Spitters who can freestyle off the top of the dome has always been a move that gets a true MC the respect they deserve. REVOLT’s “Off Top” is here to bring real bars back to the game with Big Tigger, Rapsody and DJ Nyla Symone, as they chop it up with today’s biggest and rising rap stars. Peep the convos here.
On the latest episode of REVOLT’s “Off Top,” Big Tigger, Rapsody, and DJ Nyla Simone spoke with NLE Choppa about his musical influences, fatherhood, and his holistic journey. Although the Memphis native was brought up on southern rap, he also draws influence from west coast artists. “Really, I was with my pops. We was bumping a lot of Tupac, and so he was a big influence on me. I have him tatted like right here,” the 18-year-old explained, showing the hosts his ink on his arm. He further explained that he was inspired by old school rap and older artists such as UGK, Nas, and Fabolous. Simone asked whose “Rap City” freestyle was NLE’s favorite to watch. While he didn’t have a favorite, he highlighted Jim Jones’ freestyle as “motivation.”
The conversation segued into NLE’s artistry. Tigger asked him how he would describe himself and his music. “Raw, just gutter — and versatile ‘cause at the same time of being raw and gutter, I can talk to the soul and you know be poetic in a way,” the “Final Warning” emcee answered. “So, it’s like a lot of my unreleased — my newer music coming out is, like, I’m giving that rawness. The gangster and gutter. But, also, I got stuff that open minds and really connect with people [on] spiritual levels, different levels, and just, you know, vibe with people that go through the same stuff I’m going through.”
NLE cited his song “Letter to My Daughter” as one of the tracks that has a universal message for listeners. Rapsody touched on the subject of the newer generation of male rappers exhibiting their responsibilities as fathers by asking how fatherhood has changed him. He responded, “Man, it changed my life drastically because, like I said, she was really at one point — with me just knowing [my daughter] was on the way. It was the only thing I wanted to live for at that point.” He explained that he wasn’t in the best space at the time he found out he was expecting a child despite being a successful rapper. However, the news allowed for more blessings in his life. He continued, “Once I knew I had a child on the way, I said, ‘Man, I get to give all the love I could give and I know I’ma receive it back to somebody.’”
NLE revealed he changed a lot of things once he had a daughter including his smoking habits. Tigger followed up by asking him how having a daughter affected his music. The “Picture Me Grapin’” rapper explained that he took a detox from “murder music” once she was born. “I just found that life is about a balance, and ... she’ll understand that one day —probably not early — but she’ll understand, like, ‘Pops is talking about fucking bitches and getting money, and all that shit. Shooting. But, at the same time ... he’s saying stuff with empowerment — telling me how to be treated [and] telling people to stay out of trouble.’ You know what I’m saying? It’s just a balance.”
The rapper lightly touched on his Instagram ban, and how it taught him how to consume social media in moderation for his sanity. Simone asked him about his commitment to his holistic journey. NLE revealed that he is very strict on his vegan diet, and only breaks it when he is traveling and there are no vegan restaurants in reach. “If we in the airport or something and I’m hungry as hell, and it ain’t no vegan spots, like, most of the time in the airport, I just get some French fries from somewhere. I still be eating them, like, ‘Man, that shit greasy as hell.’ I’m like, ‘Man, I can taste the chicken on this motherfucker,’” he said. “It’s just all about practicing what you preach. I wouldn’t feel right if I’m telling people, you know, do this and I’m out here eating Fatburger and shit.”
Tigger asked what inspired him to take on a holistic health journey. For the “Make ‘Em Say” emcee, practicing meditation played a major part in his decision. “Honestly I ain’t gonna lie, it’s like I found meditation. That’s what helped me with just life in general and just everything. It helped me with letting the day chase me, and me not chasing the day. It just helped with so much — my anxiety, depression, all that stuff was good after I come out of meditation,” NLE explained. “And once I come out of meditation, I used to realize, like, even when I smoked weed, it used to put me in the same state of mind before I meditated.” The rapper also noted that eating meat made him feel “tired [and] sluggish” before he started meditating. After one of his meditation sessions, he made the decision to visit Grand Cafe, a vegan restaurant he references in his 2020 track “Bryson.” In addition to growing fond of the taste of vegan dishes, he says it made him feel good. “My energy was different, like, I could stay up. I could be able to — my energy was just different with what I ate, you know.” The rapper joked about his plans to make a trip to Slutty Vegan restaurant in Atlanta.
Circling back to the topic of music, Tigger asked NLE about his outlook on this generation’s music and how he answers the criticisms of today’s music compared to previous eras. NLE cited J. Cole and Drake as lyrical rappers who continue to impact this generation’s music. “It was a lot of more lyrical rappers like the Logics, the Chance the Rappers. But, a lot of people was like, ‘This generation sometimes don’t wanna hear what’s gonna benefit them,” said NLE. “I say some of the lyrical songs I dropped, a lot of people probably wouldn’t view it as, like, they view my hype murder music and all that stuff. At the end of the day, I feel like if that’s what you want to do — the lyrical stuff — it’s not for the fans to kind of just rock with sometimes. Sometimes you gotta do stuff for you.” He further explained that he often put out the type of music his fans want more than the kind he wants sometimes. The rapper added, “In my newer music, it’s a lot more lyrical. This new album, I promise like — even the hype songs making are lyrical. I start pen and a pad, I don’t freestyle. I’m sober, so my thoughts come clearer. I don’t type it in my phone. I really sit down and write like I’m in jail or something.” In the future, NLE says he wants to sell his notebooks full of raps posthumously.
Rapsody asked how NLE plans to leave his impact on the culture. The most important realization he wants Black people to make is that the mind is more powerful than we think. “A lot of people in this generation — only thing I see is drinking, smoking, clubbing and hookah. That’s really all I see every time I open my phone, and that’s where the most bullshit happens at. The clubs, where you eating at, all that stuff,” the emcee said. “So people can realize, like me, how I sell herbs and stuff. People out here are going to jail for life for selling crack and shit, and it’s hurting people. You can actually sell herbal stuff and help your community and benefit them, and become a millionaire like that.” He also confessed that his mom is the reason why he has much of his wealth instead of giving it away. The rapper further emphasized the importance of familial ties when it comes to his personal life and his business, which is why his family is a major part of his team.
The most important thing NLE Choppa has learned in business and his personal life is how to separate them from one another. “Business to me is rapping, writing it, studio. All that stuff is business — even when it’s not even money involved. All that stuff is business because everything that I do like that I love, I take it serious as a business,” He explained. “The personal life — it’s like being home, being able to think, being able to be with your fam, being able to still do things like an ordinary human, and not implement all the stuff — you know, sometimes just get away from it. So, when you do get back in it, you can be the best you can be.” NLE says learning balance has also aided him in separating the two entities of his life. He added, “Like I said, balance. Balance was the best thing I finally found in my life because with balance I found patience, all that. I was impatient with a lot of shit, and so just balancing the two — business and your personal life — you know what I’m saying? Once you learn how do that, sky’s the limit.”
Watch NLE Choppa’s “Off Top” interview above!