We all have that wise-old family member who seems to speak in life-changing parables, that although complicated seem to make all the sense in the world. Well, drop the old age, wrinkles and t-shirt tucked into some washed out jeans; keep the soul, wisdom and knowledge; and add a pair of adidas Rod Laver’s, a Jansport backpack, and a fitted baseball cap; you might have the makings of Nesby Phips-a young musician wise beyond his age. The line “Phips the Homie, but I spit it like your cool uncle” seems to capture the essence of what it is like to listen to and speak to this New Orleans breed multi-talented Emcee/producer/writer. I was introduced to the Music of Nesby Phips about a years ago and I was immediately intrigued by the combination of his voice, lyrics and laid back beats. What I did not realize is that I heard Nesby on tracks with his “Jet Life” affiliate Curren$y (Prioritize) and “Taylor Gang” front man Wiz Khalifa (Supply) prior to the formal introduction to his sound. After listening to the “Phipstape: B-Side” (my personal favorite) a few times through I went through the archives and downloaded “The Phipstape,” the project preceding the B-Side. At that point I realized it was no accident, the man had talent to match his over-aged wisdom.
After some scheduling back and forth, Mixtape Factory caught up with Nesby Phips during this years “South By Southwest Film and Music Festival.” Here are the results. Enjoy!
First, for the folks put there who don’t know who you are yet, state your name and where you are from?
Aight, My Name Nesby Phips, N-E-S-B-Y P-H-I-P-S. I spell it because everyone mispronounces it. I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana: Uptown to be exact.
Where does that name come from? Is that your birth name?
No. My birth name is Courtney Nero. It came as an inconspicuous name. My brother had his alias first. Which is Henry McCullough and I wanted something similar to it. So, I was trying to pick the most inconspicuous name possible and it literally came out of nowhere. I can;t even say I picked it. I popped in my head and I ran with it.
Speaking of New Orleans, for years all we knew was the Cash-Money Records brand of music. As of late we have had artist such as Curren$y, Jay Electronic and yourself take a somewhat prophetic/philosophical approach to music. Is this a recent phenomenon pr has this always excited in New Orleans?
Yeah, It’s nothing new. Thats the thing with New Orleans, nothing new arises, you know, outside of what is new in society. But as far as the spectrum of artistry down there, its very vast. You gotta remember Tennessee Williams came down there just to write….A Street Car Name Desire. Lenny Kravitz lives down there, Mos Def lives down there, thats the people that commute and migrate to there…because they see the spectrum. It’s kind of a perfect growing environment , kind of like Denver for Weed; New Orleans for musicians.
How Long have you been doing music?
All my life. I’ve always taken to instruments, I grew up with a upright piano in the crib. My momma played the flute and Picallo, my father played the flute, Picallo, an upright Piano and a saxophone. I took all types of lessons including the violin, but I always resisted it because I couldn’t get with formal training. But once I found out there was sequences for drum machines or whatnot and I could create the entire idea in my head, I was like boom…I’m doing it like this…know what I’m saying? The instruments were always there. So, like a kid has a ball to throw up against the wall, I had a piano to do that with. I would always do that and I would try to teach myself how to read music but I was so-so with it and as far as I could remember I wrote.
Sometimes we see producer try their hand at rapping or see rappers try producing but at times we have artist such as yourself, J. Cole, and Big K.R.I.T. who do both well. How did you develop all three, which do you prefer more?
And I respect both of those artists. I feel like they are my brothers. I don’t have a preference. It’s like having two kids, you can’t love one more than the other. You handle both of them differently, but I love them both. I can’t really separate the two because in my creative process both are involved. Sometimes it stops at the beat for me and other times it goes the whole length…like I did Supply with Wiz Khalifa, I didn’t send him just the beat, I sent him the beat with a verse on it…It was a complete idea that I had for it. I prefer both. You can’t love one more than the other, you just tend to them differently, they go hand in hand. Continue reading “Nesby Phips:Your Cool Uncle…[Interview]“