Rapper and hip-hop artist, NAC, is all about the plan. At age twenty-four, the Brick, NJ native is successfully building and managing his budding music career in addition to a busy full-time job. He creates his music in a studio he built himself (complete with full soundproofing and a recording booth). When asked how he balances it all, NAC said, "With balancing everything, basically … there’s no sleep. Sleep is just not there anymore. I get off of work, maybe eat something, and then come down to the studio, and go straight to working on something. I don't like the idea of wasting time.”

In addition to that strong work ethic, NAC (which is an acronym for “Not A Chance”) has a laser-sharp focus. He knows what his end goal is and is taking all of the necessary steps to get there. One of those steps is connecting with and engaging his fanbase, whom he affectionately calls his Ghouls. “My fan base ghouls came from the anime ‘Tokyo Ghoul.’ I refer to myself a lot in my music as ‘The Lonely Ghoul'; therefore it just made sense to have my fan base follow the character idea too! I always loved the idea of an artist giving his fanbase a name because it helps listeners connect to the artist more and feel more involved.”

The foresight to create a home for (and connection with) fans is a plan not often put into place by younger artists so early in their careers. But NAC understands that the music is not only about him, but about what it provides to his listeners as well. “I want people take away from my music that you're not alone with your extreme emotions. So, you're not alone with feeling alone. You’re not alone with being depressed, you’re not alone with anxiety; you're not alone, even with the happier feelings, like enjoyment, and stuff like that. There are so many people in the world that you're not alone; and I think my music kind of has that avenue, like touching a little bit of everything on the more extreme emotions.”

NAC is the kind of artist in today’s massive musical landscape that you want to discover because of the variety of styles that are present in his music. His influences include Eminem, Kid Cudi, Blackbear, Scar Lxrd, and Nothing Nowhere; but his sound is uniquely his own because he’s willing to push the envelope. NAC is not afraid of -as a matter of fact he embraces- experimentation with vocal techniques, sound modes, collaborations with other artists, and even the synthesis of genres.

All of these elements can be found in his most recent album, I Am Error. NAC takes a theme of emotion and then builds the musical elements around it. “I like putting a little bit of my nerdy side into the music. So, the title of the project came from the The Legend of Zelda.  Overall, it’s about being alone, and it looks like you're a badass being alone, but it's also that the loneliness is killing you inside. That’s the basis; it starts off more aggressive and in your face, like you don’t care. But near the end, the main character is losing it a little bit, and it kind of goes down that rabbit hole.”

To prevent becoming complacent with composing music of his own, NAC further challenges himself with mixing to bolster his creativity. He explained, “It's just another cool way of flipping something. I used to always do remixes, because it's a good way to grow a skill like songwriting. You hear the original and now you're making them [the remixes] more about you. So, it gives you a core lane to follow without going too far off. But I still think even that at a higher-level mixing is good, because it's a challenge to flip it and now you're going against what everyone knows about the song.” His mixtape collection of Ctl Alt Del is a prime example of how he operates from that philosophy.

NAC is also the type of artist who doesn’t seem to have enough time to work on all of the ideas in his head. When I asked him about where those ideas come from, he became very animated and said, “Everything. So crazy, because it can come from just seeing a phrase somewhere (like on a work van) and thinking that kind of sounds cool. I can flip that to a song. Or talking to a friend who’s going through a crazy situation and I can kind of make that a song too. The notes on my phone are just filled with sections of song idea and themes. I have paragraphs of a story or just the title; but it comes from anything, really. Or just listening to other artists and thinking, ‘Ooh, I want to do a song kind of like that.'"

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force artists in new directions, NAC continues to pour his energy into his music. “We were working on a project to follow up I Am Error, but now the way the market is, I think we're going to have to spread it out more and do single drops. Just so we can kind of flesh it out more. We're going to probably do either a single once a month or every other week, something like that; just to keep everyone involved and entertained. So, if you don't like one, in a week or two, there's going to be a new one.”

Being introduced to newer artists like NAC excites music journalists like myself to want to see them perform live in the future. However additional challenges exist for rap/hip-hop musicians that many might not be aware of. When attempting to book shows, he’s been told on several occasions that the venues won’t support rap shows because of the potential rowdiness the music may elicit from the audience, an unfair prediction in his opinion. Not to be deterred, he’s looking to open for musicians from other genres. Explaining it more, he said, "Being up and coming it's really [about the venue] trying to search out if the artist has a good following, a nicer audience that’s not going to destroy the place. So maybe I can try opening for someone like that [artist of a different genre]. That’s what we were looking into, more opening for other artists.” In talking with NAC, however, you feel an honest humility and desire to connect with everyone in a caring and supportive way. This trait tends to attract fans that are respectful and appreciative as opposed to rowdy and destructive.

His collaborative and open nature is exemplified by a series on his YouTube page called “The Family.” The videos expose his creative process and behind-the-scenes activities with the group of people in his trusted circle. He wants everyone to know that it takes a village and that he truly appreciates those who are helping him. Knowing he can’t accomplish his lofty musical aspirations solely on his own, NAC states, “The family Includes Owen K., Jamezy, Jill Anderson, and my boy, Dan C. They're a group of people that I ask for their opinion about everything. Owen is definitely more like management; he's a big help with how to promote everything. Jamezy is another artist. I've done songs with him. Jill’s another artist who does more of the singing. She was on “softlock,” which is on I Am Error. She did the backing vocals and everything on that. And then Dan's a drummer. But now he is also doing more photography for me. So, the pictures I’ve been posting recently on Instagram, a lot of them are from him. I like keeping it close and everything. It's all people that I trust, and they see the vision. I think that’s a huge thing about working with people and making sure they see the end goal and the vision.”

And with that defined vision, NAC is surely destined to achieve his end goal.

Check out our full interview below!

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Asbury Park Vibes

Asbury Park Vibes is a media publication dedicated to shining a light on the live music scene, as well as promoting the artists we love! We strive to provide show reviews, photographs, and artist stories that bring fans and musicians closer together.

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