ludacris. He’s got different styles, flows, worldplay, delivery, and that's what I like about Luda. I also like T-Pain as an artist. I like Cassidy, Meek Mill, Planet VI (Rock City), Rick Ross,and a few others.LB: What was it about hip-hop that you made you become a rapper? Was it a specific moment or a person?
Niceguy: You know, I think rapping is not something that everyone can do. If you don't have the talent for it, you will not be able to become a rapper. And nowadays people make rap look easy. Like rapping about bullshit, some are even rapping off beat and still got a big buzz.When I first started, people didn't believe in me. People weren't supporting me then. They thought I couldn't make it as a English rapper. Even my dad! He was shooting videos for other artists here in Amsterdam but never wanted to shoot a video for me or bring me in contact with people who were able to help me out. The funny thing is, most of these people are interested in me and my career now. LOL. So the drive to keep doing what I'm doing even though people thought I couldn't make it. Even now I’m still chasing my dreams to the fullest. It’s one of the things that keeps me doing what I'm doing. This is my passion!
LB: Exactly what is the terminal point of your making music? That is, to say, where do you want it to end up?Niceguy: I wanna end up as a successful rapper/actor/talent scout/songwriter/film director. I want people to say “Hey! He made it out of nothing. If he can do it, I CAN DO IT!” and stay positive. I want to be a role model for people. I mean, there are so many other talented English artists here in Amsterdam, but none of em are getting ANY recognition! So I want to open doors for all of them. That's my goal, to open doors for other people. Some artists are selfish and only think about their own success. I love to see successful people and if I can help other people to become successful, I’m going to do what I have to do to the fullest. The music world is a union. We all are one and we all need each other to make music.
LB: I became familiar with you through your YouTube channel. I was (and still am) impressed with your flow. Do you as an artist pattern yourself after anyone currently rapping?Niceguy: Word? Whoa! I'm glad to hear that! Thanks. I really appreciate that.
Is there another Niceguy The ILLIAN? No, I can't pattern myself after another artist but there are some people that are calling me 'the son of Busta Rhymes' after my fast spit on that “Coke, Dope, Crack, Smack” remix. But no, I can't pattern myself after Busta just because I can rap fast. There are also some people saying that I'm the new Young Jeezy. Some people say I look like Ace Hood. People say the craziest things but I think it’s funny.LB: Tell me what music inspires you.
Niceguy: I'm cool with every type of music as long as the beat is DOPE! When I hear a beat, I want to hear that the person who have made that beat. I want to hear the effort put into his or her work, hear that he/she have put his heart into it.As I said, if Limp Bizkit (or a rock act in general) wants to collaborate you will hear Niceguy The ILLIAN on a rock banger! By the way stay tuned for that dubstep video. The name of the song is “Born This Way”.
LB: Is there any song that you’ve done that you feel that you particularly killed it?Niceguy: Man, every song I get on I KILL!!! But to be honest, what I did to that “Coke, Dope, Crack, Smack” surprised me. I didn't even knew that I could rap that fast! I was shocked when I heard the final product because when I wrote it, I thought I would need to do it in pieces. But I recorded it in one take with a couple of ad libs and bang, there it was. It's gonna be on my third mixtape The Cremation, Vol.2.
LB: Conversely, is there a track where you feel you’ve fallen short?Niceguy: Not really. I did an Amsterdam remix on “Welcome 2 My Hood” which is on The Cremation, Vol. 1 and on that track I collaborated with a dope unsigned artist by the name of Fero Tissity. He had that chopper flow on that track and I was like DAMN!!! But I don't think I've fallen short because we killed it together! LOL. Crazy!
LB: Would you classify yourself as a beat driven or a lyric driven rapper? Explain.Niceguy: Beat driven. The beat tells me what to write! If I get inspiration to write a lyric, I'll beatbox a beat and make a voice memo with my phone, and finish the lyrics on the beat that I have beatboxed in my phone, and then holla at a producer to do the beat exactly how I have beatboxed it. That's how I did the track “Of Course They Go’n Hate”.
LB: So what's the next project going to be? What will it be called? What can be expected from it?Niceguy: My focus now is on The Cremation, Vol.2. My focus is also on creating a bigger fanbase, a bigger buzz. I'm also working on my debut album but I won't release that album until I’ve got like 30,000 or 40,000 diehard fans. The name of my debut album is Bright Future and the first single is already online on iTunes and there's also a video online on YouTube called “Of Course They Go’n Hate”.
LB: Do you have a team or a group of artists that you work with? If so, tell us about them.
Niceguy: Yes, I have a team. These are the people that suported me from the beginning ! And I got a name for them. It's 'Team ILLIANS'. Everyone who suports me, all my fans, are a member of Team ILLIANS !!
The people I work with in my team are EuroSelfmade, he's an artist/video director, Young Slick, he's a artist and he's also starting his own label. Sunrise is my engineer. All the magic happens in his studio and he also shoots the most of my videos with his partner Bryan. They have a company called Syndrum Productions so I do the most things with Syndrum Productions, audio and video.LB: What do you hope people get from your music?
Niceguy: I hope people get a little push to keep doing what they are doing and never stop trying. Don't let anybody tell you that you can't. Because you can. Work hard and you got it.LB: How can readers, fans, and converts keep up with the work you're doing?
Niceguy: Twitter: @MrNiceguyMusicFacebook: facebook.com /OfficialNiceguyTheILLIAN
YouTube: youtube /NiceguyTheILLIAN
Fanpage: Twitter @TeamILLIANS
LB: Any advice that you'd give on rapping as a passion or a pasttime?
Niceguy: Music is GREAT!
LB: Finally, any parting words?Niceguy: Be on the lookout for The Cremation, Vol. 2. Google 'The Cremation mixtape' to see The Cremation, Vol. 1
Stay tuned for the Bright Future album!
SUBSCRIBE to me on YouTube! Become a fan! And with your help I can get 30,000 fans and release the album!
Courtesy of Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine