Although rapper Nick Paradise is Yonkers based his sound and indefinable style can't be pegged to one specific region and his energetic delivery, unique flow, word play, and youthful good looks are rapidly gaining him an impressive following from Yonkers and beyond. Coming off his win as one of the top 10 finalists' spots in the Diesel/55DSL Talent Show in New York City and in preparation for the release of his mixtape No Vacation scheduled to drop in early 2012, Nick Paradise sat down with Immunization Against Invisibility to rap about his future in the rap game, Open Oven Music, and Tumblr fame.
Invisibility Against Immunization: Is Nick Paradise your real name?
Nick Paradise: No.
What is your real name?
My real, whole government name is Timothy Thomas.
How did you come up with Nick Paradise?
Nick Paradise came about when I was on a conference call with my team Double O. They said, "We have a name for you...Nick Paradise," and I said, "Wow, I like that."
Out of the blue they just said Nick Paradise?
Yeah, out of nowhere. They were just throwing out different names and they were like "Nah, I like Nick Paradise." I said, "But that has nothing to do with me; Nick –that's not my name," and they said, "Nah, don't worry about it; that fits you." And that gave me this ego boost like I have a name nobody has and people are going to be like "Oh Nick Paradise; I never heard that before."
I read on your Tumblr that you're African-American, West Indian, European, and Cuban. Has your multicultural upbringing influenced your music? Or is it just who you are?
Honestly, that's just who I am. I haven't been enlightened to the impact that my past has had on me, but somewhere down the line I'm pretty sure it does have an impact.
You're from the Yonkers –born and raised?
No, I'm from The Bronx. I just live in Yonkers. I was born and raised in the Bronx.
What represents a Bronx sound to you?
Honestly, who I am now as far as my name and things I've done so far I don't think people can depict me as having a sound. They might say "Where's this guy from?" When I'm in Yonkers they look at me a certain kind of way because they know I'm not from that area at all. I dress differently. My demeanor is different so they kind of look at me funny. But as far as music you basically get depicted by your style, your swag. If you just look like a wack dude you most likely are, sometimes, but looks can be deceiving.
All rappers aren't logophiles (lover of words), but it seems like you are. I can't think of any rapper that ever used the word "behoove" before like you did in your freestyle over Jay-Z and Kanye's "Otis" track. And your rhymes are heavy with word play. Where did your love of words come from?
I'm going to start by saying this –I graduated, but back in high school it was something about people's diction that annoyed me. I would hate when people said things incorrectly and I would always correct them, so I got depicted as an English major and they were like "You're a young English major," and I was like "Nah, I'm trying to help you out; I'm beneficial to you." My favorite subject is English, so that pretty much helped me as far as rapping. I write poetry as well. I'm diverse. I have story lines and all different types of scenarios.
You're part of a team called Open Oven Music. Who and what is Open Oven Music?
We're more than a team; we're more like a family. I see a team as a group of guys who want the same thing but they don't have any chemistry or fun time, it's just one main objective. However, with Open Oven Music, we're a family. We actually spend time with each other, hang out, go to the studio; we do things as a whole. Even right now I feel that they're with me.
When you put out an album is it going to be like the Wu-Tang Clan?
Nah, we're going to have a few duo albums. There are nine of us. It's me, Dre Charles –that's my little brother, Anthony King, Prince Adam, Shynze, KoNiko, Lyric, Queenie Catora, and Demetrius Martinez. We all are solo artists, however when we want to link up it will be like a Dre Paradise or King Paradise thing. We're all solo artists, but we may do things as a whole as well.
You describe yourself as a rapper, music producer, poet, fashion designer, and a visual artist. Which came first?
Honestly, I believe visual artist came first. I used to draw sneakers. That was almost like a phase, but that is where it really started. I was always musically inclined, so at the age of 12 I got this game, I don't know where I got it from or what happened to it, but it was a game that basically gave me tutorials on how to make a beat and I got inspired from there. Even though the beats were pretty horrible I admit, now that I see my progression. My older brother was rapping before me and he inspired me to start rapping. I always knew I had this something about me. That is what the females say, too, "It's just something about you," and they never really specify what it is
What rapper has influenced you the most – musically or fashion wise?
I'll use current day rappers. I get referred to as a sort of replica of Kanye West because of my swag and word play and Andre 3000 because he's just deep and it goes over a lot of people's heads, but that's all due to society nowadays. That's a whole other story.
Do you have any favorite poets?
My favorite poet is Langston Hughes; I've been very inspired by his work.
Since you have so many talents like rapping, poetry, where do you see yourself in the next five years --doing music? Or just doing everything you possibly can?
Honestly, I just see myself as an entrepreneur because I don't ever really want to stay on one thing. That's what a lot of people do nowadays. That's why I feel a lot of people are disrespecting hip hop. They settle for that and everybody is doing that and that shows other people like "I can do that, too," or "You know what let me do that; I don't have anything else to do." They use it as a hobby when it's more of a lifestyle. And they want to get upset and be mad at the world when they aren't successful because there isn't heart behind it. I've been around music all my life.
What do you hope to bring to the rap game?
Well I have a current song where I say something like "You're trying to see how far the game will take you, the difference is I'm trying to see how far I can take the game." I just want to come into this and bring the game with me. I'll go ahead of the game and do something outrageous and bring the game with me. I don't want to be brought up with the game. That's the biggest impact I want to have. I want to be a legend.
Where can people find you on the Internet?
You can find me on my Facebook fan page and my twitter is @IamNickParadise. I don't really publicize my Tumblr because a lot of people on Tumblr get a lot of "love," but it's all a gimmick. It's almost like a MySpace. You can put up a front, put on two different outfits, take a few couple pictures, and they get reblogged and when they see that they're like "Oh wow people really love me." But it might not be you they love. They could love your camera, the sneakers you got, your background, your house. I don't want that Tumblr fame. The amount of reblogs I get, that will come. I'm not fiending for that. That's not something I desire.