Proof’s Son NASAAN Admits He Initially Didn’t Want To Rap: “I Tried To Stay Away From It”

AllHipHop caught up with Nasaan in downtown Los Angeles to discuss Lil Wayne being his intro to Hip-Hop, connecting with Royce Da 5’9 and Icewear Vezzo, losing his father at age seven and more.

NASAAN has ambitions of carrying on his father’s legacy. As the son of late D12 rapper Proof, NASAAN has managed to cultivate his own unique style, sound and aesthetic. In fact, he directs and edits all of his music videos himself, just one example of how hands-on he is when it comes to his own artistry and branding.

“ I’m super creative, I feel like I’m a creative genius,” he says. “I’m a renaissance man, without the credit yet. Super eclectic artist. The word ‘artist’ or ‘rapper’ doesn’t do me justice. I do so many things.”

When it comes to his music, NASAAN prides himself on trying to have fun, while still making stuff purposeful. He describes it as “wild and obnoxious, with moments of introspectiveness.”

Most recently, NASAAN unveiled his EP, Error 404. The project is anchored by lead singles “Devil To Atlanta,” “Goated” featuring Royce Da 5’9 and “CULLINAN GANG” with Icewear Vezzo. “Goated” was featured in the NBA playoffs as part of a partnership between ESPN and the NBA. It marked a full circle moment for NASAAN, given he used to hoop before finding his footing in music.

AllHipHop caught up with NASAAN in downtown Los Angeles to discuss Lil Wayne being his intro to Hip-Hop, connecting with Royce Da 5’9 and Icewear Vezzo, losing his father at age seven and more.

AllHipHop: There’s such a dope Hip-Hop scene in Detroit. What was your introduction to Hip-Hop? 

NASAAN: My earliest introduction to Hip-Hop I can remember is standing in front of my cousin’s TV, and watching Lil Wayne with his shirt off performing. It was the “Fireman” video, I was obsessed. I’d put a tank top on and roll it up, keep taking it on and off and try to perform like him. I did a little candle thing over the fire like he did in the video, that was the earliest memory I had of Lil Wayne. It’s funny because full circle back, 10 years later, I started rapping because of Lil Wayne.

AllHipHop: How long ago did you start rapping? 

NASAAN: Alright, so there’s different moments. But rapping and not taking it super serious, probably at 13/14. Around that time, I was in late middle school, early high school, he had released this project called Dedication 4. That was the reason I wanted to start rapping.

AllHipHop: Knowing your dad’s legacy and what he did, did that impact you at all?

NASAAN: You know what’s funny? Because my father rapped, I tried to stay away from it. He had it, that’s your thing. Growing up, I wanted to be a computer engineer when I was young. I wanted to be a basketball player. I didn’t want to be in the NBA until early high school, then decided I wanted to rap forreal. 

AllHipHop: Were you nice with the hoops?

NASAAN: Oh man, yeah. I’ll f### people up today. Can I curse? I’ll f### whoever up.

How are you enjoying this rap thing?

NASAAN: It’s super fun. It’s the busiest I’ve ever been as far as music. I actually feel like a rapper, I keep telling my friends that. Every other hour is something I have to do. It’s a commitment. A lot of people don’t realize it’s really a full-on job. I’ve gained a newfound appreciation even for interviewers and journalists, the things that you guys do. Because y’all have to take time out to do research, it’s a full-on job. Kudos to you too.

AllHipHop: You just released “Devil To Atlanta.” Talk about your roots in ATL.

NASAAN: I grew up there. After my father passed, I was seven in 2006. We moved to Atlanta from Detroit. I grew up there, and I just recently moved back to Detroit. “Devil To Atlanta” to me is about the necessary evils that make Atlanta what it is. Me growing up: it’s people scamming, selling drugs, girls backdooring guys and stealing from them. All these things. 

A lot of people in the comments were mad as f### because they felt I was f###### off with religion. A lot of people saw it as me selling my soul. Because in the video I’m dressed as the devil, but I guess when people see imagery of that, they think of the worst f###### case scenario ever. But it’s not even like that. Me dressing up as the devil is supposed to represent this evil force.

AllHipHop: I love that you connected with Royce Da 5’9 on “Goated.” Why are you “Goated”? 

NASAAN: “Goated” to me is confidence. “Goated” is knowing everything is going to go your way and you’re chosen. It’s more of a mental thing. It’s almost like you believe it, you are it. Then Royce man, that’s the big homie. Originally, I wanted DJ Drama to speak on that part where he raps. But then I looked at the project in totality and was like, “Damn, it’s so Detroit.” A lot of the features on there are people from Detroit. I said, “Yo Royce, can you speak on it?” He sent it back, but he was rapping. I’m like, “Oh wow, what the f###?” Shout out to him.

AllHipHop: Talk about connecting with Icewear Vezzo on “CULLINAN GANG.”

NASAAN: Vez, we connected through… we have this big homie/OG. His name is Street Lord Juan, he’s a legend back home in Detroit. He just got out of prison. He was somebody that Icewear Vezzo looked up to, but he’s an uncle to me. Him and my dad had a great relationship, so we’d both be up under his wing when he got home. Me and him were able to form a relationship, that turned into what it turned into. He hopped on one of my songs, shout out Vezzo.

AllHipHop: Obviously with Proof being your dad, do you have a lot of mentors and OGs watching over you?

NASAAN: Oh for sure, I think so. I know so. My dad died very soon, in terms of his career. He was just starting to blossom and trying to do his own thing, as far as his solo career wise. Unfortunately, he passed. But he left marks and a bunch of relationships for me to foster on my own. He almost metaphorically laid out this red carpet for me, I had to take whatever’s mine and grab it. There’s a lot of people in my corner because of him.

AllHipHop: Are you hip to the height of D12? When I tell you Eminem is the reason I fell in love with Hip-Hop…

NASAAN: Wow really? I didn’t form an appreciation for that stuff until I was way older. I didn’t get it. 

AllHipHop: It was definitely an era.

NASAAN: Yeah, that thing too. 2022 is when I started trying to deep dive into some of their discography, D12 and Eminem in general. My pops. I was like, “Ohhh, this s### is fire. It’s carefree as f###, it feels really good.” I can’t even imagine what it was like back then. Everybody has said everything in the world now, so back then it was probably crazy.

AllHipHop: Was it hard growing up without a father? You were only seven… 

NASAAN: Definitely. Well…it’s yes and then no. Because you don’t know what you don’t know, if that makes sense. Until you look at things and be like oh, this is where having a father figure makes sense. Or this is where having that person in my life would serve purpose. It’s something I had to grow up and look at in retrospect, like, “Oh OK.” Oftentimes, I wonder what conversations with my pops would be like, or what our dynamic would be like. Would we like each other? I’m sure we would. Or how hands-on would he be? What would I be doing? If I had a dad. Just all these questions.

AllHipHop: He’d be hella proud to see you rapping, doing these videos yourself. Getting signed! That’s not easy.

NASAAN: Right, thank you. 

AllHipHop: How was that moment? 

Nasaan: Super fulfilling. Because it’s my second time, but I bust my ass for it to happen though. I was working day in, day out. Editing, sitting at my computer. Long ass hours, trying to make s### happen for myself. With the process a lot of times, it’s one knowing that s### can happen, then two, putting in all the necessary work for the s### to happen. So it’s just fulfillment for me.

AllHipHop: What can we expect from your project, Error 404? 404 for Atlanta? 

NASAAN: Yeah, exactly. 

AllHipHop: So you reppin’ Detroit or Atlanta?

NASAAN: [Laughs] Man, it’s hard. Both. That’s why all the features are pretty much Detroit, but then the s### itself is about Atlanta. I’m somewhere in between both. I’m rooted in Detroit, but I spent all my most important years growing up in Atlanta. As far as expectations for my project, I tell people all the time: it’s my what. It’s not who I am forreal, it’s what I am. What they expect from me. There’s wittiness, there’s silliness. There’s cleverness. All those things that make me what I am. It’s the outline of my character, but nothing is shaded in yet. I plan to go there in the future, about my story.