A few minutes of chat was enough for me to understand that Nitro has one quality, which I like to define as a rarity: it’s sincere. Towards him, first of all, and towards others. He can’t pretend, especially when it comes to his music, in which he tells himself, in everything and in spite of everything. I believe that in a fast-moving contemporary world that places us in front of choices, sometimes even of convenience, being faithful to one’s artistic line is not always easy. And whoever succeeds is because he believes in it, and he doesn’t want the final product, the music, not to give a distorted image of who he is. Nitro goes straight his way because, as he told me, “it takes more courage to do something I don’t like to do”. And it is the philosophy that can also be read in “Outsider”, his new album, in which he tells many nuances of him being a rapper and songwriter: some stronger, others impactful and also sweet and intimate.
I like to imagine Nitro almost like a gentle giant, because behind the somewhat rough aura hides an artist who knows how to look inside himself, even with a little fear, and who knows how to recognize that he has grown up with those who listen to him. For this new musical project Nitro has added an extra piece: each song is associated with an NFT, a digital work, created by artists who are friends of the rapper. The works can still be visited in Milan and then “we are already looking for new places to exhibit them” he told us.
“It takes more courage to do something you don’t want to do”
“Outsider” is the title of your new recording project, but it’s also a word that you make your own, to which you give a very strong meaning. Can you tell us something more?
Looking at my previous albums, I realized that – in the end – for ten years I’ve always been doing what I like to do, without paying attention to the logic of the market. And I thought: this is the right time to give people who listen to me and who identify with my music a way to define themselves. Hence the choice of the word “Outsider”, which I believe is the correct term to define who listens to me or who sees something in my music. We often forget how interesting the stories of outsiders, of non-protagonists are… Well, I come from a generation of rappers born for the people, and my music will always be for them.
“My music? Always for the people”
Bravely you said “I want to make music for the people”…
Yes true. But it also takes a lot of courage to do something you don’t want to do and that maybe doesn’t represent you. Courage is not the main component: I simply feel that, for me, this is right. When I go on stage I think a lot about what I’m singing and while I’m doing it, I don’t have to be ashamed of what I’m saying. Indeed: I am proud of it, because through those sentences I tell myself.
Featuring on “Outsider”
There are some very interesting features on your album, from Ernia to Il Ghost, but also Sally Cruz, Kid Yugi, Fresh Mula, Phil De Payne. Can you tell us about the collaboration with Ernia and Il Ghost, who I imagine as artists similar to you musically?
Absolutely! But, first of all, I like their music. I had given a hand to Ernia in 2016 for his piece “Some days”: that record deserved a lot and it was right, in my opinion, to do something together. And then you see, in the end things are cyclical and he’s helping me out! This piece, “In heaven”, is pure rap and I’m happy that through this song he is best told, also because he had a strong desire to do so. I met Il Ghost by chance, thanks to some mutual friends. I really like how he writes, his way of rapping, I like everything he does… and I decided to involve him in my new musical project. He is an honest, cordial person: I love him very much and he will grow a lot.
The meaning of “I would tell you”
There are many nuances of you in this record: strong, impactful songs, but there is also a beautiful “Ti direii”, which you dedicated to your partner, who made an important contribution to the NFTs exhibition which we will talk about in between. little. How was the writing process of this song so intense and profound?
I think it’s a very sincere song, and for that reason it’s strong. Whether or not my relationship with my campaign ceases or changes, I would sing this song to her for the rest of my life, because that’s what I feel. I didn’t want to write this piece so as not to dig so deep, and in the process of writing it, I suffered a lot. It may seem like a fairy tale, but anyone who was with me during that time knows that I didn’t experience those moments easily… and yes, I even cried, just because I was looking inside myself. Writing “I would tell you” shook me a lot, but I’m glad I did it because it doesn’t just make me cry apparently (smiles). And if I had to have another stage name for this song, it would be Nicola (which is his real name), who speaks from the heart in hand.
“Telling about the most intimate sides of me doesn’t scare me anymore”
While you were talking about “I’d tell you” a strong emotion shone through. Did she make you afraid to dig so deep into yourself?
During my career I have seen many times how my words attach themselves to the stories of many other people: if at 20 I didn’t attach much importance to all this, now I think about it a little more. I don’t limit myself in anything, of course, but I’m simply a little more relaxed. The fact that I told myself in a more intimate version doesn’t scare me.
It’s also true that those who have listened to you since the beginning of your career have grown up with you and you with them too, don’t you think?
Certain. It’s a nice circle that closes, from “Pleasantville” it all comes back here. I’m happy that if, precisely, in “Pleasantville” a more tormented love is told, which is a bit the beginning of a relationship, “Ti direi” is the song of a person who has been with another for many years, to which it is related on a soul level. And if my relationship ends tomorrow, my soul will always be tied to this woman, who has passed on and taught me so much. And some things cannot be erased.
“Outsider” songs go NFT
And what can you tell us about the exhibition of NFTs works on display at the Dazi, in Piazza Sempione in Milan? Where was your passion for digital art born?
It all started in the post-pandemic period: you couldn’t play and I started participating and numerous deaths of art and crypto art, precisely because I believe that every artistic form (from cinema to figurative arts) can inspire me. I met some artists who, step by step, also became friends and I said to myself: “But why don’t we all do something together?” My partner and I selected the pieces and each artist we sent one, saying: “Listen to the song and express yourself freely … make art what the lyrics say, do as you believe.” And some beautiful works of art have been created! Each of them is an added value to every song on the disc.
When and where will we be able to see these works associated with your songs?
Until this evening (April 8) they will be at Dazi Milano, then we will try to find spaces in which to exhibit them.
And will there be live shows this summer?
Certain! There are already so many dates, and we won’t stop at summer…I can’t wait!