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  • Writer's pictureWyatt Kassin

Niko Brim "Hard To Believe" (Official Video)

Who is Niko Brim?

Niko Brim, a 23-year-old rapper and son of ’90s hip-hop stylist Misa Hylton-Brim and V Records CEO JoJo Brim. Like Ms. Lee, he’s also finding unique ways to uplift Black culture. His latest single “Hard to Believe” speaks to systemic racism, his weeklong Instagram Live show “Power Hour” debuting today (June 19) spotlights Black movers and shakers, and his new customized Nike Air Force 1 sneakers elevate Juneteenth as not just a notable date but a pathway to longterm freedom. Plus, the Sierato-designed kicks give Ms. Lee a much-needed upgrade for her shoe game.

Brim: I think that that’s imperative, it’s so important. It has to be something that’s done, and I feel that anybody who rises to that much social impact, and you’re able to make change, you have to take into account the inherent responsibility that comes with it. If you’re not able to really have 50 million people following you or have this type of outreach, if you’re not willing to be responsible, then you completely defeated the purpose of reaching all of those people. Even with my music, I just dropped a single “Hard to Believe.” …But that was something that I wanted to do to utilize my platform and really share a message and take a page out of this book of truth that America has, that the rest of the world doesn’t even know about. That was a way for me, through my music, was to share that with people. Because I feel like all the great music, it’s a conversation starter. It may not tell you the end all be all, but great music always leaves you with something that you can sit with and that you can ponder on. So I was just trying to do something like that.

What artists do you both look up to because their music stands the test of time and has always spoken about this?

Lee: I’m a Duke Ellington person and I like Prince! Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne… I go way back with those people. And that music was so fun. Ooh wee! And it had so much meaning too…. [Billie Holiday] sang that song about “Strange Fruit.” It took me a long time to understand what she was talking about. And she was talking about in the South, there were men being hanged, and she was saying it was strange fruit. Brim: For me, I love Bob Marley. I feel like he’s someone who’s always representing…. 2Pac absolutely… and I even say Nas also is another one who’s very pro, like he always stood for it. Kendrick [Lamar] and J. Cole. I think Kendrick for me, he’s made like some of the biggest statements around politics in the music. And so I definitely feel like there are artists out here that still keep the ball rolling and even with Noname. I think Noname does a dope job. I think Joey Bada$$ does a great job.

Photography by Kylie Rebecca

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