Students and local hip-hop fans from all over Richmond packed Strange Matter Thursday night to see local legend Nickelus F at a concert hosted by the Student Hip-Hop Organization at VCU.
VCU sophomore and hip-hop organization President Rasneek Kochhar said the group wanted to put together a concert in Richmond, and when new leadership took over this semester, they were finally able to make the plans reality. Nickelus F, who has been rapping since 2000, is a close friend to founder of the organization, Arnold Yun. Kochhar said Nickelus F is a big supporter of SHHO, and many members were excited to have him perform.
“We’re all just huge fans of Nickelus F,” Kochhar said. “He’s a great artist, and we’re lucky to have him here.”
Nickelus F is known for being Black Entertainment Television’s “106 and Park ‘Freestyle Friday’” champion seven weeks in a row in 2007, and for his collaboration with Drake on “AM 2 PM.” Drake said Nickelus F is one of the most gifted rappers in finding flows, in an interview with Complex Magazine.
The concert started about two hours later than scheduled, which gave people plenty of time to get excited for the performance. When Nickelus F finally took the stage, he donned a Jack Skellington mask from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and posed for a few pictures in front of the audience. After taking his mask off, he launched into singles from his latest album, “Vices.”
Nickelus F performed songs such as “GotD***Murdah,” “Painkillerz” and “Jet Fuel” to a crowd full of people shouting along with every word. He also performed a few new singles. Since the crowd was only a few feet away from the stage, the rapper often shook hands with attendees. During song breaks, he praised local artists such as Ohbliv and gave personal advice to the crowd.
“You can do anything,” Nickelus F said.
People danced along to every song at the concert, and mosh pits broke out a few times. By the end of the show, Nickelus F and everyone else in the building was covered in sweat. For his last song, the rapper walked into the middle of the crowd and dropped the microphone. After the show, Nickelus F said he felt great about his performance.
“It came out just how I envisioned it,” Nickelus F said. “Thoughts manifested reality tonight.”
Kochhar said the concert was the first time the rapper has performed in Richmond since 2013. Nickelus F said since he does not often perform locally, he wanted the show to be special.
“You just take your time and try to put something together properly for the people,” Nickelus F said. “I think the city needs stuff like this.”
When it comes to collaborating with SHHO, the rapper said he always liked what the organization stood for. Like the organization, he studies the hip-hop game. As a student of hip-hop, the rapper listens to what others had to say and makes sure to take notes. Nickelus F said unlike most artists, he wants his music to sink in with his listeners.
“We’re in a day and age of disposable music,” Nickelus F said. “My music is not disposable … soak up what I’m trying to tell you. It’s real s***.”
With the first event past them, Kochhar said he hopes to spread the organization’s name beyond VCU’s campus and have the group become a prominent part of Richmond’s hip-hop culture.