The Break Presents: Nebu Kiniza
Nebu Kiniza had one of the biggest songs of the year with “Gassed Up.” The track garnered over 20 million listens on SoundCloud, over seven million views on YouTube and over seven million plays on Spotify. But don't call Kiniza lucky.
"I kind of knew that people would catch on to ['Gassed Up'] because I feel like my sound…you have other people who try to emulate it," he tells XXL while in New York. "It sounded so genuine to me. It didn’t surprise me because it was something new. Anything so new and so impactful is going to hit good."
Nebu, born Corey Reid, is a 22-year-old from Queens, N.Y. It was during high school that this self-proclaimed weirdo decided that he wanted to become a rapper. Since he made this decision, he hasn't looked back and it's paid off. Nebu's jubilant demeanor and vibrant sound naturally draws music lovers to his sound.
His first hit was "Myself" in 2014, which quickly got remixed by Key! And iLoveMakonnen. By the time "Gassed Up" went viral during this past summer, record labels were calling. Now he's currently prepping a new mixtape for 2017.
"Pretty much I’m about to drop this project called Forever Happy," he adds. "Right now I’m just recording and finishing it up and doing videos."
Learn more about Nebu Kiniza.
Name: Nebu Kiniza
Hometown: Queens, N.Y.
I grew up listening to: “I grew up listening to Mary J. Blige because of my mom. She played Mary a lot. Then through high school, Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa and Shwayze; that’s about it. Since I was 17 in like the 11th grade I would come home from school and start freestylin’. I just said, 'Oh shit, I can rap.' I was freestylin with my three homies. After I recorded my first song everyone around me was like, 'Yo, you made this?' It was like a thing in my high school in my little town. And it turned into what it is now.
"I just kept on going. After high school, I didn’t want to go to college and I never had a job before. That just wasn’t something I wanted to do. So that took a lot of sacrifice and I said, 'I’m just going to tough it out and be a rapper.'
"When I was being born, my mom didn’t know what to pick to name me so my uncle said, 'Why don’t you name it Nebuchadnezzar like the guy in the Bible,' just to be funny. But that’s where I got my name. Nebu stands for the golden one. Kiniza stands for being originally creative and artistic so I put two-and-two together."
Most people don’t know: “I’m a weird guy but it’s like a cool weird. I love that I’m not like everybody else. There’s no other way to describe it. I just do strange shit. I’m me. I can’t even describe it."
My style’s been compared to: “People have compared me to [Kid] Cudi. I describe my sound as feel-good music. When you listen to it, you want to smile and get up and do your own thing. It’s going to progress into something. I’ll figure out how it goes."
My standout records or moments to date have been: “My first semi-breakout would be the 'Myself.' I recorded that in 2014. From there I was dropping a lot of music. In 2015 I dropped 'Gassed Up' and that went crazy.
"'Gassed Up' was a 1,000 percent feeling. It was all feeling. I made it in 15 minutes at my manager’s crib, just literally holding the mic and recording it. At first I didn’t want to drop it. I was kind of weary of it. 'Are they going to fuck with it or what? I know it’s kind of different.' But it was all love. It showed a different side of me. It was still me but an other side that I know I can do."
My goal in hip-hop is to: “To always progress and always become a better person. I want to learn a lot from this music experience. I never see myself doing anything beside the music except venturing into newer businesses. If I tell myself I can do something, I’m going to do it, period."
I’m gonna be the next: “I can’t really say anyone in particular. I would say be the next leader. I’m all about people feeling good, smiling everywhere. In the Uber I was passing by everybody but they wee smiling back, waving back. I’m not looking to be anybody else but myself."
Standout: "Gassed Up"
"Fuck It Up"
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