Published on September 23rd, 2019 | by Percy Crawford0
Nlm Geno, Chi-Town’s Hidden Gem Is Starting To Shine Bright!
Chicago has its fair share of musical representatives. Conscious rappers like, Common and Kanye West been holding down the Chi for quite some time. Then, you have the street guys like, Chief Keef and Lil Reese putting it down. NLM Geno is a mixture of both sides. It’s described as, “conscious trap” music and he’s perfecting his craft. The dictionary definition of a hustler is, “An aggressively enterprising person; a go-getter.” That describes, NLM Geno to a tee. Not only did the aspiring rapper just release his first project, “Papers 2 Papers,” he also serves as the head chef in his family owned restaurant, “R U Hungry.” “Papers 2 Papers” provides 16 hard-hitting tracks that gives you a sneak peek into the life of, NLM Geno from his passion of smoking weed on, “I Love to Smoke Weed,” to his time in the kitchen at his family owned restaurant, “Cook Up.” Geno is currently working on 4-mixtapes and plans to stay consistent with his releases.
I caught up with, NLM Geno to discuss the, “Papers 2 Papers” album, Tekashi 6ix9ine taking the stand and much more!
What’s up, my man?
NLM Geno: Man, everything has been going good, man. We headed into the fall season in the city of Chicago, so it’s a transition or what not. All has been good, man. Just keeping the music pumping, getting my listeners up and keeping my business going. I actually have a family owned restaurant; me and my pops. We cooking Monday-Saturday as well. So, not only am I doing music, I’m a chef too. I’m the head chef in the kitchen.
What’s the name of the restaurant?
NLM Geno: The name of the restaurant is, “R U Hungry.” It’s in Chicago. We are right on 51st and Hermitage. We have been there for about 9 ½ years. Everything is homemade. Every recipe is homemade besides the gyro and of course we can’t handmake those, but everything from our chicken sandwiches to our cheeseburgers are all homemade. And we serve breakfast all day. My pops have OCD, so we be trying to make sure that shit is coming out of the kitchen perfect. There is a song on the album called, “Cook Up,” that song is low key dedicated to my kitchen work.
True hustler. I respect it. Ya’ll gotta be doing something right to be in business almost a decade. Jumping into the music, what made you make such a personal album with, “Papers 2 Papers?”
NLM Geno: I felt like after so long of me doing music. I been in the game for over 10-years. I started when I was 12. I’ve always made music to inspire people or send a message, but I figured since this was my first studio album, I wanted to get deeper and let people know what was really going on. Sometimes we stay on the surface with the music, but I wanted to give my listeners a chance to get to know me and relate to me better. I wanted to talk about things that I actually went through and other rappers go through, but they don’t always speak on it. I wanted to take them through the ups and downs.
Yes. It’s convenient to rap about the bright lights, but to share the dark times as well is dope.
NLM Geno: Most definitely. I feel like it’s those times that actually make the spotlight more enjoyable. The fact that I can talk about the dark times and actually make it through some of them. I feel like people need to hear that. Let’s just be real, it won’t always be just good days. I felt like I wanted to express those bad days and maybe I could help somebody get through them. I understand what mind state you have to be in. It’s definitely going to be more personal tracks from me to help people relate. I like to relate to people.
The title, “Papers 2 Papers,” explain the title and the process of putting it together for us.
NLM Geno: So, it all started… it’s a basic timeline of me and my music career. “Papers 2 Papers” is basically explaining my life through music from the beginning up until the point where I’m at now; my trials and tribulations. It is of course, oriented for the smokers/stoners, but it’s still for everyone. That’s just a pastime that I personally like myself. I like to smoke weed. That’s one of the main papers I use. I just wanted to show the timeline of where I am and where I started. The things that I went through, why I’m doing it. Once upon a time, I was on probation, so that’s a form of papers for me. Writing with a pen and a pad, these are the things that come to mind when I think, papers to papers. From writing and doing my studio work like that, to getting caught up in the street and doing a lil time… a minor setback, and to get right back to it and keep it running. That’s why it’s, “Papers 2 Papers,” from the good papers to the bad papers and back again.
Chicago streets are a lot like New Orleans streets. How were you able to navigate those streets and pursue your dreams and be able to do what you love?
NLM Geno: There is a motto that I stand by, which is also what I named my label after, “Never Lose Motivation,” because the streets of Chicago are tough. In these streets you are going to experience a lot of losses. You’re going to experience more losses than wins here. It’s a very crab in a bucket system. I’ve actually seen a lot of people lose faith just by being in the streets and being accustomed to the streets. I just had to keep the faith and stay focused. Music was a passion for me, so at a point, it saved my life, so I had to stick with it. I feel like it was something that saved my life and it keeps me focused. It keeps my energy grounded, so I don’t invite in those other bad energies to deter me from my path. There’s not many people who can say that coming from where we come from.
You have so many guys from Chicago that could serve as musical influences, Twista, Kanye West, Common, Keef, Reese and the OG’s like Do or Die. Although I’m sure you were influenced by some of those guys in some way shape or form, you have your own sound.
NLM Geno: Most definitely! One thing about me and hip hop, as I was groomed into it, as I grew up listening to it, I understood that it was about originality. So, even when I’m listening to the artists before me, Twista was one of my favorite artists. I don’t want to name too many, but Twista was always one of my favorite ones. To me, it was all about originality. How was your approach to the game? None of the greats sounded the same. Biggie didn’t sound the same, Tupac didn’t sound the same and in Chicago, you’re not going to find another Twista or Do or Die or Crucial Conflict. They had to have their own approach to be relevant and to stay relevant. I never wanted to move with the trends. I always wanted to make my own lane. Some people actually call what I do, conscious trap music. I’m not necessarily coining that myself, but I’ll roll with that.
Apple Music and Spotify numbers are climbing. You’re over a hundred thousand streams. What has the reception been like for you?
NLM Geno: I just been getting a lot of love and more interactions overall. I feel like they seeing me and they feeling me a little bit more. Honestly, those hundred thousand streams actually hit Spotify and Apple Music within the same month, so I was pretty excited about that. it took me some time. I had been grinding on there for about 2-years, so I’m proud to say that as an indie artist, I’ve reached those accolades and I’m just trying to keep climbing. That just shows me that I got something that people really want to listen to, so I’m going to continue to give them something to listen to.
You have a joint on the album call, “No Ceilings” you talk about no snitching and sticking to the code. Now that everything is falling out with, Tekashi 6ix 9ine, do you think that was he was so comfortable coming to Chicago and talking so reckless because street dudes knew what he was about to not to touch him?
NLM Geno: Yeah see… (laughing). For him, I really don’t know what to say about him, man. He’s in a fucked-up position already. What I can say about that is, that’s really a result of not being authentic in my opinion. When you don’t stick to the code of the street and that’s what you claim and you try to represent and indulge in and get the people to feel you off of, you have to stay solid on that. Because every which way people are going to test you. At the moment that he folded; it was all over with. For a song like, “No Ceilings,” that’s basically a song to show people, this is how you do it. If you’re going to hustle, if you’re going to grind or be focused, this is how you need to do it. I’m explaining to people the basic do’s and don’ts through my words. Stay solid, stay focused and stay clear of the bullshit. That’s how you win out here. I like to be my own example.
What can we expect from you for the rest of the year and heading into next year?
NLM Geno: They can expect a few singles coming out for the remainder of this year. I actually got about four mixtapes that I’m working on at the same time. So, I’m trying to load up next year to drop heavy. I’m going to let everybody keep sizzling on the album, “Papers 2 Papers.” That’s a big thing for me, so I’ma keep riding that out for like another year. Keep feeding the streets with these mixtapes. I have inhouse producers. Shout out to my producer Tribe Vegas, Geno Messiah, BMakn Hitz. Those are my top producers, man. Those are my top-3 right now. I got a couple of other ones that I’m working with too. Shout out to, Don and the whole GED Family. He puts things together; they work hard and they standing behind me and my craft. We got a lot of work coming. The whole, “No Law” music team, my label, “Never Lose Motivation,” my brothers are all behind me. We got new stuff coming. I’m in the studio every week. I’m just keeping it consistent; it’s all coming soon.Tweet