I noticed a Kickstarter campaign the other day; someone is transcribing the flow of popular rappers into traditional music notation and wants help funding a book about it. I hear you can study “turntablism” at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Does this mean rap is dead — or that it’s finally part of the establishment? Neither, if San Francisco-based indie rap icon Andre Nickatina has anything to say about it.
Formerly known as Dre Dog, Nickatina has released 14 records since 1993 and appeared on a number of mixtapes, compilations, collaborations and film projects — building a devoted fan base (he has more than 276,000 followers on Facebook, if that proves anything) almost entirely outside of the mainstream music business (though MTV did recently rank him number one on its list of top 10 emcees). Nickatina told Strivin’ magazine that he raps for the love of it and not for popularity. The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Nickatina “a quick-witted rapper who spits as hard as Kurupt does.”
Lyrically and musically, Nickatina keeps ’90s gangsta rap alive; Dr. Dre-esque, gritty and urban cinematic hard funk back up rapid-fire, hard-spit rhymes about bein’ a gansta and how it’s hard out there for a pimp. Part of Nickatina’s success is his tireless touring schedule, and with frequent stops in Eugene, his local following is immense. Nickatina’s shows usually sell out whenever he comes through town.
Andre Nickatina performs the “Nickatina Experience Tour 2013” with Roach Gigz, Mumbls, Black C (from RBL Posse) and TCN 9er at 9 pm Monday, April 22, at WOW Hall; $22 adv., $25 door.