Q&A: Nolan The Ninja Talks Producing VS. Rapping, Inspiration From A Tribe Called Quest and Future Aspirations

Nolan The Ninja is a fierce competitor when it comes to being a force of hip-hop genius. The rapper/producer beckons a sound akin to the glory days of the East-coast vibes heard in the 90s; yet, the artist brings an effort likened to the intense progression of the digital era of 2014 and beyond. Being that so many of his songs have been featured on HHSE, we felt it was only right to get a chance to talk with the nominal emcee/beatsmith. It’s the end of 2013, but Nolan The Ninja insists he is only just beginning. Read on to learn more about the artist known as Nolan The Ninja:

Q: Feel free to introduce yourself to the readers.
A: “My name is Nolan & I’m a 21-year old emcee-producer from Detroit, MI.”

Q: Who was your musical idol growing up?
A: “Eh, I didn’t really have one. I was just an enthusiast of music.”

Q: Why did you decide to become a musician?
A: “I felt that I had a niche for it. When I was younger, everybody wasn’t trying to be a rapper. When I first start doing it, it was somewhat of a rarity. Plus, it was something that truly connected with me. I believed that I could make a difference in the field.”

Q: Who’s your favorite music artist of all time?
A: “Ah, that’s a tough one. When you say ‘all-time’, I have to consider all of the genres of music. I could name everybody from Q-Tip to Bob James to Patrice Rushen to Teddy Riley & so forth.”

Q: When did you start making music? Do you remember the first song you made?
A: “Well, I started recording demos at the age of 14-15. I don’t remember the first song that I made, though. Most likely, it was over a popular instrumental at the time or something like that.”

Q: Which came first, the raps or the beats?
A: “The rhymes definitely came first. I had no idea that I would fall into producing. Ironically, I’m more about the music than lyrics now. I still love to rhyme, though. That’ll never change. However, it’s something about crafting production that I love.”

Q: Do you feel you are more inclined to produce tracks or write lyrics?
A: “I’m definitely more into producing tracks now. I’ve been rhyming for years but producing tracks is much different. I mean, from diggin’ for records to sample to choppin’ them up & whatnot. Production isn’t so crowded because everyone can’t do it. Plus, you can’t fake shit when it comes to beats because it’s strictly music. You don’t have a person on the mic fabricating his or her lifestyle for appeal or anything like it. You have to fully comprehend the art of making beats.”

Q: What is your inspiration for making songs (in general and/or specifically)?
A: “When it comes to beats, I gain inspiration off of diggin’. I love to dig. Whenever I go out & buy new records, I instantly put the needle to them as soon as I get home. As far as lyrics go, I have to be in the mood to write.”

Q: How did the name Nolan the Ninja come to being?
A: “It started in high school. People knew me because I used to always wear wee-ninjas. In fact, I still do. They don’t sell the ones that I wore in high school anymore, though. But that’s how it came about. People just connected my name & ‘ninja’. The alliteration is cool, I guess.”

Q: In 2012, you released your debut album Ninjatown. What was your inspiration for that album?
A: “For some reason, I was listening to a lot of ATCQ at that time. That’s how songs like “Tiffany” & “Phat & Phuncky” came about. Truthfully, I somewhat regret that project. I wasn’t as focused as I could’ve been.”

Q: How did it feel to release a solo project? How was it received?
A: “It was cool to release a project but anybody can do that. The matter is, how can your project impact the culture? But it was received well, I guess. I haven’t had anyone tell me that it was whack or anything. But I know that it could’ve been much better than what it was.”

Q: What is your favorite song YOU made? What song seems to resonate more with fans?
A: “People haven’t heard my favorite song yet. In otherwords, it’s unreleased. But people seem to love “F*ck The Whack” & “The Books”.”

Q: If you walked up to a stranger on the street and had to convince them to listen to your music, what three songs would you play them and why?
A: “I would play them “Apparatus”, “The Books”, & “F*ck The Whack”. All of those joints have different tones to them. It displays a solid range of artistry, in my opinion.”

Q: What do you feel separates you from other hip-hop artists (rappers & producers) today?
A: “I’m honest with myself. I never go outside of my realm of music. I know my lane & I stay in it. There’s no need of degrading my pride for some acknowledgement. I’d rather get it off of my genuine creations.”

Q: What do you want people to get from your music?
A: “I want people to feel comfortable in doing what they want to do. Just do you & eventually, the rest will catch up. Stay true to yourself!”

Q: How do you see the state of hip-hop now compared to in the past? What do you hope for the future?
A: “It sucks now. I plan on changing it one day, though.”

Q: Are you happy with your spot in hip-hop right now? Would you change anything about it?
A: “I understand that this whole music thing is a process. With that said, I’m remaining patient for a breakthrough opportunity. Until then, I’m creating.”

Q: Would you ever consider signing to a record label (indie or major)?
A: “Sure but I have a lot of specifications, though.”

Q: What’s in store for Nolan the Ninja in 2014?

Q: If you could work with any musical artist from any genre alive right now, who would that be?
A: “If I’m making the beat, I’d say Nas.”

Q: For fun, what is something very few people know about you?
A: “I graduated from high school in the top 5 ranking of my class.”

Q: What’s on Nolan the Ninja’s iPod?
A: “As of now, I’m playing Diamond D’s second album.”

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The author Stone

Stone is a hip-hop enthusiast residing in NJ/PA. As an aspiring hip-hop producer, Stone studies communications and shares his passion for music by letting the world in on the wonderful world of hip-hop.