Abi Nyxx is a name that you might have seen floating around your timelines recently. She’s one of the freshest faces in the North East hip-hop scene, seemingly appearing out of nowhere this year to snatch the crown as queen of the mic.
Turns out Abi literally comes out of nowhere, well… Alnwick to be precise. A small market town in Northumberland famous for its gardens – not its rappers. After seeing Abi’s videos amass thousands of views online, higher numbers than some of the most popular artists in the region, I had to find out more about the unassuming barsmith.
Dragging her 34 miles from NE66 to NE1, we met in Newcastle city centre for a coffee. Accompanied by her boyfriend, another aspiring musician of the singer/songwriter variety, Abi seemed in shock that anyone would want to interview her. This was the first time she’d been interviewed, aside from an online video Abi had done for a rap app called ‘Rap Fame’.
Funnily enough, Abi’s first experience of rapping came through online battle rap apps. After seeing Eminem tear people apart on 8 Mile at 12 years old, Abi was inspired to take to the web and battle people around the world. “I would always lose. You’d just send verses, just audio, back and forth on this shitty website. I was facing like fully grown American guys and constantly losing. But that’s what got me into rapping.“
Abi put her B-Rabbit persona on pause after a year, opting to focus on singing rather than conquering the world of online battle rap. However, after a few years Abi was back on the apps, but this time she started winning. “I’ve lost like one battle and I don’t think I should’ve lost it,” Abi said softly. In fact, Abi might be the most softly spoken battle rapper in the world. “It’s something I’d like to get into in real life, but I’ve just never found a way in yet.”
“On those apps you could upload tracks and stuff. So I ended up just making tracks using my phone with really cheap apps. And that was like my first time making tracks.” Deciding a career in singing wasn’t on the cards, Abi thought rapping would be what sets her apart from a sea of other up and coming female artists that can only sing.
Having only discovered there was a hip-hop scene in the North East very recently, Abi travelled to Newcastle and filmed a video for her track “The Promise” with Shutter Productions. Packed with double time flows and lyrical acrobatics, Abi had turned more than a few heads. Since then her momentum hasn’t let up, with each new video continuing to do big numbers – “The ScapeGOAT” currently boasts close to 40k views on Facebook.
“I’m still surprised at how quickly people embraced my music. I’m just from Alnwick and there’s like five people there and now suddenly people in Newcastle care about what I’m doing… it’s crazy,” Abi said with a bashful tone, very much overwhelmed by the thought of her popularity.
“I never expected ‘The ScapeGOAT’ video to go as far as it did either. 1000 likes, I expected maybe 100 at the most. I really don’t know why it’s struck a chord with people. I’m thinking maybe it’s because it’s like a shock factor when you hear me, because people have certain stereotypes and don’t think I look like I could be a good rapper. It’s understandable, it feels good surprising them. But I don’t like being underestimated, it’s just about proving people wrong I guess…”
Bashfully shy, humble and very unassuming, Abi’s creating her own definition of what it means to be a rapper. In her own words Abi’s ‘just a girl from Alnwick’. That may be so, but Abi also happens to be one of the best up and coming rappers in the region – whether she knows it or not.
Interview by Johno Ramsay