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Nebu Kiniza on Impressing His Fans, Mary J. Blige and ATL’s Love of Misfits

Nebu Kiniza
Lenny Kohlmayer

Nebu Kiniza has been making waves with his uniquely chilled out approach to hip-hop. Born Corey Reid, the 22-year-old Queens, N.Y.-born, Atlanta-raised artist’s relaxed flow and happy-go-lucky attitude was something that Kiniza thought wouldn’t catch on with fans because “it was something different.”

Kiniza has been growing in popularity this year thanks to his single, “Gassed Up,” but it’s a track that he admitted wasn’t necessarily his best work.

“Personally I don’t think it was my best song,” Kiniza revealed to The Boombox. “[‘Gassed Up’] is going crazy right now, but I have other songs that people would go crazier for. But this was one that [people] got a feeling from and really relate to.”

With the release of songs like “The East,” “Days,” and “F— It Up,” which teamed him up with producer Jay Cameron, he’s much more enthused to show people all of the tricks he’s got up his sleeve.

“It makes me extremely confident,” he said, “because everything that I put out before has honestly gone crazy as well. The song opened the door to my whole sound. I have a sound that can’t really go anywhere else. So it’s pretty cool for me to realize, get the hang of – it’s wonderful.”

Kiniza’s first introduction to music was his mother, who was a singer. “She was my first inspiration before I was even old enough to understand,” he explained. “She was a big Mary J. Blige fan; so we listened to that a lot. She really liked Mary.”

While he has connections in New York City, the ATL is what he really considers home because of the city’s open-mindedness towards “weirdos” like him.

“I go to New York because I just like New York,” he explains. “But Atlanta has a big influence on my sound. Atlanta allows you be yourself without being judged. Other places and cities, they judge on the music you make and the type of person you are. ‘If this is how you are, Cool, we’re not going to judge you.'”

He added,” We’re weirdos, but we make the best sound, by far.”

Seeing his fans appreciate his work has been most rewarding for Kiniza–especially after a show.

“I want people to walk away knowing you can listen to it and have a wonderful day,” he said. “You can really feel without having to sound extra corny or do anything extra. It’s not stressful and is easy to digest. It makes you feel good.”

He’s gearing up to release Forever Happy at the top of the year, which he said “will be wonderful.” But as a young artist, Kiniza won’t necessarily be taking a break for the holidays.

“I’m pretty much going to keep working and be in the spur of the moment, and go with whatever I feel,” he said.

And as for his ultimate goal? “At the end of the day, I want to make amazing music. But he music will always be there, but I want to make sure I grow as an individual and artist, too.”

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