NIPPLIFE - HIP HOP HISTORIAN - King of the One Take Freestyle

     NippLife, is a man who understands this passion all too well. The Harlem, New York native grew up among some of the notable names of this once underground genre which would eventually dominate the sound of American mainstream music. Perhaps it was his warm spirit and personable demeanor that drew me to him. It may have been that magnetic disposition of his- a common trait of hip hop influences. Nevertheless, this man had a story about him, and the eagerness in his smile proved that it was an eventful one.


 NippLife has natural musical talent pumping through his blood, first learning to play the drums, piano, and guitar all by ear. He also raps and has been dancing since the age of four. Like many other children during his generation, he grew up captivated by the unparalleled dance moves of artists like James Brown, the dynamic sound of Otis Redding, and the appeal of the Jackson 5. He modeled his own technique after such artists, quickly catching onto their styles and sounds.


At the tender age of five, a chance of fate allowed Nipp the opportunity to perform as a dancer alongside the legendary James Brown at the historical Apollo Theater. He described the feeling as "More than exciting. It totally changed my life." He considered that moment to be his official "stamp of approval" to enter the music industry. From that instant, Nipp was a hit among the community and was offered additional opportunities to further his career in the arts.


Despite his celebrated and unforgettable experience with the Godfather of Soul, Nipp began to feel ostracized by peers within his neighborhood. "I wasn't a normal child" he states. He felt his talents made him strange among others in the projects he lived in. Nipp recalls an instance when he was approached in an elevator by a group of neighborhood kids and a fight broke out. He explained incidents such as these were common and due to jealousy from other children. As a result, Nipp explains, "I began to suppress my talents. I just wanted to be a normal kid." Instead of choosing to dance, he joined a resident gang, began to steal, and ran drugs for local drug dealers.


Realizing the destructive path his son was leading, Nipp’s father moved the family to the Bronx. There, Nipp rediscovered his passion for music. Upon entering high school, he applied to the High School of Music and Art, a performing arts school in Manhattan, but was turned down due to failing grades. Instead, Nipp took control of the opportunities available to him and decided to join his high school band as a drum player.


Following high school, he reconnected with a childhood friend and local DJ known as Greg Ski. "We started doing shows one with the Cold Crush Brothers and DJ Kool Herc and a lot of other groups.







Despite the numerous setbacks NippLife has encountered, he continues to pursue music with more enthusiasm  as before. He is currently producing his own mix tape. He describes it as "Hip hop at its purest form; King of the one take freestyle, raw, and uncut." Ultimately, Nipp plans to expand his production company including a network of diverse artists and talents, Media/Film in 2018 He Plans to launch The NippLife Collective and is currently seeking the right talent for the Project Stay tuned


NippLife also plans to give back to the community in a way that helps encourage shy, troubled youth take advantage of their talents. He completely understands that the setbacks he faced were due to the pressures of being a product of his environment. "I had lot of opportunities set up for me" Nipp recalls. The decisions he made are mistakes

 learned, and his goal is to help youth avoid making similar poor choices. He wants children to see past their current circumstance by aiding them in their creativity.




NIPPLIFE NIPPLIFE aka JOE NIPP was a child dance prodigy from Harlem. He’s a self-taught musician (drums, piano and guitar), a dancer and rapper. To meet Joe is to meet hip hop At the early age of 5, Nipp’s dancing skills brought forth the opportunity to perform alongside the legendary Godfather of Soul, James Brown at the Apollo Theater., Nipp was sought out to be a part of a dance troupe though the Juilliard School of Music. Admittedly a strange youth, brimming with talent, Nipp was rejected by other kids in the projects. He felt his talents set him apart from the other kids and so he down played his talents to fit in. The young men in the projects, who happened to be in the dope game, felt different about Nipp; they accepted him and took him in as one of their own. Unfortunately, this acceptance would involve Nipp in the dope game as a mule. NIpp’s father found out that he had been running drugs and that they belonged to Nicky Barnes. Nipp’s father got the whole family out of Harlem and moved to the Bronx. It wasn’t until his teenage years that Nipp would feel comfortable expressing himself artistically again. His teenage years coincide with the early days of Hip hop and he made his mark as a rapper as a member of the group Sonic Sound and the group The Fearsome Crew. Betrayal abruptly ended his stint with Sonic Sound. After his involvement with groups Nipp went solo and worked with DJ Greg Sky. Nipp performed in all of the boroughs of New York City, bringing a mix of rap and dance to shows and sharing the stage with several Hi Hop greats. His most memorable performance was at the Audubon Ballroom; the place where Malcom X last stood. As he grew older, Nipp found himself torn between being an artist and living the street life; a struggle that was always there for the NYC youth. Consequences of street life led him serving some time but serving time got him on the right track. Nipp continues to produce and record in his free time; never letting his dream, skill, or love for Hip Hop die.


Joe Nipper is a self-proclaimed hip-hop historian. Rapper Joe Nipper Lived the Real-Life Version of The Get Down RILEY COWING | JANUARY 17, 2018 | 6:00AM “When you watch The Get Down, picture me as one of those kids in the crew,” hip-hop historian Joe Nipper says. The Get Down, a Netflix series that premiered in August 2016, tells the story a group of young people chasing their musical dreams in the Bronx in 1977. Nipper, who was born in Harlem in 1964, came of age with the rise of hip-hop. Like the youth in The Get Down, he danced at discos, emceed and saw pioneering DJs like Grandmaster Flash perform. Now living in Aurora, with children and grandchildren of his own, Nipper turned 54 on January 6. He celebrated with the release of a new album, Beautiful Rap, and while he plans to continue making music that retains a hip-hop sound, he says this album is his last effort as a rapper. Nipper — known professionally as Nipplife — has had a knack for music and performing since he was little. An older cousin, a singer himself, noticed him at age three dancing around the house to James Brown records. The cousin incorporated Nipper in a dance number for a talent show in Boston, and from that performance on, the boy was hooked. “The crowd and the way they clapped — from that moment on, I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” Nipper recalls. “I knew I had something different as an entertainer.” He practiced, anytime and anywhere. He remembers banging on pots and pans at home, annoying his parents with all the noise he’d make. They’d set him up in front of the record player, where he would listen intently — mostly because his sister had convinced him that singers lived inside the radio, and he was patiently waiting for a miniature James Brown to make an appearance. His parents took him to the Apollo Theater on the weekends, where he saw his heroes, like the Jackson 5, live. Thanks to a cousin’s connections, at age five Nipper even got a chance to dance with James Brown himself at the famed theater. “One day I brought my little sticks to the Apollo Theater and was banging along with the band,” Nipper says. “Someone turned around and said to my dad, ‘Hey, he’s got it.’ My dad still really didn’t grasp what he was talking about, but I knew I had it…. [My fourth-grade teacher] took a liking to me and started noticing my dancing talents. She said, ‘Something is really extraordinary about you.’” Because of that teacher and her encouragement, Nipper was selected for a dance mentorship program by talent scouts from Juilliard. His parents were unsure about his pursuit of dance and told him he couldn’t go. Around the same time, his peers began bullying him because of the attention he was receiving for dancing and because he was a small, skinny kid. Nipper suppressed his talents in an attempt to fit in and began hanging out with older guys. In 1974, when he was ten, his older friends approached him, put something in his backpack and told him to take a cab from one part of Harlem to another. “They just told me, ‘Don’t look.’ I knew it was drugs of some type, and now I know it was heroin, but I didn’t know that then,” Nipper says. He delivered the drugs and received $100. He used the money to buy toys that he took to school. His teacher noticed the toys and alerted his parents, who connected the dots. Within a month, his family left the projects in Harlem and moved to the Bronx, hoping for a better environment. “If we had stayed, who knows what road I would’ve gone down?” Nipper muses. He remembers the heavy Jamaican influence on music and culture in the Bronx: “They brought a lot of record stores and their speakers.” He also remembers the first time he heard hip-hop, around 1976. At the time, he notes, the saying was, “Manhattan keeps on making it, Brooklyn keeps on taking it, Bronx keeps on creating it and Queens keeps on faking it.” That year, he attended his first hip-hop jam, where he saw DJ Breakout and the Funky 4 +1 perform. After watching the MCs rhyming back and forth and hearing James Brown sampled by the DJ, Nipper knew this was what he wanted to do. He mustered the courage to join his first crew, Sonic Sound. Although he was only with the group for two months, he learned how to make his words flow with a beat. Later he joined the Fearsome Crew, and his interest in hip-hop grew. “We were doing parties, shows, and everything was going great,” Nipper says. “‘I’m an MC now; this is hip-hop.’ We [bought] equipment and [built] our own speakers. We went to parents’ houses to get every vinyl record we could get. It was like a treasure hunt, going to your friends’ houses and seeing what vinyl they had. It was an amazing time. So innocent, and everyone was doing it.” The older members of the Fearsome Crew eventually tired of the jam scene, seeing it is a passing fad, and moved on to college. In 1978, Nipper reconnected with a childhood friend, DJ Greg Ski, and the two continued performing. Ski, a well-connected DJ, gave Nipper the chance to share the stage with DJs like Kool Herc and Grand Wizzard Theodore. Nipper recalls the stifling impact of crack on the hip-hop scene. “Before crack, it was cocaine, and it was an exclusive thing,” he explains. “You were looked up at, like you’re a great person because you can afford to sniff cocaine. You were elite…that was always accepted. When [crack emerged] and they saw how it was done and how it started affecting people, that was looked upon as not good…. That’s when you started seeing rappers and people you know just done…. You had some mainstream guys that made it, but my era, you knew that was it, that their career was mostly done. Now it’s more sad than when we were in it. It really caused a lot of havoc, I think.” To escape the drug-incited chaos in his home town, Nipper left New York in 1988 at age 28 and traveled the country by Greyhound bus. A fellow passenger encouraged him to make a stop in Colorado, and he decided to stay. In 1993, he returned to New York for about a year and half. During that time, he saw his friends performing and working as sound engineers. Seeing them reignited his desire to produce his own music. In 1994, he returned to Colorado with a newborn son and raised his family in Fort Collins. He bought his own music production equipment and dove in. His newest album, Beautiful Rap, reflects on his life. A lot of songs on the album aim to combat bullying, a topic he is still passionate about. To this day, Nipper has only written one rhyme. Instead, he freestyles. “That’s my whole thing: King of the One Take,” Nipper says. “I make the beat, put on the headphones and get on the mic. What you hear is from right then and there. I don’t go back and edit it. I just put it on, and boom.” He hopes that as the genre continues to evolve, hip-hop artists will acknowledge the power of their platform and offer positive messages with their music. Nipper remembers rap’s content becoming increasingly negative and violent when gangsta rap first appeared in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He sees traces of that negativity in rap today, and hopes the culture will move in a more positive, uplifting direction. “When [hip-hop] started, we weren’t talking about killing people,” Nipper explains. “It was basically just bragging like, ‘I’ve got two Cadillacs.’ Even if you battled somebody, it was never about killing…. Then it started getting worse and worse, to where it is today. I mean, I listen to all kinds. I’m not trying to point anyone out, but it’s not the most positive thing now telling kids to take pills and drink cough syrup.”