Interview | Bok Nero and Shizz Lo
Fueled with incredible dynamism, Bok Nero and Shizz Lo talked with us about their synergy on stage and in their culture collaborations. The duo continue to share their musical identities, a stage and snacks with one another (they even passed out ice cream bars to the fans). They are both quick-witted, very hilarious together and are really enjoying themselves while performing at the Moonrise Festival.
Just one year after his album Hood EDM dropped, Bok Nero continues to bring light as to what that genre means. To the young rapper, it means the raw sounds of Philadelphia fusing together two genres – Hip Hop and EDM. His confidence, mixed with a fortified type of proud attitude, has gotten him pretty far. If one looks at the features that his debut album scored, the hit-makers that blessed his album range from a sensei like Steve Aoki to the Amsterdam duo, Yellow Claw.
This is quite the freshman album. It even earned him the “Hip Hop and EDM Hybrid You Should Know” title from HipHopDX. It put the proud Philly MC on the map, and he’s determined to continue the grind.
Shizz Lo, a presence himself, has already shared the stage with heavy hip hop veterans from DMX to Common. He has directly supported other EDM producers, from Valentino Khan to Slushii and Party Favor. Anyone can tell that he is passionate about both hip hop and EDM.
If Bok embodies the Nero dynastic name in wanting to create an empire for himself, the ‘Hood EDM’ genre and any collaborators he works with, then Shizz Lo would definitely be his hip hop historian and advisor. Together, they dropped “Hood Anthem” right before their Moonrise Festival performance. The Solar Tent responded very well to the range of sounds for their new song, and they even brought out Yellow Claw to join them.
Wrapping up their performance and chilling in the Artist’s Village, Bok Nero and Shizz Lo talk about their sound for an exclusive Blisspop interview.
Blisspop: What are your thoughts on the growth in your careers?
Bok Nero: I like that everybody just gravitates to our music because it’s raw organic energy. You’re not going to get that feeling that we give you in a lot of other artist’s set.
It’s a sound that we’ve developed in Philly. It’s Philly inspired. It’s something new.
Shizz Lo: I think what’s really great about the sound that we have now is that it isn’t forced.
I grew up in Philadelphia listening to State Property and all sorts of different hip hop artists. This sound kind of transitions. I was always the guy in the club playing hip hop music and at the hip hop shows playing EDM. So it was always kind of like a culture clash until Bok and I started working together and realized that this could work perfectly. We can make Philly-sounding hip hop, arrange it and have drops on it.
Bok Nero: We made it happen.
Blisspop: What do you think about the reviews of the single, “Hood Anthem,” that just dropped?
Bok Nero: We’ve gotten dope responses.
It’s like the dirty little secret you love, but you don’t say it out loud that you love it until someone else says. That’s what Hood EDM is.
Blisspop: So you guys have gotten features with Yellow Claw and Steve Aoki on the last album, how did you feel about putting something like that together?
Bok Nero: When you get, like, Bok Nero vocals, it’s not like I’m only good for one type of sound. That’s the thing, you can play my vocals without the drop, and it will still sound like the song.
Shizz Lo:You’re not getting a dubstep rapper, you’re not getting a house rapper – you’re getting true hip hop vocals. I would say he’s equal to someone like Meek Mill.
Bok Nero: When I’m in the studio creating music with these guys, they’re not giving me beats and I’m working around it. I’m in there because of my knowledge of EDM. I’m telling them how to do it, whether like this or like that. My input is on the beat. My imprint is on the beat along with my vocals.
Blisspop: Right, in some instances, you can get a rapper who hears a producer’s EDM beat and wants to rap over it, or you get an EDM producer who really likes a rapper’s song and wants to remix it. The mix goes together intrinsically for you guys because you are continuously working together.
Shizz Lo: Exactly.
Blisspop: So who here at Moonrise would you want to work with on new songs?
Bok Nero: I think me and Illenium would do something crazy together. That would be dope.
Shizz Lo: As a producer, I would really be interested in Desiigner (he’s the homie) and maybe, like, Blackbear. These are guys I’ve been listening to for years. I would love to make original records with them and give it the Hood EDM twist.
Blisspop: So you guys have quite the vibe, did you grow up together?
Bok Nero: We didn’t quite grow up together but we spend a lot of time together. The chemistry is there. We understand what each other wants to do in the industry. It meshes, like Yin and Yang type shit.
Shizz Lo: We grew up hanging out in the same neighborhood and stuff.
Blisspop: So if you could figuratively pick any artist at all to work with, not just at Moonrise Festival here, who would it be?
Bok Nero: I would want to work with Swae Lee. He’s a really great dude. I met him a couple of times through Steve Aoki. He’s really one of my favorite artists.
Shizz Lo: I’m a big A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie fan right now. I really liked his last album. I feel like our sounds would compliment each other really well.
Blisspop: You now have fans on the East Coast and the West Coast, obviously the East Coast is best – what would you say to your fans here?
Bok Nero: They know the vibes.
Shizz Lo: Our fans, no matter big or small they are, they’re there. They’re coming to Moonrise at 11 o’clock with the ‘Worldwide Nero’ t-shirt on, they got the ‘Ice Cream Club Social’ shirt on.
We definitely are developing something new and different. I feel blessed in just seeing where it goes.
Bok Nero: I feel so grateful. Thank you guys for supporting us and making Hood EDM for what it is because without the fans it wouldn’t grow. It’s growing very fast.