"Conducting Thoughts" interviews are back in full swing and I figured I'd start with a guy I've worked with before. That fellow is NomiS (of, Gallery Drive and, formerly, Forgotten Heroes) who's released a free EP for the masses, entitled "Rosario Dawson." NomiS is an emcee on the come-up in a few circles and I was eager to get a few words from him on his project, a few random questions, and hopefully some insights on the "O-side resident." Please read on...
Conduct: Its been quite an interesting last year you had with your crew Gallery Drive, dropping a mixtape and album. Do you feel that the group effort has brought a bit of shine on you and your crew?
NomiS: I sure hope so! ha ha. But yeah, I think the "Psycho" video got a lot of attention and as a result we've made some new supporters. For people who haven't heard "Scratching the Surface", you guys are sleeping big time. I think that album is so freakin good!
Conduct: Gallery Drive dropped a pretty slick looking video for your first single. How important to an artist do you feel "the video" is in this day and age?
NomiS: Wow, these days everybody has access to something extremely "professional" and you have to keep up or get left behind. We live in a visually stimulated society these days so I think the video aspect is such a big help in promoting yourself!
Conduct: Have you found it to be an easier or more difficult task to get a release with a group out there and into the public eye?
NomiS: Well, when you have more people involved your pretty much always going to have a larger audience check for it. 6 people promoting instead of one person is a big difference, even if our audiences are very similar. BUT, the process of finishing the album and actually getting it out is so much more work! Doing music with the Gallery Drive crew is a ton of fun, but its a headache for sure! ha ha
Conduct: Let's get into the new project, its been awhile since you released your last album, "Mouthpiece of the Lion." What made you decide to come back (on a solo project) with an EP?
NomiS: Well, before I started working on this project I was already working on my next full length album (Searching for Alpha Trion). During the process I was getting this feeling that my career was feeling very stagnant to me. I was growing as an artist, but my audience didn't seem to be expanding at an equal rate. So, I decide that i would bite the bullet for one project, make something that I felt was really dope, and then just give it away for free with no strings attached. I try to promote myself in the ways that I feel work on me. For me, if I've at least heard about an artist a few times and I see that they've released a free project, I'll download it and listen to it at least once 7 times out of 10. So my hope for "Rosario Dawson" is to expand my following and hopefully get some new ears checking for me. Once "Searching for Alpha Trion" drops I'll hopefully have a whole new group of people excited and ready to buy it. Ideally this next release will get the proper attention that I think it deserves. If it does, I will finally be able to do this full time and just focus on music. But, that cant happen if people don't support financially. I can be as well known as Drake or Lil' Wayne, but if everybody just bootlegs my album, I'll stay broke.
Conduct: Rosario Dawson. Your thoughts on the actress?
NomiS: I think she is lovely....we can just leave it at that. ha ha
Conduct: What made you want to call the EP "Rosario Dawson?" Was that track just the one which, thematically stood out as what the set of songs was all about?
NomiS: I picked that song for the title track because I felt that was the song that was the best representation of where I was at when I wrote and recorded the project. The idea of people wanting what they cant have (or what isn't important), versus wanting what they really need has just been very apparent to me lately. Its what our country thrives on these days. We teach people what they "need" through television, radio, etc. and as a result we're creating a generation of snobs who feel like the world owes them something.
Conduct: Besides the title track, what made you decide to go with the 2nd video, about human sex trafficking?
NomiS: I picked that human trafficking joint because real talk, that's the most important song I've ever written in my life! The subject matter of "On Behalf of the Silenced" is so important to me, but on a larger scale, so important to God. "Christian Rappers" always talk about sin, grace, eternity, etc. But dang, we have this huge issue happening right now and nobody is talking about it! There are an estimated 27 MILLION people enslaved right now around the world. That's more than ever in the history of the planet as far as I know. Anyway, people need to hear that message, so that's why I picked that song for a video.
Conduct: Do you ever feel that, as an emcee, you can really dig into topics of such a sensitive matter that you wouldn't be able to if you did music of another style?
NomiS: I've been thinking about this concept a lot recently actually. Rock musicians don't sing about being better than other bands, or "killing drum sets" or something silly like that. But rappers do it all the time. "I'll murder the track" blah, blah, blah. ha ha. On the flip side, there are bands that sing about the exact same things for multiple albums at a time! Their entire catalog will consist of songs about "love", but some how they still get away with being redundant. Rappers cant get away with that!!! ha ha. In general, Hip Hop does allow me to be more specific about certain topics because of the nature of the music. Hip Hop requires so many more words in a song. That alone helps to dig deep into a topic. I would love to see more genres stepping up their content though. I think they all have the ability to do it, I just think that people are scared to talk/write about issues like this. It leaves you very vulnerable in the public eye, and its not very marketable. Just look at my two videos that I released a week a part from each other. Right now as I'm typing this, the "Rosario Dawson" video has like quadruple the amount of views as "On Behalf of the Silenced" does.....I wonder why that is? (SARCASM)
Conduct: When not doing music (or music related things) Nomis can be found doing..?
NomiS: NomiS can be found watching The Boondocks or eating at Chipotle. ha ha
Conduct: here's a place to plug something or someone that you think is deserving of attention -
NomiS: Well, I'll plug my homie Afaar's new album (Art of Word) and EP he has done. I'm not sure the order in which they'll be released, but they're both very good; especially the EP. Then there is also a new EP from Insufficient Funds that should dropping hopefully in 2010, but I'm not sure. I'll also plug my next full length solo album dropping in 2011 entitled, "Searching for Alpha Trion". The album is sounding very good so far and I'm pretty excited about it. I'm trying out some new ideas and working with some new producers. Its going to be a little bit of a different direction musically, but at the same time, I'm staying true to what "NomiS" really is. You'll get honest raps, just packaged a little differently then normal.
Conduct: do you have a question you'd like me to answer?
NomiS: Who's your favorite rapper in Gallery Drive? Like, honestly. Not just what you think I want you to say. ha ha
Conduct: Either the guy who said "Get to the choppa!" On that one track off the album, or probably Afaar, for his sheer amount of comic book quotes. lol. YOU have my fav hairdo in the group, though.
Thank you, NomiS, for "Conducting Thoughts" with me.