Rising rap persona Nacho Picasso has put out three albums in one year and he isn’t about to slow down.
“I’ll be releasing a collaborative mixtape soon, I’ve got a solo project dropping later this year, and another Blue Sky Black Death album on the way.” The hard-working, grunge-loving Nacho connected with BeatRoute by phone to discuss hip hop, Seattle, and comic books.
It’s not easy to represent hip hop in Seattle, where Nacho grew up after moving to the Pacific Northwest from San Francisco at the young age of three.
“The rap scene was never very supportive locally until a few years back, it was all traditional hip hop before that and [they] didn’t recognize anything else; never room for people to come in. It’s a lot more versatile now with a sense of that welcoming nature.”
There’s more to Nacho than the fact that he’s working out of a city that isn’t known for producing rappers.
“I’m not gonna rap about Seattle every day. There’s a lot going on in my head. I learned how to rap in Seattle, so whatever I say out of my mouth is gonna be a reflection of my mind.”
He draws inspiration from almost every genre and subgenre out there. “I been reggae since birth, I grew up on that. I also love the blues because I feel like it’s the closest genre to rap, I can really identify with it. Of course, I grew up in Seattle so I’m always listening to Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins, we still trapped in the ’90s out here.”
He wants us to know that the people of the world have Cam’ron and Mac Dre to thank for the work he’s been producing.
“They made that shit look fun as hell. Those are the two artists that made me wanna rap. I was always doing the rap thing, you know, wrote my first rap when I was nine years old.”
It’s not just the rap game that Nacho loves; he’s also a self described comic book geek.
“Oh shit! Sin City, The Watchmen, Hulk, Venom… I’m a huge Marvel fan, but I fucked with all kinds of comics when I was growing up.” Nacho looks to Wolverine if he were to be any one of the superheroes or villains he spent his younger years reading about. “He’s not exactly the good guy or the bad guy, he just kind of moves to his own beat and I also got that healing factor, y’know? I heal fast.”
Working alongside San Francisco-based producers Blue Sky Black Death has kept Nacho working overtime in the studio, now two people he couldn’t imagine not having in his life. “They been doing their shit for a long time, whether it’s collaborating with different hip-hop artists or doing their own instrumental stuff. We were friends and we all knew we’d been doing our own things in music, and one day we were talking, decided to collaborate, then do an album, then three of ‘em. We was on a roll and have been ever since.”
BSBD and Nacho released a video for the single “Phantom of The Opera” in early 2012, and it’s haunting in the best way, much like the musical. It’s got a beat that sticks with you after you’ve moved on to something else; it’s unforgettable, it’s creepy and it’s really fucking weird.
“I wanted the video to be a clowning version of the musical, but still relate a bit to it. That was the most fun I’ve ever had shooting a video.”
The year 2012 held Nacho’s proudest moment as a rapper, when he was placed on the Forbes List for having one of the Best Free Albums of the Year.
“I was just happy to tell people I made the Forbes list. I would say, ‘Look! I’m not lying!’” He was also featured in XXL the same year.
“That shit was crazy, my mum seeing my picture in there and everything. Just felt like I’d worked so hard and it was finally paying off. Most of my nights are spent working on my music. People don’t get that I party enough; I’d rather work on Fridays.”
Catch Nacho Picasso with Young Braised and Cherchez at Shine Nightclub on June 6.
By Camille VegaBC, British Columbia