When Nicki Nicole (Rosario, Argentina, 21 years old) told her mother for the first time at the age of 16 that hip hop was her vocation, nothing suggested that one of her songs, candidly uploaded to a YouTube channel, would end up taking her to the Jimmy Fallon program, to act for Messi or to be a guest star of Ibai Llanos. When he first came to Spain in 2019, he did it with his mother: neither of them had ever left their neighborhood, not to Madrid or anywhere else. Now they both live off that mix of soul and trap that characterizes their sound, although this time only she is in Spain to perform tonight with Rauw Alejandro at the Los40 Music Awards.
Question. Your mother’s opinion is sacred to you and until recently you accompanied her everywhere. How did you manage to have such a good relationship with her?
Answer. She comes from a very different personal legacy, she was a homemaker in a very “woman at home, man works” environment. Many people think that being a musician is not a job and I wanted to show them that it was, although I feel that time has also shown it to me. When she separated from my dad she had to be a babysitter and now she is part of my team, financially she is covered.
P. How did it end up in the rap battles?
R. Well, when I left school, I would meet my friends in the Plaza de la Bandera in Rosario, I joined a hip hop workshop, where I understood where rap comes from, how it evolved over time and all the struggles that it started. . So I decided to make one myself to see how it was, I composed Wapo Traketero and exploded.
P. What is a “traketero”?
R. It’s like a dealer of drugs. The idea was to talk about a boyfriend of mine who was a half criminal. At that time I was a lot into that type of crook rap.
P. And wasn’t it his real environment?
R. No not at all. We were little kids. Rap has that of getting a little bigger.
P. So that you come from a humble economic background is a pose too?
R. What I’m going to is that I didn’t date a dealer [risas] I want to clarify that. Also, although I came from a very humble background, I never felt that I was lacking anything.
P. You have done with the Uruguayan band No Te Va a Gustar a song entitled Revenge, against gender violence. Have you experienced that type of violence?
R. I did not experience sexual abuse or rape, but I think we experience abuse every day. It is very easy to speak from the outside and especially for men, who do not live what we do. It is very easy to say: “They are exaggerated, they are crazy, they will have done something.” I was excited to make that song although it makes me very sad that each line is real.
P. When Maradona died, there was controversy in Spain because, although no one doubted that he was a football god, the issue that he was an abuser was rarely touched upon. From here it gave the impression that in Argentina it was not even approached …
R. I see it that way too. I was not born in the time of Diego Maradona and football does not interest me but I know a lot about his past, so I am not his fan. My father and grandfather are, but I also find it controversial that a person who has this type of behavior is followed. Would you listen to an artist who is an abuser? I do not.
P. Members of Generation Z are digital natives and have a special relationship with social media and their own image. Do they generate a lot of self-esteem conflicts for you?
R. Many girls follow me who tell me: I want to be like you! How is it done! and I explain that before getting to what you see I spent three hours of makeup, hair extensions and lights. I really like those photoshoots, like one I just did in Vogue Mexico, that explain the before and after. That’s cool!
P. There are cases like that of Billie Eilish, who for a long time hid her breasts with very loose clothing so that they would not sexualize her. Has it happened to you?
R. More than my physical judgment, my words affect me. I think a lot about the fact that many people listen to me and that scares me a little. I think I may say that I like to drink Coca Cola in the morning and a ten-year-old boy is seeing me and that is why I am forcing him to do it …
P. He made his first video clip with the phone. Do you remember at what age you had your first mobile?
R. Put that finishing elementary school, with about thirteen years. My mom gave it to me to let her know when I was leaving school or doing something with my friends, it was more a means of communication than fun. Then when I turned 15 they gave me one with a touch screen that they tried to steal from me twice. The second they could. I got kicked and flew over the man who hit me. Unfortunately Rosario is a very insecure city.
P. What woman is an absolute reference for you?
R. [Lo piensa mucho] Look, Nina Simone is a great reference, not only for her music, but also for her fight for equality beyond women, but for the equality of all. She suffered a lot for that fight and her cause lives on through many people who still admire her …
P. However you do not want to talk about politics …
R. [risas] I’m still learning about Argentine politics. That is why I prefer to talk with my sister and discuss with her [señala a su hermana, que está en la sala con nosotras].
P. How is it that Ibai Llanos invited her to his mansion?
R. That was thanks to the Spanish marketing team. The truth is that their equipment is great and it was noticed that it worked and that it went beyond an interview. I invited him to come to Argentina.
P. And does this have something to do with Messi inviting her to a party?
R. Nerd. That is why Cirque du Soleil organized a tribute to Leo and invited several artists, myself among them. I did not talk much to him because he does not talk much and also did not want to fuck …
P. What is an old man to you?
R. I think that is something that goes beyond the physical. A person is old when he does not allow himself to open his mind and realize that everything has changed. It happens to me a lot with some relatives, to whom you explain reality a bit and they do not accept that things have changed, they do not accept it. That is being old. Choose to be like this.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.