Spike Lee would be proud that up-and-coming hip-hop duo Nola Darling borrowed their namesake from the lead character of his debut film She’s Gotta Have It. Rhymers Nikkobya and Aziza came together as the ladies of Nola Darling in 2007, and in the short time since then, have fine-tuned a sound different from most female emcees on the scene today, one that reflects their appreciation for hip-hop history as well as their interest in world beats and sounds.
The ladies of ND are masters of their domain, throwing an arsenal of quick-fire rhymes and smooth crooning choruses at their audience. Their first mixtape, “Nola Darling’s Pretty-Gritty Mini Mixtape” saw production from heavyweights like Melo-X and LP the Chemist, and mixed old-skool-esque beats with neo-soul sounds and the freshest of dancehall riddims. The result is an innovative sound matched only by their sharp, funny rhymes: “Two things can’t stand about a man/ Pride and your arrogance/Don’t wanna kiss me don’t wanna hold my hand/ You wanna be like HOV-y and that’s the plan/ Beyond a Reasonable Doubt you don’t understand/ Where I came from or who I am.” Make no mistake, Nola D is definitely representing for the ladies out there!
Their quick-witted rhymes have landed them guest spots on mixtapes with the likes of B.o.B, Mickey Factz, and 88 Keys, and features in XXL, Digiwax, and WAH magazine among others. The ladies don’t sleep on fashion either, they rock everything from vintage dresses to Jordans on stage, and have been styled by Dominique Dawson in a series of super cute photo shoots any M.I.S.S girl can appreciate!
We had the privilege of chatting with the ladies, and are bringing you the exclusive peak inside the world of ND.
M.I.S.S: Who are Nola Darling’s inspirations, both musically and visually? What influences your sound?
ND: Visually: Magical Realism, Michel Gondry, Jeff Koons, Yoshitomo Nara, Romare Bearden, Gordon Parks, Roy DeCarava, Raoul Peck, The Maysles Brothers, Haile Gerima, and our homegirl Delphine Diallo. Musically: Ella Fitzgerald, Manu Chao, Gil Scott-Heron, The Fugees, Zap Mama, Black Star, P-Funk, Fania All-Stars, Edith Piaf..etc…we could go on forever! Our sound is largely influenced by our Pan-African roots and what we both grew up listening to: strong Hip Hop influences with equally heavy doses of Jazz, Soul, Kompa, Roots Reggae, and Dancehall. We’re influenced by the stuff we read (Shout outs to Edwidge Danticat, Paulo Coelho, NY Times, Rest in Power Octavia Butler); the bills we pay…or try to..(What up Con-Ed? Catch us if you can, Sallie Mae!); the places we’ve been and the places we’re going.
M.I.S.S: You guys have worked on some great mixtapes, with some hot up-and-comers in the industry (Charles Hammilton, 88 Keys, etc). Who would you most like to work with in the future?
ND: Future collabs dream list: Steel Pulse, Michael Jackson, Brazilian Girls, Herbie Hancock, Femi Kuti, Teena Marie, Klymaxx (if they ever get back together!), N-E-R-D!!
M.I.S.S: How important is fashion to you guys? Stylistically, who inspires you?
ND: We love fashion! But it doesn’t define who we are. We think fashion should be fun and it’s not fun when it’s taken too seriously. Do you…whatever that is and however that might look! Alex: Cleopatra, Carmen Miranda, Donyale Luna, Marilyn Monroe, Hilary Banks, Rosie the Riveter, Lisa McDowell (Coming to America), Jaq: Selena Quintanilla, Marcia the Dancehall Queen, Tank Girl, Betty Davis (ex-wife of Miles), Sabrina Salerno, The Runaways, Jen Brill. A special shout out to our homegirl and resident Rude Gal Fashionista, Dominique Dawson aka Ms. Madheart (BangPopFoto/ Madheart/Je M’aime).
M.I.S.S: Tell us what’s coming up next for Nola Darling, and where the fans can catch you!
ND: Our next show is on June 24th at the Viper Room with the 87 Stick Up Kids. Up next for us are a few mini-projects (shh!) that will be dropping over the course of the summer/fall. Can’t wait to share with the world!
These emcees are definitely on the warpath to conquer the hip-hop scene with their unique sound and look. Enjoy their latest video, “That Nola D” (a remix of the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow”) a sonic and visual feast for your ears and eyes!
- We Got The Beat: Nola Darling’s “Pretty Gritty Mini Mixtape”
- M.I.S.S. TV: Nola Darling at SOBs in New York
- Women Making History: Jaq & Alex of Nola Darling
- We Got The Beat: Nola Darling (Part Two)
- M.I.S.S. TV: Nola Darling Photo Shoot – Behind the Scenes