I got a chance to speak with Aulsondro "Novelist" Hamilton, better known by his stage name Emcee N.I.C.E., who is an African American, Puerto Rican rapper. He is also a multi-platinum producer, Oscar associated, writer and recording artist; working with legendary artists and Grammy award-winning musicians.
Emcee N.I.C.E collaborated with artists; such as, 2 Pac, Nas, Aaron Hall, K-Ci Hailey, Darius McCrary, Stacey Dash, Apollonia, A Lighter Shade of Brown, Doctor Fink, Al B. Sure, Melissa Molinaro, and MC Lyte. He is currently starring in Da Jammies as "Novelist" of which is now on Netflix Since 2002, he has been credited on over 30 different records; which includes an association with the Academy Award-winning film Crash; appearing on its blockbuster soundtrack as a lead vocalist/rapper of KansasCali.
He is without reservation one of the most complete "underrated" acts to come on the scene. Signed to Gypsy City Music Records after releasing two fire starters (However U Want It and All about U), thus culminating with his latest album "Praise", led by the single "I Got Angels" Emcee N.I.C.E also authored the book "50 Shades of Love - (Learning Our Various Emotions)".
His music has a purpose, and every song is packed with great passion and brilliant dialogue that is embraced with a freshness. If you’re not all the way familiarized with the music and talent that is associated with Emcee N.I.C.E; then you are missing out. I don’t say that solely as a fan, but as a writer with both ears cemented into the sounds of most music genres. Let's hear what this dope lyricist has to say.
How are you?
Hey Stacey, how you doing?
I’m well! It’s great speaking with you, as I’ve followed your work.
I’m blessed, God is good!
All of the time! Well, let’s get started.
I’m ready, when you’re ready.
Let’s get it started then. (Laugh)
My first question, where were you born and raised?
I am from El Paso Texas, the Western end of Texas, of which is close to the border of New Mexico. However, I was born In Los Angeles.
Did you grow up with a church backgound?
Yes, I grew up in the Pentecostal Church.
I know something about that, as I was brought up in a Pentecostal household myself. I see that you have worked with a few secular artists. Would you continue to work with secular artist?
I would work with any positive and inspirational artist; as I would love to work with Common or the Roots.
I see that you’re also a producer as well.
Yes, I am. All day every day!
So who have you worked with?
I first met Tupac five years before his passing. I worked on Tupac’s album the acoustic version of thug’s mansion, that was featured on Tupac’s album & Nas album as well. I also worked with the legendary Aaron Hall; during the time, I was with the R&B group called KansasCali. At that time I was featured on Aaron Hall record, as well as produced on his album. I also produced and collaborated on K-Ci Hailey solo album called (My Book), which I was also featured on that album along with KansasCali. I’ve worked with MC Lyte’s work, as well as collaborated with Al B Sure, Darius McCrary & Stacey Dash.
So you have worked with some of the greatest talents in the music business… Wow!
Yes, when I think about it, I’m like wow! Working on Pac’s album, we wanted to do something nontraditional that’s why the acoustic version was put into place. Pac’s voice against the guitar, it resonated very well, it was something different that earned some great accolades. I also received a triple platinum record out of it; of which I’m always excited about!
Your song, (I Got an Angels), I love that song! I know it’s a Richard Smallwood original recording, however, it's very inspiring. What was your inspiration in doing that song? What was it about that song that made you want to remake it?
Working on my gospel album, I needed a signature record to complement the introduction of my inspirational and gospel arena. At the time, I was working with producer Sam Peezy out of Alabama in Atlanta, he was more of a trap, bass style producer with a lot of creativity. He and his family had an unfortunate event in their life and "Angels" was a record he flipped to help he and his family cope. While we were looking for a signature song to stamp the record he played it for me, it was the last track I heard and caught my ear. Listening, I remembered Richard Smallwood of which took me back to the days of my youth. During my time as a youth, spending my childhood in the church, if it weren’t for the angels, I would not be alive today. My car was hit by a diesel truck some years back, but God brought me back triumphant from that. When I did the song I Got Angels, I went to Richard Smallwood personally and asked for his blessings. When Richard heard the recording, he felt the message and said, (The record will go places he never thought), and then gave me his blessing.
What made you go into gospel?
I was in KansasCali which was a R&B/Hip Hop that transitioned into an urban rock group. Believe it or not, I originally started out as a Gospel hip hop artist earlier; however, during that time, Gospel Hip Hop wasn’t widely accepted by the church. It was considered secular and music of the world, due to the wide spread influence it had on certain communities. However, gospel artists like Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary and Lecrae, they were influential in opening the doors influencing the church to accept different forms of worship. Which is what I really had the passion for to begin with. My first encounter with secular music, it was pretty much about love and relationships. I have never been the one to do gangsta rap, although growing up, it was what you heard on the radio, and was becoming the norm. I can understand that life; however, I didn’t grow up in that life, I grew up in the suburbs, went to school and took advantage of the education that was offered. I’ve never been the type to express or rap about something I’ve never experienced. My message is centered around scripture and praising God.
I see that you’re an author, you have a book called (50 Shades of Love); can you tell me a little about it?
Love (Learning Our Various Emotions), it’s one of those books where I feel if you're committed to having a solid and stable relationship you have to be committed to one another. Especially with the things we do in life, we have to learn whether it’s walking, talking, interviewing, spinning records, or driving, you have to learn how to do it. I felt as if, why should love be any different, if a person is committed to one another, we are able to learn emotions that govern why. Therefore, what we now have is love; however, when we stop learning, we stop loving. Thus allowing, me to create this book for dudes to use as a tool that would essentially lead them to strike intelligent conversations and hopefully be creative with a better understanding of women and how to approach them.
You also have music on the soundtrack of Crash as well as Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Yes. With my group KansasCali, our song on that soundtrack in which was released in all of the foreign markets was called "If I Never See You Again...", we were also on the soundtrack to Haven, starring Orlando Bloom and Zoe Saldana. "Once In A Lifetime" by ESPN, "Kicking It Old Skool" with Jamie Kennedy, our song is the end title. Along with the appearing on the 9-11 First Responders docu-movie, with "In My America".
You are surely the Renaissance Man!
(Laugh) I try to be and wherever God leads me, and wherever the music road leads me, that’s where I’ll go.
Can you tell me the idea behind your show, Da Jammies on Netflix?
Da Jammies was created by my partner and I, William "Dolla" Chapman. We founded an urban animation company. While playing Madden one day, we stepped back and started looking at the many different television shows that weren’t geared or relatable to the urban kids in modern day times. With our animated series, we engaged in 5 kids from the suburbs to sing, dance, and rap, trying to make hip hop songs.
We didn't put them in the hood, we put them in the suburbs. There was a rhyme and a reason and a method to our madness. The five kids weren’t placed in any community school, we placed them in the school for performing arts. They’ve dealt with everyday things many kids go through; such as homelessness, obesity, and the biggest problems for adolescents, bullying, all self-awareness related issues.
We incorporated mixed tapes, by recreating 50 Cents and Jay Z’s music to be kid appropriate. We used the likes of Candy Shop; in which we actually spoke about a real candy shop, so in terms, we’d give you the flow that 50 would give you, but in an appropriate form sort to say.
What would you consider your biggest struggle as a gospel/hip hop artist? Do you label yourself as a gospel artist?
Some label it as inspirational, although my movement and feel is gospel, it's just hard for some people to relate to it as gospel alone; solely because I didn't spend my life in gospel to legitimately say I'm a gospel artist!
With that being said, do you believe that your show and music is relatable to all ethnicities?
Oh yeah, I'm Puerto Rican and black, my music is not hardcore, it's more commercial. What I give you, is relatable music. In essence, it affects people of all colors, and nationalities. They all come out and support the message.
Who would be at the top of your list to work with?
Ok, let me say this, who would you like to collaborate with?
Fred Hammond and Le'Andria Johnson.
If I were in your car, who would you be listening to, and who would be on your play list?
(Laughs) Not sure if you heard of this group Portishead. They are an English band based out of Bristol, the song "Humming" stays on repeat, extremely different involving a DJ, Hip Hop, Orchestra to edgy beats, great driving music. If you’re talking rap, I listen to Dave East, Lecrae, he’s a local based rapper out of New York.
What would you say to Emcee N.I.C.E. at 15?
I would tell him to have the mindset to achieve greatness; you can be what you want to be in life, if you put in the work. One of my favorite mottos is, for any great achievement, someone has to be the first to do it, so why not you”!
What's your favorite decade of music?
Funny you asked that, I would say the nineties, it was a great time for music. My next single the cover reflects the nineties, that De La Soul or Q-tip feel was everything.
This is for the ladies! Are you in a relationship, and what type of women do like? Do they have to be Christian?
I'm single, and they don't have to be; I go where God says is good and if I feel it, that's where I go.
What would you want the world to know about you?
What I want them to know is music has a way to unite people, no matter language, and/or color; no matter the genre, the melody seems to find a way. I want to create inspirational songs that brings all likes of people together in faith. I pray my legacy of music does exactly that, as I hope my music will help people engage in a new mindset that allows them to be more creative. There’s supposed to be freedom of expression; but because of the powers that be, there are those sets of rules in place that limits that expression. However, if you're clever enough with your rhyming style, your word play can tell your story.
What's coming up next for Emcee N.I.C.E.?
My new maxi-single "Alright" - (feat. Stripped, Rahkua & The Georgia All-Stars) is out, where I have multiple versions for various listeners. I have Da Jammies, on Netflix, Comcast, Roku and Apple TV; as we’re starting to expand. My upcoming single Alright, I have a version for the traditional gospel folks and a version for my Sunday morning listeners. I also have a trap version, then my second installment of 50 Shades of L.O.V.E. - (The Art of Conversation), It's poetry that gives you various way to communicate with your mate.
As I have previously stated, you are the renaissance man, and it was an honor to speak with you. I look forward to seeing great things from you.
Stacey, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule, you have a beautiful and blessed day.
Aulsondro “Novelist” Hamilton aka Emcee N.I.C.E.
For more about EMCEE N.I.C.E., please visit:
P: 323.3NICE.30 (323-364-2330)
Google: http://goo.gl/NZPs4B (Emcee N.I.C.E.)
Google: http://goo.gl/PJiWq4 (Aulsondro “Novelist” Hamilton)
“For any Great Achievement someone has to be the first to do it, why not you?”
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