Nesby Phips is a rapper, producer, visual artist, and businessman; you can pretty much call him a renaissance man to sum it all up. Phips has a proven track record of success hailing from New Orleans, working with the likes of Curren$y, Stalley, Lil Wayne & Juvenile. He’s ventured in many different avenues successfully throughout his career and he is well on his way to reach new heights.
Nesby Phips is now preparing to drop his first solo record in the past 3 years titled Simply Phips, which will give you a full description of how talented he is. He mixed in visual art, live instrumentation, production and raw 16s to put everything together for this project. Mechanical Dummy had the chance to speak to him a couple months back about the project and here’s what he had to say.
Words by: Roger Kimbeni
Mechanical Dummy: Nesby How you doing man?
Nesby: What’s happening with you bro how you feeling?
MD: I’m feeling good bro, thanks for taking the time.
Nesby: I’m honored man.
MD: You’re definitely on your hustle right now, I mean you’ve always been on your hustle though, what’s been going on with you as of late?
Nesby: Steady on the grind man, been in the studio putting the mix on this Simply Phips project, we just released “Passive Casanova” the first single off the project and it’s available on iTunes right now. We’re cooking up some videos, shooting some stuff in New Orleans and I’ll be headed out of town hitting up a few other cities to get some visuals going, collaborate with a few people that I’m well acquainted with in the industry. Just keeping it busy baby that’s all.
MD: That’s what’s good man and I know you produce as well, are you going to be producing the whole record or will you be getting other producers to help as well?
Nesby: I’m definitely going to be producing at least half of it, I’m not selfish with it though because there’s a lot of styles that are out there that I really dig. So just to get more colors on the pallet I definitely got some other producers coming in. I got my guy Brady James based out of New York, he’s on the project. I got Henry Dyer of the Good People he’s out of Florida. I got my man Prospect that’s who did the “Passive Casanova” track that’s available on iTunes right now, all original tracks, all live instrumentation. Prospect and Tony Clinton on the guitars. So it’s a few people I got on there that’s sharing some space with me.
MD: No doubt man, so this is your first solo endeavor in a long time, what’s been going on in between these 3 years of not going solo?
Nesby: Well, some things sort of happened naturally, I guess everything really did. First it started with my 5 year plan to score films and that kinda happened within a year and a half, so I’ve been doing a lot of short film scoring. I even scored a video game, did the sound effects and everything for that, that’s available on iPhone in the iTunes store. It’s called “Mardi Brah” based off of Mardi Gras. It’s a fun game we dropped last year around the Super Bowl which was in New Orleans. We did a big debut for that; did a few short films, got in a few festivals, I’m shameless to say that we won all of em. Then there’s this movement (0017th) that grew out of some sessions with me and my homeboy from Hollygrove, my man Reem. It was him with my cousin Izzo and we got in the studio and we started off with just one session and that session led to more sessions, which led to a project (Hollygrove Ain’t Enough), which led to us pretty much creating the flag for Hollygrove. That’s the neighborhood I was born out of, which is in the 17th ward of New Orleans, home of Mack Maine, Lil Wayne so on and so forth. We gave the hood a flag to fly man and it gave us some recognition nationally and even internationally. We were mentioned on the Dedication 5 tape with Wayne, The Fader showed us a lot of love with posting our videos, we got people hitting us up from all over for the merch and stuff like that. So I’ve really been tending to that and staying busy on the production side, doing features for other guys and keeping it moving but I haven’t fed my core audience in quite some time so that’s why I’m moving on to this Simply Phips project bro, so I’m returning to the stage.
MD: That’s great to see because I was missing you man thinking “where’d he go?” from like 2010.
Nesby: Yeah a lot of people been saying that but I’ve actually always just been right there, working with everybody in the Jets, Corner boy P, Fiend, still working with Spitta we just did “Godfather 4″ on the Drive in Theater project earlier this year. I been keeping it moving, keeping it busy, I just haven’t been in the forefront per say. There’s never no break where I’m taking off because I’m usually 24/7, really 25/8 if you want me to exaggerate it. I really always got my hands into something, it’s not always about me being at the forefront, a lot of the time I’m supporting other people’s movement, I’m producing for other people’s projects, so I’m working in the front and the back of the industry. I’m running companies and all this other stuff so I got my hands in a lot, I just thank god that I can balance all of this; this well.
MD: I don’t know how you do it man, Bakadahouse Music (Nesby’s Record Label).
Nesby: Yeah, Bakadahouse Music, we made ten years this year, last year actually. We’re in our eleventh year.
MD: That’s whats up, as far as the forefront goes, I didn’t realize that you’re a visual artist as well. I know that with the project you wanted to paint something for your singles and use different visual artists. What’s going on with that?
Nesby: It’s something I’ve done along with everything I do. I do everything from making music, writing, recording, I’m a visual artist, I paint, I draw, I do water colors, pastels, wood carvings. Nothing I can’t do with my hands, in short I’m a renaissance man and it’s kind of hard to believe it unless you see it all at once in one place. That’s why I’ve taken the step to kind of synergize it all and gone as far as providing the art work for my project and incorporating other artists as well, to give the full spectrum of who Phips really is. You know, there’s some people who didn’t know I produce, there’s some people who didn’t know I rap and it’s a lot of people who didn’t know I’m a painter as well. Especially in recent months I’ve been commissioned for so many paintings that it kind of divided my time in the studio. But it was all in the name of the overall cause and that’s what really inspired me to move forward to incorporate visual art into the project and moving forward with what I like to call “Fine Rap”. That’s how I define this and bottle it all up, that’s how I like to define it, mixing fine art and hip hop together. From my writing styles to my approach to creating, the whole 9, to sum it up plainly, Simply Phips, Nesby Phips, Bakadahouse music and I am the founder of “Fine Rap”.
MD: Clean gangsta style.
Nesby: You know I try to keep it gentlemen like.
MD: 100 man, so would you consider the painting a new hustle or is that something that you’ve always been into?
Nesby: Just creating period is something that I do. That’s something that I wake up with a urge with and I’m a spiritual person, so I do believe that that’s energy working through me and I would be highly accountable if I didn’t respond to that. I wake up with these urges and I gotta get em out. A lot of times, especially with writing a lot of times it feels like it’s not even me writing sometimes, depending on what song I’m working on or what piece that I got going. Right now I even got a monologue that I’ve been working on and that just came to me. When these things come you gotta respond you know? The voices in your head are all real you should listen to them, its called your self conscience. Some people like to refer to it as the holy spirit, so on and so forth. So I encourage anybody who’s feeling the same thing to listen to it. Cause there’s a lot of people who are ignoring that voice in their head and I can tell you it made me a self made man by listening to it. This is no hustle, I am able to monetize off of this but it’s no hustle whatsoever, if money wasn’t here tomorrow I would still be painting. If there was no way of making money off music tomorrow I would still be making music, it’s just in me and that’s what I do man. I love it, so money is not a issue ,it comes and it goes so as long as I stay true to myself and do what is put in front me to do the universe will take care of me and it’s been taking care of me very well for quite some time.
MD: Its hard sometimes to have that view 100% because you have to deal with so many people in the industry, so many people being in your ear, you have to deal with a lot, so for you to be on that level where you have to have a complete balance is dope to see.
Nesby: Yeah, balance is the key to life man I got it inked in my skin bruh, “Maintain, Patience and Balance” bruh, everything going to be alright I don’t care what the problem is, if you throw some balance in it I guarantee that you’ll get to your solution man, gotta stay balanced because that’s the only way we’re going to survive out here, self preservation is key. Gotta stay balanced.
MD: What do you think has gotten you to this way of thinking? What are some things that you had to go through to be where you’re at today?
Nesby: Well, just with me being an abstract person from birth really. Growing up I held my pencils differently, I always talked differently, I was a gifted student so I had to move out of some classes. That was always me having to carve out my own space in the world. I had to learn to be confident in myself and doing anything outside of that will lead to unhappiness and a dissatisfied lifestyle and that’s something that I never wanted, especially growing up into adulthood. I became a father and that was at a young age and shortly after that I encountered the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina, that really grew me up and made me reset my life just as I was putting it together. With that, I learned to live with a great deal of uncertainty and I actually learned to be comfortable with it as opposed to just being comfortable with being comfortable; because when you get comfortable and complacent like that less things happen for you and you kind of stay in the same place and you’re only going to get the same results. But if you are accustomed with living with uncertainty then there’s nothing that you can’t persevere through man because there’s always going to be that. If you’re not feeling any resistance up against you then you’re probably not getting stronger. It’s like lifting weights man; you put that bar on your chest and you gotta get it off and the end result is you’ll be diesel at the end of the day, so I gotta stay diesel dawg I gotta stay chiseled.
MD: Haha! I definetly hear you on that! That’s great advice for all the young artists who are trying to get into the game. So what can we fully expect from the project. I know you got Corey Bas who’s going to be painting the main album art.
Nesby: Corey Bas yeah, he’s a great guy he reached out to me from Memphis and I’ve always had a hard time collaborating with the right people, it’s almost like a marriage you know? On all levels, he came through, I gave him the music, he offered his services, I gave him the music and I said “Yo, show me what my music looks like to you, listen to it and create a visual for it” and he’s been hitting the nail on the head with it man so I’m excited about working with Corey, he’s going to be doing the cover, a lot of the imagery from what I’ve been involved with, flyers and everything, just trying to keep it consistent, Corey Bas is definitely a key component in relaunching the Phips brand if you will.
MD: We’re looking forward to seeing that, so what can we expect about the album?
Nesby: You can definitely expect a time capsule of where I’ve been at the last few years creatively and where I’m headed. Considerate it a reintroduction because there’s a lot more to follow with this, I’ll really be getting back into the Phips sound, I’ve been capitalizing on a lot of the opportunities that has came my way so it’s time to push forward with my own personal sound and my own personal brand man. Definitely going to make it a cool summer on into the fall and winter again for you with Simply Phips, I’ll be providing ya’ll with more content. So it’s a cool vibe man, not too laid back but it’s not too wild either man, its bringing ya’ll back into my world man, it’s going to be colorful, real poetic and everything that you would expect when you hear the word “Fine Rap” and that’s exactly what I’ll be providing for ya’ll.
MD: When is that dropping?
Nesby: We don’t have a release date for it because we’re still in the mixing phase and I don’t want to get ahead of myself and be down in the time crunch, but I’ll say roughly towards the end of spring top of the summer you could be expecting that.
MD: Perfect timing right there.
Nesby: Yeah man, I’m just letting it all come together real natural, I’m not trying to force nothing, I don’t want to hype anyone up with a date and have to go back on my word so I’m keeping it one hundred, its been beautiful, all the pieces have been coming together right all the way up to this interview, so you know, I’m just going to keep going along that path and let the universe take care of this thing.
MD: Happy that you’re taking your time with it.
Nesby: Appreciate it