About Nikki Makk: Nikki grew up in New Orleans and began rapping as a young teen. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed his beloved city, he immersed himself in the Miami/Tampa rap scene before settling in Houston in 2008. His work recently topped Billboard’s Greatest Regional Gainer. His successes include collaboratives with:
Roland & Goldfingers
David “D-Dunk” Faulk (producer/engineer for Mystikal)
Will “Playa Will” Nelson (I Done Came Up, Choppa, No Limit)
The Beat Caterez
A.G. tha Hustler
In a recent conversation with Nikki we discovered we’re both HUGE Stevie Wonder fans – I’m happy to introduce Nikki to you on Stevie’s 61st birthday!
JTMM: Welcome, Nikki and thanks for working me into your super-busy schedule. I know you’re leaving for Haiti again soon, but let’s talk music first, ok? Nikki – I’ve known you for sometime now and I’m impressed with your talent and artistic commitment. When did you first know that music would be your career path?
Nikki: I didn’t know until my freshman year in high school, I would always listen to music but I was really big on sports, I played just about every sport coming up.
JTMM: What happened in high school that changed your focus to music?
Nikki: Around that time I moved from my old neighborhood of Hollygrove/ 17th Ward (New Orleans) to the 7th Ward. I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood and when I would go out to see if anyone was playing ball I was confronted and would fight because I wasn’t from around there. My sister’s boyfriend had a nephew that lived down the street from me who was also from the 17th ward and in the same situation as me. He had DJ equipment and was looking for a rapper. I’d tried it before but once we met, I took it more seriously…there you have it!
JTMM: And music worked it’s magic on you… in a very big way. You’re a versatile artist; I’ve heard your rap and recently heard some work that was a fusion of jazz, R&B and pop. Who are your musical influences and how has that evolved since high school?
Nikki: It’s weird because although I’m a rapper….my parents played a lot of Stevie Wonder, Maze, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Isaac Hayes and what have you; they really inspired me but as a rapper, I was heavily influenced by Scarface, The Geto Boys, Big Mike, (I was cool with one of his younger brothers),OutKast, Snoop, The Dogg Pound, and my favorite all time locals Tim Smooth, Gregory D, and the Ninja Crew( this was the first group Mannie Fresh was in). I still listen to older rappers for inspiration.
JTMM: Your fave now?
Nikki: There are a lot that I follow and am inspired by; it’d be hard to pick one favorite but in my deck is Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Kanye, The Game and a few more…
JTMM: What’s your next step as an artist? Any new releases scheduled?
Nikki: my next step is the D.I.Y. independent route. I have two singles (I Done Came Up, A-ListChic) that are dropping in mid spring and summer. I’ll be releasing my album soon after that.
JTMM: Cool, that’s great you’re dropping I Done Came Up – I saw one of your recent performances – you had the crowd worked up! I felt your connection to that song – glad I was there.
JTMM: now this is a very busy time for you – dropping two singles and an album soon and yet you’re taking the time to travel to Haiti to continue your charitable work with the earthquake victims there, tell us about your work in Haiti and why it’s so important to you…you’ve been several times now, yes?
Nikki: Yes, I have. It is very important to me because I am of Haitian descent, these are still my people. When the earthquake first happened my first thought was: Wow…Haiti needs my help and I’m able help with the rebuilding. I’ll be going over soon to help build roof tops and wire buildings for electrical power.
JTMM: That’s fantastic; we wish you the best of luck…wait a sec… you’re an artist, producer and an electrical engineer?
Nikki: Yes, I am. I also do my own audio engineering, being an electrical engineer gives me a nice edge!
JTMM: Definitely….and speaking of ‘nice’ I wanted to ask you…as I’ve mentioned I’ve known you for a while, I know people you’ve worked with and we all agree: you’re incredibly easy to work with…you’ve alluded to some pretty tough beginnings in your musical path…how have you managed to ‘stay gold’ ….untarnished?
Nikki: Ive learned that you can’t let negativity get in the way of success. You have to keep it moving; if something is in your way, go around it or over it, if you can’t …go through it. I have been through a lot of heart ache to get where I am but my Pops always told me that the sun comes up everyday, even if you don’t see it….you still know its up there. And the light will hit you at the right time, you will only shine when you’re supposed to.
JTMM: Wow! Those are powerful words – they’ve served you well. Your Pops was a very wise man. Niikki – We’d love to have you back soon – will you visit us again when your single drops and update us on the progress in Haiti?
Nikki: That’s a10-4, you can roger that.
JTMM: Great – that’s a rap. Thanks Nikki.