When it comes to hip-hop in New Orleans, Louisiana, you immediately think of the greats from back in the day: including the best rapper alive Lil Wayne and the Hot Boys.
Insert Nykobandz, who’s here to bring a whole new level and sound to what’s considered hip-hop. Fusing the genres of rap, trap, R&B, rock, and everything in between, the versatile recording artist prides himself in his universal sound — while putting in the work necessary to make it to the big leagues.
Originally in fashion school attending The Art Institute in Atlanta, Nyko eventually found himself in the studio through one of his peers studying audio engineering. Taking a stab at freestyling over a Future beat, the song accumulated over 50K plays on SoundCloud organically — giving Nyko the confidence to pursue music altogether.
Most recently, the Swim Cozy Records founder unleashed the official music video for “Yessir,” a banger that showcases his ability to both sing and rap.
AllHipHop: Which Future song did you spit over in 2016, that jumpstarted your career?
Nykobandz: It was a freestyle over Future’s “F*ck Up The Commas,” it went up crazy around that time in 2016. Then I released another song called “Goyard,” that got the city to know who I was. It was my third song too.
AllHipHop: Favorite Future song?
Nykobandz: “Codeine Crazy.” I f### with Future.
AllHipHop: Everything picked up organically?
Nykobandz: Yeah, it picked up super organically. I’m not having a lot of songs at the time, but I’m having a lot of lit performances. I’d ended up leaving Atlanta, leaving school at The Art Institute to go back home for a little while. Doing shows, that’s when I became a real rapper.
AllHipHop: Why’s your nickname Lil Swim?
Nykobandz: Swim in bandz and Nykobandz means swimming in the money. It all goes together with my name, so Lil Swim’s an abbreviation for swimming in bandz. It’s my other side, you know people be having two sides. That’s my saucy, wavy side. That’s me, I get in that mood. I first started performing right around 2016, everything’s going crazy. Every show, I threw water. I threw water on everybody. People would say “oh that boy’s show be lit!” I used to be throwing a lot of water everytime I perform, going crazy and raging.
AllHipHop: What’s the reality of this independent grind?
Nykobandz: You gotta put your time and invest for real. If you really want to succeed and you really want it to happen, invest. You can’t wait on someone to give you a handout, you gotta get it on your own independently. I like it. I got its ups and downs, but it got its ups mainly. Until a label like put in time for real.
AllHipHop: Where’d you shoot the Yessir” video?
Nykobandz: We shot the “Yessir” video in New Orleans in these new, fire ass cribs. It was a little house party type vibe so really, I called bro. It’s a video type of vibe, “let’s shoot real quick.” We ended up shooting it and it went crazy. It’s moving at a good pace, people are watching. Probably hit 100K soon, after that hopefully hit a million.
AllHipHop: How’d it feel to get the PnB Rock cosign?
Nykobandz: That happened a couple months ago. He hit me and wrote me out of the blue: “you’re tough kid. You’re hard as f###, you’re next up.” I said fasho. Other people hit me up too, I don’t be trying to post it or put it out there. That s### be happening. That felt like alright, that’s somebody up there doing his thing. He told me it’s looking like I’m on the right track.
AllHipHop: Talk about linking with NoCap on “99,” how’d that happen?
Nykobandz: I won’t cap, it was some people we knew. He was doing features. My team, my people hit him up. Bam, they said “pull up in Mobile.” We linked up. It’s not too far from New Orleans, like an hour and 20 minutes. We pulled up, we went out there for that a year and a half ago. Ever since then, we got hella songs. Me and Cap the first time we linked up, he’s like “oh yeah you hard, we gotta tap in.” Cap one of the realist. I met a lot of people from being with Cap, he linked me with a lot of people in the game right now. He’s real for sure.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Nykobandz: I need some gas for sure, some Hennessy, and really some fire beats. With them 2, I’m straight. It doesn’t matter how many people in the studio, none of that, I just be needing cause if I had some gas, some henny, and a beat, it be good. I don’t really be needing much. I know a lot of people be needing vibes, I like vibes too but I be cool if I’m by myself too.
AllHipHop: How much gas you smoking?
Nykobandz: I be smoking. I really started smoking 2 years ago. I wasn’t even smoking like that, I was the one who wasn’t smoking. At first I didn’t want to, but that’s over now.
AllHipHop: What’s your relationship with NLE Choppa?
Nykobandz: That’s a cool dude. That was early too, we were on the way to Houston. My manager and Choppa on the phone and doing a feature came up so we went to Memphis. Come to find out my produce Ac and Choppa is real cool they grew up together. We did the song and video right then and there too. That’s when a n*gga was getting a lot of s### done. That went crazy, got a lot of numbers. It’s up right now, almost 400K views. It was a cool experience. He up there too, we be chopping it up.
AllHipHop: What can we expect next?
Nykobandz: I got another single coming out. I’m going to do another feature too, haven’t decided on who yet. I got 2 videos about to drop. I’m about to put my foot on the gas. My foot already on the gas but January, that first quarter, let it all go. Dropping dropping dropping nonstop.