Meet St. Louis’ Next Up Hip-Hop Artist
NandoSTL, a rising artist from St. Louis, has been making waves since his debut with the EP Good Vibes in 2018. He has since released a continuous flow of tracks that showcase his soulful style, becoming a valuable member of T-Pain’s Nappy Boy Entertainment team. With his latest project, Nando is taking his mission to the next level and is poised to have an amazing year.
NandoSTL – Weakdays (Official Video)
Meet and Get To Know NandoSTL
Kulture Vulturez: Being from St. Louis, what influences from there helped build your creative side?
NandoSTL: From the beginning, of course, you got to say Nelly, I’m a melodic rapper, so I’m gonna definitely fall into that category, but the St. Lunatics as a whole. My whole squad, besides Nappy Boy, is from Saint Louis. We make sure we all we got. We live by that same motto that they lived by.
Outside of Nelly and the Lunatics, we had a lot of greats, man. All the way back to Ike and Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, it has been going on for a minute here. I always got a message in my music, so Dick Gregory also. There are a bunch of people.
Kulture Vulturez: Can you think about your earliest memories or your first introduction to music that you can recall?
NandoSTL: When it come to St Louis, my first memory is seeing the “Country Grammar” video for the very first time. Seeing Nelly up under the arch with the chain hanging and the band-aid on his face. That was the first time I seen a music video and I actually knew where some of those video scenes were shot at. I was a kid in elementary school then.
So, that changed the game for me. It made me feel like shit was possible. Then hip hop period, my favorite artist is DMX. That’s the first thing I ever remember is the first time I ever cried to a song was hearing “Slippin'”. My biggest introduction to hip hop was definitely DMX. I had posters of him in my room and shit.
NandoSTL – Loud (Official Video)
Kulture Vulturez: St. Louis had its moments of party music and street music in hip-hop, what inspired you to be different?
NandoSTL: I think I’ve always been like that. I was never really the kid who fit in with anybody. I mean, I was in band, but I wasn’t really no band kid. I could hoop, but I wasn’t really a jock. I just kind of always did my own thing.
When it came to music, I ain’t really following the trends. I’m a little older too. I signed my deal when I was 30 years old. So all this shit everybody else talking about, I ain’t really on that type of time. I’d be out the way raising my kids.
Kulture Vulturez: St. Louis does get a bad reputation. Do you feel it is important to provide another example, something that is positive?
NandoSTL: Yeah, for sure. I feel like both though. I still wear gold teeth and I’m still tatted. But I also went to college. I think that’s one of my biggest theories. I feel a lot of kids from St Louis, or our neighborhoods or the hood period, don’t want to be doctors or lawyers or things like that. Because when you’re a kid, you look at what people got, and not what they do.
When you see doctors and lawyers wearing boat shoes, driving a Prius then you ain’t really you inspired by that. You want to wear Jordans, you want tattoos, you want gold teeth, you want Chevy Impalas and old school whips, and your trunk banging. That’s what the dope boys, rappers, and the hoopers got.
Those are the lanes that people choose. I decided that I could be whatever I want to be. If we had more representation of n****s not rapping about shit like that, but still having all the things that they have, then they let you know it’s a option. That money going to spend wherever you decide to spend it.
NandoSTL – Tinted Windows (Official Video)
Kulture Vulturez: Being able to do your own thing, where do you feel that came from?
NandoSTL: I grew up in the church with my grandmother, she was kind of the leader. My daddy, too. I was raised by my grandparents and my dad, and he was always big on that. If you don’t stand for something, you going to fall for anything. So I’ve always been a leader.
Even when I was young, it was drummers that were older than me. But when I was six years old, I was the main one because when I be locked in on something, that’s just what my focus is on. I don’t be thinking about what anybody else doing. I be in my own way.
Kulture Vulturez: Since entering the industry, what have been keys that you have learned to be successful?
NandoSTL: Two things. One of the biggest things, the steps to being successful is going to change every day. Whatever worked for your last shit ain’t going to work for this shit. You going to have to do something else. You going to have to know what you want. That was one of the biggest things I’m still kind of struggling with.
I’m used to us coming together and having ideas, but you got to know what you want because at the end of the day it’s art and it’s your art. You going to see it a different way than everybody else going to see it. If you don’t know what you want, you’re going to get lost in the sauce and end up competing with people you don’t want to compete with and listen to people you don’t even want to talk to.
NandoSTL, T-Pain & Young Cash – Y.O.T.A. (Official Video)
Kulture Vulturez: What has it been like working with T-Pain and Nappy Boy Entertainment?
NandoSTL: Dope, man. I signed basically in November and I didn’t drop music until January came. I’d already turned in my album and from there it’s really been like the new guy to a family. It seemed like they already existed. We already existed. So of course, y’all got growing pains. Everybody trying to get to know everybody.
But all in all, we all working towards the common thing. And T-Pain is good people. He naturally a good person. So it’s always a good time when we around each other. I think the hardest part about it is them being based in Atlanta and me being in St. Louis, us figuring out how to make sure we still communicating on a daily basis
Kulture Vulturez: Can you break down your upcoming project, Y.O.T.A?
NandoSTL: It’s called YOTA, the Year of the Ape. My nickname is the Gorilla. So it was really me just claiming that this year was going to be my year. The first song we dropped was the song “YOTA” with me, Young Cash and T-Pain. Basically an anthem, with the first line being, ‘F*** yesterday, God gave me breath today.’
It’s about whatever happened in the past is over with. This is our time. That’s what this album is. I want people to listen to it and know that I’m like an onion.
Every track on there is a vibe. It has it’s layers. You’re gonna hear some sad shit, some happy shit, some painful shit, some proud shit, some cocky shit, and some humble shit. You’re gonna hear everything that you could possibly hear on that album. That’s really what it is. It’s just kind of showing that I do a little bit of it all.
Kulture Vulturez: Other than your upcoming project, what else do you have coming up?
NandoSTL: We got a concert here. T-Pain is throwing Wiscansin Fest, his annual festival in Wisconsin. I’m on that. There’s a couple tour dates that they putting up. I’m on all of those. Really pushing this album to the fullest. I got a record on the album with Nelly called “On Everything.”
I think that’s the highlight. We got college shows that I’m doing. I’m already in there too. I got two more and then like two weeks I’m dropping another song this month called “Weekdays” on the 21st of April with a video. A bunch of shit, a whole bunch of work.