NIKO BRIM: Answering The Calling

By: Todd “DG” Davis


Hailing from Mount Vernon, a small town on the outskirts of New York City, Niko Brim grew up completely engulfed in Hip Hop culture. In 2017, Brim dropped his impressive first project, A Thousand Pictures: Book One, followed by its equally solid successor, Book Two, a year later.

The 27 year old rapper / producer’s latest collection, Hues, Vol. 1 [We Each Other], and its current entry, “Die A Legend,” is now available across all streaming platforms.

We caught up with Niko recently to talk new projects & more.


Let’s hop into this double single, “4DACOMPANY,” featuring Kai Ca$h and K Wales [CYNMOB], and the Heather Victoria assisted “CUT THE LIGHTS” — Tell me about these particular tracks; how did they even come to fruition?   

● Whenever I’m in Atlanta, me, Kai and Wales, we just stay locked in the studio – and “4DACOMPANY” was a song we made fresh off CYN camp. And it made perfect sense because CYN camp was celebrating our brotherhood, and we ended up making that record. “CUT THE LIGHTS” is actually an old record I made in 2019. I made that record when I was down at Bright Lady, which is 9th Wonder’s studio. I  locked in with my guy, MU, and we would spend 10-12 hours a day cooking up, and one of those days we landed on “CUT THE LIGHTS,” and it’s crazy because that song has withstood the test of time. As old as it is, it’s still a great record.  

How then do “4DACOMPANY” and “CUT THE LIGHTS” either differ and / or compare to previous NIKO BRIM entries?   

● I think “4DACOMPANY” and “CUT THE LIGHTS” are on brand with the music that I release, to what I represent. I’ve always made sure to think about building valuable (relationships), building ownership, creating a legacy – or a continuing legacy – and I think “4DACOMPANY” speaks to that. “CUT THE LIGHTS” is a smooth take on me being introspective and searching for that feeling that I feel the rap game is missing. So, yeah, I think those themes are spot on with who I am. I’m just constantly getting better at sharing my perspective. 

As a lyricist, when you sit down to pen your rhymes where do you draw your inspiration from? 

● I draw a lot of my inspiration from my life and my experiences, or it could be the experiences of the people closest to me, but usually, I just like to pull from my life and what I’m feeling. A lot of the creativity comes from inside.   

Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for NIKO BRIM?     

● I’ve been into music my entire life. From the moment I could remember, just growing up in Hip Hop culture. I’ve always loved and embraced Hip Hop. I think that in high school was when I started pivoting into wanting to be a rapper. It was something that was just always around me. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, but I just know that music was always something that I knew I had a gift and a potential calling for.   

Now you’re from Mount Vernon, New York, correct? So growing up in “Money Earnin'” who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?   

● I think my strongest musical influences would definitely be Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Nipsey Hussle, and Bob Marley.       

Having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?     

● I don’t really look to classify it, it’s art. I let the people do that. Me, I’m just here to make what I feel.   

Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?  

● I just want people to have music that they can connect with. With music, you never know how it resonates with somebody and what’s the message and meaning that they take from it, so I just feel that if people can hear my music and feel inspired; people can hear my music and be hopeful. If people can hear my music and feel like they got a blueprint to get their career, or their path started, then I’m happy.   

If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?   

● I would have loved to collaborate with Bob Marley.  I would love to collaborate with Nas; and I would’ve loved to collaborate with Nipsey. I love Bob because of the message that Bob was coming with, what he spoke about – I think that it just resonated with me. And I have a tremendous respect for him to stand up for what he was standing up for. Nas because he, to me, is one of the greatest rappers of all time, you know. He exemplifies Hip Hop. He is living, breathing Hip Hop. He is Hip Hop and personified to me. And I think Nipsey, because Nipsey, to me, was someone who gave so much game and genuinely wanted success for people. I think that the message in his music was so huge, you know. And I would have loved to be able to be a part of telling that story with him.  

If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?   

● I would say, first, Madison Square Garden.  I’m from New York. I’ve been to Madison Square Garden so many times. I just feel like that’s a classic. But outside of that, I would say the 02 Arena out in London.       

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?   

● Yeah, I am happy with the current state of Hip Hop. I think people who say they aren’t, aren’t really taking their time. They’re casually listening. For good Hip Hop, you gotta crate-dig for that, for good music in general. And I think that right now there’s so many artists coming up that have their own unique expression of Hip Hop and are really talented and are hard-working, you know. And I’m inspired to be a part of the class with deep talent like this.   

What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?       

● Standing ten toes on who I am, you know, being authentic and being unapologetic about it.     

Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?   

● I really wanna be able to give back to my community in a major way. In a way where the generations after me will have information and access that we didn’t have. I think that’s the main goal that I wanna achieve before I’m done.   

To date, what has been your biggest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?   

● My biggest career moment…being able to open up for Miss Lauryn Hill at the Barclay Center, and being able to open up for Rakim for Hip Hop 50.           

What’s an average day like for you?   

● An average day for me consists of music and family. I check on my loved ones and I make sure they’re good, you know. I’m locked in on my career, man. A day with me is very focused and very intentional. The quality of the work beats the quantity of the hours.   

Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans.   

● I love my fans, man. They keep me going – and over the years,  I’ve been able to create some really close relationships with my fans. I speak to them in the DM often, you know. I get to tap into their world, and see what they got going on, and they always support me. We’ve been able to build personal relationships. I know some of my fans by name, and recognize their face, and I think that we have become more like a family at this point. When you’ve been grinding for this long, and have people supporting you for this long, that sounds like family to me.   

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?   

● I think my most favorite part about this line of work is getting to travel to see the world and connect with people. That’s just my favorite part hands down. I would say the most annoying part is the amount of time that we have to sacrifice. A lot of people, by the time they’re my age, might be married and settled down. And, you know, because of my calling in my life, I have to give a lot of my life to my career and the rest of the world.   

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?   

● I would tell them that they need to look at their own 2 feet and create a path for themselves. There’s no reason to do it like me. I had a specific path that was laid out for me and you have a specific path that’s laid out for you. If you stay in tune with yourself, if you trust your gut instincts and make decisions that you feel are the best for yourself, for where you wanna be in life, you can have a career that’s similar to the career that I have.   

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?   

● I see myself as one of the greatest to ever do it, one of the artists that brought back life to New York’s Hip Hop scene; an artist that was able to touch and connect with the world. I see myself doing sold-out tours. I see a lasting impact on people and leaving some sort of blueprint that I see in the generation that follows me.   

As for the immediate, what’s next for you, NIKO?   

● In the immediate future, I would say, traveling, tours; more music videos, more music being released; people seeing my face more. You know, I’m one of those people where I appreciate my privacy but I understand the value of being present for these opportunities. You can expect to see me moving around more.   

Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?     

● N/A.   

Lastly, any “parting” words for our readers?   

● I appreciate you guys, you know, tapping in with this interview. Hues, Vol. 1 is now available on streaming, and I appreciate y’all support. Stay tuned into me on my social media: @NikoBrim.