When’s the last time you listened to a song and thought about the production behind it? Countless hours of songwriting, beatmaking, recording, producing, and audio engineering ultimately culminate in a song that may last just three minutes.
When it comes to the intricacies of rap, independent hip hop artist NiSPLASH boldly confronts many challenges associated with the industry, especially considering he works independently on almost every aspect of his song–making.
Her Campus had the incredible opportunity to sit down with the 21–year–old rapper from Chattanooga, Tennessee for an exclusive interview about his musical aspirations. The artist discussed how he channels his creativity for socially–constructive projects, shared key life lessons, and hinted at his upcoming tape and hopes for the future.
Press Play—NiSPLASH’s Creative Process
NiSPLASH’s creative process has evolved over the past several years as he has developed his unique sound. “When I first started [making music], I was only rapping,” he said. “It would be late at night after I’ve finished my homework; I’d find beats and then I’d write lyrics to them. Then, the process became me producing beats and writing the music as I produce. It kind of goes hand–in–hand, and then the pieces come together like a conversation.”
Initially, the rapper didn’t see himself seriously pursuing a musical career, but he kept freestyling and making beats because of how much he enjoyed the process. “Even when I hate it, I love it,” he said while reflecting on his journey so far.
His pure love for the craft is what helps him overcome the multi–faceted hurdles of handling every aspect of music production on his own. Because of his passion and dedication, it didn’t take long for NiSPLASH to realize his potential as an artist. Achievements such as hearing one of his earlier songs being played on the radio for the first time and releasing his first mixtape, titled Seventeen (Xvii), served as seeds of inspiration and motivation for him to start making his dreams a reality.
“One of the key moments that showed me that I can really do something with my music…was at the end of my high school career when I did a performance. I filled up my [high school] gym and I remember performing my song, ‘Something 2 Believe In,’ and everyone was singing along to my lyrics,” he recalled. “That experience, the moment of being able to hear them singing the words that I remember writing in my bed, the same words I was typing on my phone, that’s a totally different feeling.”
That performance was a turning point in his career, setting the precedent for his ongoing success as he entered college.
Social Movement Through Music
NiSPLASH’s creativity not only enables him to express himself through music, but also allows him to raise awareness about societal issues.
“There’s a lot of white noise in our society, and there’s accelerated exposure to ideas and content, which is good and bad,” he explained. “Everything is moving so fast, and I think that’s the biggest hurdle, or rival of awareness…you get less aware of what’s actually around you. The whole point of how I use my creativity is to pinpoint opportunities to penetrate people’s minds and hearts, into how they feel and their actual consciousness.”
In June 2020, NiSPLASH unexpectedly released a surprise single, “Going With the Flow,” to share his personal thoughts and experiences while reflecting on racial injustice and police brutality. “Creativity means making people aware through methods they’re unaware of. In ‘Going With the Flow,’ that song has things that are in there like the heartbeat and breathing at the beginning, that whole thing is in light of police brutality, people feeling like they can’t breathe,” the artist said.
The single was the very first song that he produced and audio–engineered entirely by himself. “The lyrics, on top of the sample which comes from a spiritual (“Deep River” by Marian Anderson), all those things are layers of complexity, of my storytelling and creativity to help people internalize my message while consuming my music,” he continued.
“Going With the Flow” serves as a meaningful example of NiSPLASH’s efforts to share his stories through a creative medium in a way that allows listeners to connect and raise awareness about important issues. All of the proceeds from the song went to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“If we feel like issues are too big to handle, then change is never going to happen. It’s one stream at a time, one song at a time, one act at a time, to contribute to the movement,” he added.
NiSPLASH explained how he often feels discouraged from freely expressing his emotions as a black man. He is grateful for the ability to embrace his emotions through music, while integrating authenticity and intentionality into his work.
“You’ll always be best at the thing that comes naturally to you. For NiSPLASH, that’s music, and I’m all about impact. But people should be ready to become the type of person they truly are at their cores because social movements take every single kind of person.”
When asked about how he’ll continue to take on the challenge of balancing every aspect of his busy life, NiSPLASH noted, “Anything worthwhile will take time. In order to persevere through something that takes time, you need sustainability. So finding a method of doing whatever you want to accomplish in life, whether it’s social activism or anything, if you can make it sustainable, it will bring you success.”
NiSPLASH concluded our interview by drawing attention to his latest single, “Now We Here,” and hinting at his upcoming tape, which is scheduled to be released sometime in late March. Quite extraordinarily, the tape is going to be produced completely by himself—independently written, recorded, rapped, and audio–engineered.
“There are levels to my composition. When you stay around for my [music], I want you to know I put meaning behind my lyrics, and I want people to pay attention to my intentionality and how I approach my music. Everything is purposeful and everything is for a reason.”
His hard work, dedication, and, most importantly his authentic love for music are what will continue to sustain his creativity and success. NiSPLASH hopes to show us how we can all enact change by starting small and steadily working towards bigger goals. He’s a true artist and one you’ll want to keep an eye on.