For Nick Taldi, also known as the rapper nikmoody, the better part of a year has been a struggle to bring one project to a close. That project is the EP “Farewellcome Vol. 1,” which comes out on Aug. 20.
“We started recording probably last November. And I had like this huge list of things planned — like this huge mixtape that I was going to do — but then I cut it down to seven songs,” nikmoody said. “I’m going to do an EP series. So a lot of those original songs will either be on this one, or the second one.”
Originally from Long Island, Taldi got drawn into the world of hip-hop through basketball. “Basketball and hip-hop go hand in hand,” he explained. “I’ve always been around it.”
As an undergraduate at SUNY New Paltz, he played on the Hawks men’s basketball team as a guard. Before coming here he played NCAA Division II basketball at C.W. Post. Graduated with an English major, he’s now a grad student at the college.
Even prior to taking up the mantle of nikmoody, Taldi had been obsessed with writing. He’d scrawl out poems, plays and short stories. But in college, he turned heads as a slam poet. “I would go on stage. New Paltz has a big slam poetry scene and I would perform those kind of poems. Some of the guys on that team encouraged me to try to start rapping. I didn’t take them seriously, but I’d always listened to hip-hop.”
Eventually, he took on the stage name of NiKKo and became part of the hip-hop duo One Way. Since then, he’s gone his own way as nikmoody, making mixtapes and YouTube videos.
Taldi’s list of influences isn’t immediately apparent listening to his songs — most likely because they are so varied. Depending on the song, he evokes hints of Eminem or Common. Taldi said he’s just as likely to be listening to indie rock like Mumford & Sons or the Cold War Kids as he is to rap. But a huge moment for him was when he heard Canadian rapper Drake’s critically acclaimed mixtape “So Far Gone.”
“The hip-hop scene changed completely as soon as Drake dropped ‘So Far Gone,’” he said. “It’s just different. It’s just a different outlook. Drake’s not a ‘hood’ guy. He was a privileged kid … He just wrote emotionally about his struggle. You don’t have to necessarily be struggling economically or be from a tough town or have a tough life.”
Prior to Drake, Eminem also opened up doors and made the rap world a little less monochromatic. Macklemore reinforced that trend as well. When it comes to women, Nicki Minaj and Amy Renee Heidemann, from Karmin, have also busted into the once male-dominated rap scene.
Nikmoody said he’s a beneficiary of the newer more inclusive rap scene today. “Everybody has their own struggle. Everybody has their own burden. You write that way,” he said.
The rapper’s most-watched video online is “Social Butterfly” — a tale of a young man driven mad after a devastating relationship with a faithless woman. Taldi said that his new CD, “Farewellcome Vol. 1” is not always that heavy-hitting. It’s a mix of the humorous and the autobiographical.
For now, at least until the EP comes out, nikmoody isn’t playing a show live anywhere. But look for him after the Aug. 20 album release.