Nico Lindsay

Selected by: Yemi Abiade

Name: Nico Lindsay

Where He’s From: North London

When He Started: 2004

Genre: Grime

File Next To: Capo Lee, Trim, YGG, Merky Ace

Sounds Like: “High-octane grime preached from a pulpit to a new generation of MCs and fans.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “Rappers like Nas, Mobb Deep, Eminem and 50 Cent I was a big fan of, but what actually made me pick up a book and write was MCs in school or locally known.”

Nico Lindsay is a true grime soldier in every sense of the phrase. Representing Finsbury Park, North London, the 28-year-old MC’s journey is inextricably linked with that of grime’s. He’s been a fixture for much of the genre’s own existence via pirate radio and his own music and the genre is embedded in his DNA. Yet, it feels as though his best years are still ahead of him, which speaks to his endless potential. First sharpening his steel through weekly sets on pirate radio station Heat FM with his crew, Northside, at the tender age of 14, Nico has remained in the trenches perfecting his craft with a number of solo releases and collaborations with grime’s veterans and new breed.

Through his work with cousin Trim, The Last Skeptik and club music maestro Wallwork among others, Codename Lin has exhibited constant evolution, refusing to stay in the grime lane and testing his skills outside of this milieu. Whether on rampant 140+bpm grime, melodic, head-spinning dance music or more methodical, slower hip-hop-sounding beats, it works because his style is so adaptable. Though spitting with precision, Nico’s style sounds like he’s reading from some kind of epic novel, a grime Ulysses or War and Peace as it were. Incredibly conversational and with the poise of an orator, his style allows his lyrics to penetrate the psyche further.

These skills are perfectly showcased on tracks like “False Representation” from 2018’s The Codename Lin EP, “Sky” with YGG’s PK and Lyrical Strally, and The Last Skeptik’s “Another One” alongside Trim. Writing to capture moments in his life—good, bad, and everything in between—Nico is braggadocious and introspective throughout his material, regardless of vibe and tempo. Now capable of making his own beats, his musical maturation continues in plain sight.

Being a child of grime, Nico Lindsay understands its significance on multiple generations of UK music, and the tribulations throughout its life span as a fully-fledged cultural movement. “Grime represents the start of my journey before I wrote or produced any other genre,” he explains. “Grime is what I started with so, looking at it in 2019, it’s had its highs and lows throughout the years and sometimes we love it, sometimes we hate it. But we can’t deny the foundation it developed and is still developing for the new and old generations.” Tireless, enduring and constantly reinventing himself, the best is still yet to come for Nico, a great sign for grime’s continuous upward mobility.

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Posted on April 17, 2019