Nardo Wick Would Like to Introduce Himself

Nardo Wick has one of 2021's most explosive songs, and co-signs from the world's biggest rappers. Now, he'd like to introduce himself with 'Who Is Nardo Wick?'

Nardo Wick rapper

Nardo Wick. Photo by Shamaal

Nardo Wick rapper

Nardo Wick has had the kind of come-up that can be a blueprint for other young artists. His single “Who Want Smoke?” caught fire at the top of the year, marking him as yet another artist to watch in the bustling Jacksonville rap scene. Then the remix, featuring Lil Durk, 21 Savage, and G-Herbo, became one of the biggest songs of the year. 

The remix’s Cole Bennett-directed video has 54 million views in just over a month, on top of the millions of streams on other DSPs. And while “Who Want Smoke?” was still buzzing, Nardo dropped another potential hit single, “Me Or Sum” featuring Future and Lil Baby, a standout track from Who Is Nardo Wick? which was released Friday.

The album title is a reference to Nardo’s public reputation as a private artist who stays out of the mix. While so many of his peers are oversharing for the internet, Nardo’s disdain for “all that on the phone shit” has helped him radiate an air of mystery that’s rare for 2021. He capitalized on that intrigue throughout Who Is Nardo Wick?, an 18-track project full of gruff, surging tracks like the aforementioned hits, as well as “Alright,” “Play Wit Me,” and “Poppin Out” with BIG30. 

The 19-year-old is well on his way to a successful career, and it all started with a $40 mic in 2019. Nardo has said that he felt he had to get out of the streets in order to give his career the focus it deserved, so he spent the previous two years recording at home (with his dad as his engineer), developing his craft while surfing YouTube and watching his favorite artists speak on the industry. He soaked up game, and now he’s ready to ascend.

We talked to the Flawless Entertainment/RCA signee on the eve of Who Is Nardo Wick? and talked about the project, Jacksonville rap, and the advice Future gave him. The conversation, lightly edited for clarity, is below. 


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Another track that stuck with me was the “Wicked Freestyle.” You included some vocals from kids at the front. Where did you get the idea for that chorus from?

The kids, it was Boi-1da. He pulled up on me at the studio. He had a beat. The beat ain’t sound like that, but I liked the kids part. So I told him how I wanted it to be. And he made it exactly how I wanted it. I told him everything to put in and he did it how I wanted it.

That’s dope. You got signed this year, and you’ve got two big singles this year—one of them is platinum. What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

“Who Want Smoke?” period. Just that whole moment.

How does that feel? How much do you care about certifications and things like that?

Dream come true.

Did you anticipate having a platinum single so early in your career?

I don’t want to say I anticipated it, but I’m not shocked by it.

How did the “Who Want Smoke??” remix come together?

I just knew everybody I wanted on the song. Herbo was the first one on it. He wanted to get on it in the studio. He was like, ‘I got to get on that “...Smoke.”’ He got on it, but that was before [the original] even came out. He just heard it. He wanted to get on it. And right when he did it, everybody was saying [21] Savage would sound good on it. So I DM’d Savage and I told him I needed him on it. He told me to send it to him, and I sent it to him. And then we put Durk on it like two weeks before I dropped it.

You’ve collaborated with several artists that have been in the game for a minute. What’s the best advice that one of them has given you so far?

Future was telling me, “Record. Keep recording.” Like, you can make a sound today and don’t drop it ’til two years later. And even, like, don’t record thinking, “Ain’t no point in recording if I ain’t going to drop it.”

Nardo Wick rapper

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What kind of advice would you give 16 or 17-year-olds who are in the place you were at a couple years ago? 

Keep going, that’s it. And believe. Keep going and do everything strategically and planned. [Also] study and focus.

You’ve said that while you were coming up and developing as an artist, you spent time listening to music and developing your craft. Can you take me into what that process was like? Who were you listening to at the time?

I don’t think I said that, ’cause I ain’t do that. I would look at interviews and shit just to study the game and how they think and move, but I would never listen to nobody’s music. Like, if I listen to music, I’m just listening to it from a fan’s perspective.

Okay. I misinterpreted. So you moreso got game on how to navigate your career?

Yeah. How to navigate, how people think, what to do, what not to do. Shit like that.

Who were some of the people that you were paying attention to during that time?

I would look at Lil Baby for sure. I used to look at a lot of his [interviews]. I really used to look at every interview. Anybody that was successful.

You’ve also said that when you had a creative block in the studio, you would scroll through IG. What is it about that process that inspires your creative process?

They don’t inspire it. It’s just, when I can’t think of shit, I just don’t think no more. And then I come back to thinking. Like, when I’m scrolling through IG, it’s because I don’t want to hurt my brain and just keep thinking on it. So I just go on IG and chill and then come back to thinking.

What was the time span of recording songs for the album? When did you start?

I got songs on there [that are] old as hell. “Wickman” is an old song, like real old. I ain’t never think I would’ve dropped it. I was just making it, trying to perfect my craft. But it was probably, like, a six or seven month span [of recording]. That ain’t how long it took me, but I just made a lot of songs and then we picked which ones was the best.

I’ve heard there was a point where your dad helped your career by helping you get recording equipment. Does he still help with your career or music?

Yeah, he do. He mixed like four or five songs on the tape. And he recorded damn near all of them except about like four of them.

How many of these were recorded at home versus the studio?

Damn near all of them. 14 songs was recorded at the house. My dad recorded them.

Did he have any engineering experience before you started rapping?


What do you think is in store for you in the next year?

More music. More great music. More.

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