Nebuchadnezzar II is considered one of the greatest rulers in human history. The Babylonian king was a brilliant military commander and honored builder of one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.” In addition, he is prominently featured in the Bible, and his name was used as the handle for Morpheus’ ship in The Matrix.
From historical text to science fiction classics, “Nebuchadnezzar” has represented royalty, power, and progress. Those characteristics can also be attributed to the monarch’s modern-day namesake who is currently at the start of building his own artistic empire.
[ALSO READ: #ATLRiseUp: Jonah Cruzz Is A 90’s Kid Not Afraid To Stand On The Shoulders Of Hip Hop Giants]
Corey Reid was born two millennia after the death of King Nebuchadnezzar, but the Atlanta-based rhymer adopted the emperor as his professional moniker essentially moments after exiting the womb. Reid’s mother had several name choices for her newborn, but it was an aunt’s sarcastic suggestion to go with the biblical Nebuchadnezzar that would lead to Corey eventually becoming Nebu Kiniza.
“Hypothetically speaking, I was born with the name Nebu Kiniza,” the performer tells AllHipHop.com. “Nebu stands for the golden one. Kiniza stands for being originally creative and artistic. So I put two-and-two together.”
Kiniza’s rise began in Queens, New York. At the age of 10, his family moved down south to the Atlanta suburb of Conyers. By 17, the high school junior’s after-school days were regularly spent enjoying marijuana, playing Call Of Duty, and spitting bars with his friends.
“I was just kicking it with the homies, smoking weed. We just started freestyling over beats. Next thing you know everybody was saying, ‘You should be a rapper,’” recalls Nebu. “A week later I started recording. My first song ever went viral. I then said, ‘Yeah, I’m a rapper now.’”
That initial recording was a track called “IDGAF” released in 2011. A year later, Kiniza shot a video for the song “Steez” in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta. The clip would go on to collect over 200,000 views on YouTube.
While he is originally from NYC, Nebu has fully embraced the ATL. The city that birthed icons like Brenda Lee, Gladys Knight, and OutKast has afforded the 21-year-old Hip Hop star-on-the-rise an inspirational experience that seeps through his art.
“I love everything about Atlanta. I love everything about the South period. I feel like the South has that flavor, that soul that music needs,” says Kiniza. “The whole culture put a little bit of flavor in me. If I had stayed in New York, I know I’d be doing music, but I don’t feel like it would be the same.”
He continues, “Atlanta is a place where you can make any type of song over a Trap sounding beat. It can sound Trap, but that doesn’t mean you have to talk about being from the Trap. Atlanta’s very open to everything. They love new stuff.”
Kiniza’s wide-ranging discography of tunes features cuts such as the Pop-tinged “Call It What You Want,” the flow heavy “Hop Out,” and the R&B-flavored “All Good.” Each of the tracks were produced by Nebu, a task he just started tackling earlier this year.
His 2014 mixtape Hypnosis featured production from veteran A-town beatmaker Sonny Digital. Kiniza also got assistance from Atlanta’s OVO Sound representative ILoveMakonnen on the remix to “Myself.”
The first version of “Myself” racked up 900,000 plays on SoundCloud, and the second edition added another 870,000 plays on the streaming platform. The connections with Makonnen and Sonny are the result of the well-known camaraderie that takes place among the musicians stationed in Georgia’s capital city.
“I met everybody through mutual friends. I met Makonnen through Sonny. I met Sonny through his older brother,” Kiniza reveals.
I swear bruh Is a wave all in his own @NebuKinizaOSHS
— Space Age Makonnen (@iLoveMakonnen5D) November 8, 2015
Nebu is hard at work on his next full length project. The collection will consist of Kiniza once again handling sections of the production as well as contributions from his longtime team of J-Louis, Cam Beats, and others. The crew presents itself as the indie movement known as OSHS (On Some Hippy Sh*t).
“I don’t feel like I’m a full Hippy yet. I feel like that takes some time of knowing yourself,” Kiniza states. “The On Some Hippy Sh*t movement was just natural. I said it in a song when I was freestyling, and then I said, ‘That’s my niche right there.’ Ever since then everybody started going with it.”
OSHS continues to accelerate their reach to a growing fan base. With Kiniza as the core of the expanding empire, the brand is steadily making an impression with listeners and industry insiders.
— Nebu Kiniza (@NebuKinizaOSHS) December 4, 2015
In the coming days, Kiniza will drop the visuals for “Gassed Up.” The new year will certainly see more music arriving from the emerging artisan as well. Additional show business ventures are also on the to-do list for the near future.
At the moment, Nebu Kiniza is planning to forgo the major label route and keep with his independent grind. Reigning over the entire entertainment landscape is the mission, but amassing capital is not the chief motivation.
“Money is one of the main things associated with success, but money isn’t everything to me,” Kiniza declares, “I just want to keep prospering. Every year I want to do something new. I’m going to do music. I’m going to do acting. I’m going to touch every avenue. There’s no limit to what success is to me.”
Read other installments of AllHipHop’s #ATLRiseUp series here
Stream/download Nebu Kiniza’s Hypnosis below.