“Nevelle Viracocha, a rapper/singer/producer who hails from a small town in Alabama, is ready to shift things again.” – Pigeons and Planes
People often knock Southern hip-hop for being simplistic, overlooking the fact that the South possesses one of the most creative lineages ever in hip-hop—that of the space-age artist, started by the ATLiens of Outkast and continued through extraterrestrial Cadillactica with Big K.R.I.T from Mississippi . Whenever an artist emerges in that mold—able to sing, rap, and produce music in such a way that brings one back to that interstellar headspace—they’re worth paying attention to. Nevelle Viracocha has released two music videos and a handful of songs so far, but they’re enough to suggest he’s a powerful new talent with a story to tell.Read more
The biggest question for an emerging rap artist is “Where are you from,” but Nevelle’s roots are more nebulous than that. “That’s the worst question to ask me, laughs Nevelle. Nevelle was born in the town of Elizabeth City, North Carolina to military parents, and their deployments took him all over the world. He would vow to being a Southerner, through and through—his parents are Southern, he has a Southern twang, —but he’s also lived in Europe and Asia while growing up.
The closest place to home for Nevelle is Alabama, where he spent both his formative years and high school. “Alabama molded my character, I can never deny the huge part that Alabama played in my story,” he said. “First pair of shoes, first haircut, learning to ride my bike… it made me who I am. That’s why it’s easiest to say I’m from Alabama.”
After his first stint in Alabama, Nevelle moved to Germany. “There was a European era to my life,” he says. “When you’re in a foreigner in a country sometimes you get lost and need directions, kind of teaches you a universal language that I try to apply to music.” After attending high school in Alabama, he moved to South Korea with his family. “At the age 18 I lived 45 minute train ride away of Seoul,” Nevelle says, “South Korea was where I really took my my artistry to another level…”
To go from a town of less than 10,000 people in Alabama to Europe and East Asia, among other places, would certainly give one a refreshing perspective in a genre rooted in locales. Nevelle isn’t tied to one sound or subject matter—on “Mind Made Up,” he raps: “This is instrumental genocide / gotta keep one bullet for my television set, I’m sick of seeing niggas villainized” before his verse collapses into a powerful sung hook of his own vocals.
Nevelle’s music reflects his unconventional background—worldly, interesting, grounded in the South. He describes his sound as “trancy vibe music”—“it takes you to another place,” he says, “with a lot of different background vocals, a lot of vocal stacks, a lot of musician stuff.” He is currently investing all of his time into his debut album, Astral Hour.
“I don’t want to make a project that doesn’t matter when you’re done listening to it,” Nevelle says. “A lot of songs are temporary because we live in a temporary era and my job is to reverse that. My responsibility is to have music that people never have to take a break from, that captures every emotion—disappointment, excitement, anxiousness. I want to make music that people can live to.”
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