Coming out of the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, underground hip hop artist Night was around to see legends such as Big Pun, DMX, KRS-One, The Lox, among others. Using that as inspiration, in addition to the sounds of the streets, Night has been able to create quite the following as the “Greatest Rapper You Never Heard Of.”
We had a chance to sit with the “Body Bag Bars” rapper to discuss his career path, the challenges of being an underground hip hop artist and more.
You go by the name Night, how did that come about?
Night: I developed insomnia at a very young age. Because of this I would be up all night hence everyone around me calling me Night. When I decided to take music seriously it made the most sense to use Night as opposed to creating a character.
How did you end up becoming part of the Tuff City Styles crew?
Night: In 2001 the owner of Tuff City (Med) made me aware of the possibilities of taking my skill seriously and capitalizing on it. Neither one of us knew much about the ins and outs of the industry but agreed we would learn together. Who better to learn with then a graff artist who took his skill and became a world renowned graffiti artist and tattoo legend. Years later he remains my manager and I manage many other artists as well as the entire music department at Tuff City.
When did you realize you wanted to become a rapper? Why?
Night: It was secretly a dream of mine from grade school. Hearing LL Cool J, Nas, Lost Boyz etc. made me wanna do that. But really it wasn’t until linking with Med that I decided to take it seriously. Words are very powerful and music even more so. I feel that I have a perspective to offer that isn’t out there yet. The voice of the underdog. The voice of the kid that always gets ignored. The other side of the fence. If people would give that kid a listen he has something great to say.
Who do you cite as your musical influences?
Night: Early on my musical influences included Bone Thugs, Big L, MOP, Nas and a few others. As my musical palette grew so did the artists that I chose to let influence me. Now I can get inspiration from a lyrical beast such as Royce Da 5’9″ or Tech N9ne, a very unique vocal like Z-Ro, crazy energy such as System of A Down or DMX, or real to life grittiness such as a Gil Scott Heron. To be completely honest I love music and constantly LIVE with specific songs and albums for long periods of time but my true musical influence comes from the streets and experiencing life itself.
What makes your sound different from other underground artists?
Night: I like to bring a nostalgic NY lyrical feel to my music while still applying things in the music to attract the fan that doesn’t care much for intricate lyrics. Im not much into the generic strip club or party scene of making music but like the ability to achieve success in those lanes, which led me to ghost writing and producing for others.
What challenges do you face as an underground hip hip artist?
Night: The biggest challenge is giving the public a reason to pay attention. Nowadays there are so many artist out there that unless your backed by a machine with an extreme amount of money behind you, its easy to become just another fish in the sea. So building a strategic plan with visuals, promo, and stage shows has become just as important and time consuming, if not more, than making the actual music itself.
How do you feel about the status of hip hop? What can be done less and/or more?
Night: I feel like hip hop is at a great place right now. Things have changed. We’re at a crossroads where the power is shifting back into the hands of the independent artist as opposed to remaining in the hands of the commercial corporate world. Yes theres alot of garbage out there, but none of that music has a life span. The fact that we can have an artist like 2 Chains and an artist like J Cole touch the same stages attests to the fact that its not about being extremely lyrical or extremely party oriented. The fans just want to be affected in some way through the music. There needs to be a balance like everything else in life and right now its out there. Sometimes we just have to dig for quality.
Do you have any upcoming projects in the pipeline?
Night: I just recently dropped my Body Bag Bars 2.5 mixtape on audiomack and a Body Bag Bars Uncut album on iTunes, Amazon and every other digital music service. I plan on dropping my Body Bag Bars 3 album within the coming months as well as dropping multiple projects from the artist I manage that are part of the Tuff City / Torch Up team. This includes Streets – BDS vol 3, Promise – SOB vol 3, Tuffy – The Tuffy Project and a collaborative Torch Up effort featuring Promise, Streets, Whispers, Nopolis, Tuffy, Chambaz, myself and some surprise guests. I also have my Torch Up urban street wear line available now. You can DM me on Instagram for more info @NightTCS.
See Night battle LIVE this Thursday, April 23, 2015 at Blackthorn 51.