Artist Spotlight: Chukwuemeka Daniel Nzeakor
When it comes to the Texas Hip-Hop scene, there are two reigning camps. In North Texas, you have the Dallas music scene and it’s many surrounding substituents. Developing out of Dallas’s fast paced, no nonsense attitude, the sound is brash, hard-hitting and in your face.
Moving further South, you have the more laid back Houston scene. Heavily influenced by the DJ Screw’s drink of choice, Lean, Houston music frequently features chopped and screwed beats, pitched down vocals, and an aesthetic that is recognized and appreciated the world over.
Chukwuemeka Daniel Nzeakor, a Baylor student from just south of Dallas, is a rapper/producer bent on fusing these two camps. Taking influences from both sides of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Chukwuemeka is carving his own sonic lane and making waves as he goes along. Literally.
A man of many names
“What people call you, means more than you think.” Chukwuemeka told me one cloudy Saturday afternoon. Or should I say Daniel told me? Or maybe Emeka? All three are names that he goes by and often introduces himself as interchangeably. In a room full of five people, they all may know him as someone different. This eccentricity doesn’t just stop at his personal name. As an artist, Emeka has gone by 5 nom d'artiste: NoReason, Eze, Waviavelli, We, and most recently (and hopefully permanently) The Artist SMPLY known, or SMPLY for short.
“When I change my name, I feel renewed as an artist. I don’t feel a need to stick to my old formats and conventions. It’s a clean slate.”
And what a truth that is. If you go through some of the more 63 tracks on his Soundcloud account (soundcloud.com/waviavelli) you’ll find a variety of genres and styles, ranging from the abstract and avant-garde, to the modern drill/trap hip-hop style.
Producer? Rapper? Artist?
“I’m an artist not a rapper, you can’t wrap me in no wrapper.” - Chukwuemeka Nzeakor on Tulips at the Bedside(Feat Waviavelli) (https://soundcloud.com/chriscavalier/tulips-at-the-bedside-feat-waviavelli-prod-wun-two)
Every artist has an origin story, Chukwuemeka is no different. “My good friend, and colleague Kenny Lopez(https://soundcloud.com/imkcthepoet) encouraged me to make my first beat.” Emeka told me reminiscing. “I made it garageband, and it was listenable, but it was nothing to write home about. I had actually decided to stop, and I did for a good long while until I heard one song.” Quite the dramatic, Emeka paused and smiled at this point. “4 MY 1, produced by Daniel D’Artiste and performed by Jaden Smith. It was the organic nature of the sound, that really interested me. All the instruments, the drums, the ambience, sounded so non-musical, yet when put together, they created one beautiful sound. I paused mid-song and pirated FL Studio right then and there.”
Legend has it then when Kanye West first started his career, he locked himself in his room and made 5 beats a day for 3 summers.
“That was July of 2014 when I first started, and originally, it would take me about 6 hours to produce a beat that was worth anything. At the time I was doing about two a day. So for a little while, I would literally spend the whole day sitting in front of my mother’s laptop, working on music. The more I worked, the shorter the time it took me to make one would get. I honestly think I could make a hit beat if about 15 minutes at this point.
Future of the Wave
Chukwuemeka has aspirations beyond your ears. Recently he released his first works of visual art. Gifs, videos, and images he uses to promote his music. He does these works under another pseudonym that he has asked us not to reveal. (Don’t worry your secret’s safe with us! ;)
“I plan to eventually develop hardware. I want to work with augmented and virtual reality. *google search if you need to* I know for a fact, that these two technologies are going to be some of the biggest industries in the future.”
And we hope he’s right.
Follow him on one of his many accounts:
IG: thatisnothowyoupronounceit (personal)