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For NePH, Sometimes Inspiration Is As Easy As Pouring A Drink

Written by on April 7, 2021

A relatively recent arrival on the Chicago hip-hop scene, South Side native NePH aims for creative consistency in his music, honoring quality over quantity.

NePH’s single “Give Me A Reason” is featured in our Poised To Break Through playlist for March, and he talked with us, sharing his musical inspirations and goals for the future.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you now? How’d you get there?

From Southside Chicago. I’m still here for now.

What is your earliest memory with music? Was there a song, an album, artist or dance that inspired you to make music?

Hearing “Ms. Jackson” always being played on the radio to seeing Michael Jackson videos on MTV back then are definitely a couple early memories. I honestly wanted to rap since old childhood friends sort of gassed me for little slight rhymes I’d come up with on our way to school. 

When did you decide to start pursuing music?

I took music more seriously a little after I got out of high school.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

How did you come up with your stage name? Did you have many other stage names before this one?

My original rap name was Nephew J. Then I shortened it to NePh, “never-ending peace & happiness,” but I also go by Nephaniel too. 

Can you share some of your creative process with us? Is there a particular place you go to get inspired? Do you prefer to record during a specific time of the day?

It just depends on how an instrumental might make me feel, if it gets my juices flowing or not. The process is as easy as pouring up a drink to sip on or rolling something up to put in the air you know, nothing crazy.

What inspired you when creating your single “Give Me A Reason”?

I made “Give Me A Reason” when my Detroit homie Elijah asked for a couple samples. He was about to start cooking beats so I shot him the idea and I heard the beat and felt it instantly.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

One song I can hear the rest of my life… can’t even do it. One ain’t enough, so I’d rather go deaf. 

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Who is your favorite musician right now? What about them do you admire the most?

Frank Ocean is probably my favorite artist right now because he’s a rare guy. He approaches everything different then you’d expect — he’s like David Bowie meets Marvin Gaye in his own way.

If you could collaborate with any artist right now, who would they be and why? What kind of music do you think you would make?

It’ll be between The Alchemist or Dev Hynes. The Alchemist because he’s been one of my favorite producers for a while now and I feel we can do no wrong. Dev because he’s mad talented, plus I’m in love with the drums he’s been using recently. The type of music we’d make would be captivating.

Do you have anything coming up on the horizon you want to mention?

I have my first single “Hour Glass” dropping from my next project titled Hell If I Know coming out April 9, 2021, video to release shortly after. And I plan on saturating the year with tunes, so enjoy.

Follow NePH on Twitter and Instagram, and stream “Give Me A Reason” below.

Interview edited for length and clarity by Luis Mejía Ahrens.

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