Nickelus F

About Nickelus F

Richmond, Virginia-based emcee and producer Nickelus F excels both as a freestyle rapper and a writer of complex, soul-searching verses. His vast body of work, spanning dozens of releases, ranges from gritty early mixtapes like 2004's B Stands for Burglars to more introspective albums like 2018's Stuck. Despite early exposure from The Source and BET, as well as collaborative work with Drake on some of his early releases, Nickelus has largely pursued his path outside of the mainstream music industry. He is a member of the Richmond-based Association of Great Minds (AGM) collective, along with Radio B, Michael Millions, and producer Namebrand, and has additionally collaborated with fellow Richmond artists Shawn Kemp (aka Lil Ugly Mane) and Ohbliv. Nickelus F was born in Portland, Oregon, and moved several times during his childhood, as his father was actively enrolled in the military. After living in Berlin, Germany and several locations throughout the United States, his family settled in Richmond. He started rapping (initially as Nick Fury) while in sixth grade, and got his first industry exposure in 2000, at the age of 17, when he placed second in The Source's Unsigned Hype Emcee Battle competition. He started releasing mixtapes soon afterward, including B Stands for Burglars (2004) and Cut the Check (2005). He connected with Drake at the beginning of his rap career and contributed to his early mixtapes Room for Improvement (2006) and Comeback Season (2007); in interviews, Drake stated that he looked up to Nickelus as a lyricist. In 2007, Nickelus competed on the "Freestyle Friday" segment on BET's 106 & Park, and was crowned the champion seven weeks in a row; he was inducted into the program's Hall of Fame that year. He continued releasing mixtapes at a rapid pace, including 2008's For the F of It and 2009's Heathen, Go Time, and R.A.R.E. (Reliving a Real Experience), which was based on Portishead songs. Also in 2009, Nickelus was included in Complex's list of "Underrated New Rappers," despite the fact that he had been in the game for nearly a decade. He continued releasing mixtapes including Season Premiere (2010), Faces (2011), Vices (2013), and two Yellow Gold volumes with Ohbliv. Trick Dice, a collaboration with Lil Ugly Mane's alias Shawn Kemp, was issued in 2015; according to Nickelus, the cassette release sold out in an hour. Stretch Marks, with fellow AGM member Namebrand, was released in 2016. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University and the birth of his twin daughters, Nickelus released Stuck, one of his most introspective works, in 2018. Two mixtapes of previously unreleased songs, The Gold Mine Vol. 1 and 2, appeared in 2019. ~ Paul Simpson

Portland, OR, United States of America

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