Nord1kone grew up just south of San Francisco and received a thorough indoctrination in Hip Hop from his two older brothers – he was a fixture at local record stores at the tender age of five. He continued to explore music through high school, studying various waves and schools of hip-hop as his own creativity simmered. Collecting cutty Bay-area rap tapes put the finishing touches on his own range of influences, and music from Hiero (Oakland), Bored Stiff (San Francisco), Jedi Knight Circle (Santa Cruz), Constylations (San Jose), and Araknophobix (Half Moon Bay) made it clear just what kind of music he wanted to make, hardcore underground Hip Hop, with flavor from the Bay but influence from both east and west coasts. Soon after he was connecting with some of the very same artists he had been listening to, and his own sound began to take shape. A few years later, he connected with LMT. Break and The IMF and together they transformed his constantly-evolving record label idea into a crew, the Outsiders Syndicate.
San Francisco Native, producer and DJ LMT. Break is a traditional, sample-driven beat maker with a small army of drum machines at his disposal. As a young listener he soaked up the production styles of GOATs like Pete Rock & Premier and less-heralded but equally influential creators like D-Styles, El-P and Broadcast. As his vinyl collection slowly grew, he gravitated to the MPC for his first productions and the rest is history. His production style is grounded in the Golden Age but continues to reach out in myriad directions. After stealing the show on stage with The I.M.F. in San Francisco, he was approached by an excited fan who had won tickets to their show; this was none other than Nord1kone. The two exchanged music, and when LMT. Break reached out in hopes of collaborating, Nord1kone was more than ready. Their first recording together yielded their foundational song “Respect The Skills”, which appears on this album in remix form. In subsequent sessions, the chemistry between Nord1kone, LMT. Break and The I.M.F. was obvious, and soon afterwards the three of them made the partnership official with the foundation of Outsiders Syndicate.
One of the signatures of OS is a genuine appreciation for each other’s talents, and over the years this philosophy led more heads to join the fray; emcee Jimmy Beatz, producers MROK and Chef Mike, and recent additions AO Lyrical and Dee-Forth. The “Respect The Skills” project echoes this same spirit, and powerful features from El Da Sensei, Cyph4 and more carry the same ethos. Nord1kone holds it down throughout the 21 tracks, showing range and command as he navigates topics and landscapes. Sonically, the project covers plenty of ground, from the bright and bouncy “Knock Knock” to the dramatic and washed-out “The Concept“, and LMT. Break continually finds new ways to complement Nord1kone’s variety of styles on the mic.
The two-man unit and their close collaborators have continually expressed what an honor it is to be releasing music through Black Buffalo Records and Fat Beats, and are keeping their noses to the grind to get this album in everyone’s ears. Singles and videos have been already been making the rounds, with the latest visual “The Concept” (directed by Saccentric) arriving hand in hand with the album drop. A final video is slotted for November 11, the Nord1kone and The I.M.F. directed “Knock Knock.”
“Respect The Skills” arrives 10.28.22 and is available on 2LP Vinyl, CD and Cassette, as well as in digital form.