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Talkback: Niko Moon

Country Meets Hip-hop By William Stokes
Published April 2021

TalkbackPhoto: Matthew Berinato

“I love being a part of the evolution of my world,” reflects Georgia‑born, Nashville‑based Niko Moon as he prepares for his first performance at Nashville’s legendary Grand Ole Opry. His sound is certainly not typical for the Opry, however. Fusing hip‑hop beats and production with acoustic instrumentation and familiar country lyrical themes, Moon’s music represents a collision of worlds. “I grew up about an hour outside of Atlanta, so I was in the country. Alan Jackson and Travis Tritt, all these country legends were literally 10 minutes down the road from me; but I was also an hour away from Outkast and Ying Yang [Twins] and TI and the whole Atlanta vibe, you know? So that’s why my music is the way it is. I was always really drawn to the drum and bass production of Atlanta hip‑hop, but I really like the organic instrumentation of country music, and especially the lyric and melody of country music, so for me to just be myself and do what I feel is authentic: it would have to be a meeting of those two worlds.”

At the moment I can’t stop listening to

I’ve really been digging on Chris Stapleton lately. I’ve always been a big fan of him, but I’ve been going back to some of his older stuff, especially the Traveller album — you know, his first breakout album. Vance Powell’s engineering and Dave Cobb’s production. I’ve had the chance to be in the room with Dave Cobb a few times, and just really became a fan of his production style. Also, Tha Carter V just came out: Lil Wayne, he’s probably my favourite rapper. I just love his whole, kind of stream‑of‑thought style. So, I’ve been really getting down on that. I’ve also been listening to a lot of older jazz like Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra while I’ve been cooking lately! For some reason I really like old jazz when I’m just...

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Published April 2021