Hip-hop artist Nicholas Gastiaburo, better known as Nasty Nick, has kept many entertained with his bad boy ways and his sexy swagger, I’m sure there are plenty of men on websites similar to twinki who’d be very interested to seeing more of him. This week I interviewed Nick as he releases his new album Lost in the Shuffle. There was a lot to talk about and discover with this out and proud artist blazing his way through the clubs and speakers with his unique, trend-setting music. If you’ve wanted to know more about him or are in search of fresh and original music, look no farther than Nick’s “nasty” little musical world.
Man Crush: If you had the chance to cover anyone’s song, whose song would you remake and how would you make it into your own?
Nasty Nick: Hmmm, one song? I don’t think I could pick just one. I would love to do something from one of Foxy Brown’s albums. Probably something off of Ill Na Na, maybe “Foxy Bells” which is actually a remake of LL’s record. I would make the track my own by simply writing lyrics that apply to me or a situation I’ve been in.
Man Crush: Many popular male hip-hop artists will include lyrics that are derogatory in nature toward gay or bisexual men. What do you think heterosexual rappers could learn from those who identify as gay or bisexual?
Nasty Nick: I think hetero rappers say those things for attention. I know everyone of them has encountered a gay man at some fashion event or photo shoot. It’s like rappers saying “no homo.” I always say to myself, ‘No one asked and since you’re saying it now you seem suspect.’ More importantly, music is music –it’s a universal language in hip hop I don’t think your sexuality should matter. Hip hop is a form of art and expression, so for me, I’m just staying true to the genre and to myself. My advice is that other artists should do that same thing.
Man Crush: What’s a rumor about you that you want to debunk?
Nasty Nick: Hmmm, that’s a good question. I’m not sure what have you heard? [Laughs] I don’t think there are rumors about me. As an artist I’m an open book–so anything you want to know, you put my album on and there you have it. You can’t hide behind yourself. I wear my heart on my sleeve & so far it’s working.
Man Crush: What’s your craziest or at least oddest encounter with a male groupie?
Nasty Nick: It’s funny you say that, just recently I was at Dunkin Donuts before work and a fan, I don’t want to say groupie, ran up to my engineer like “Yo, is that your boy, Nasty Nick or Nick Nasty omg” my engineer is like, “Yeah, go say what up.” Now mind you, this is 7:30 in the morning the line is out the door, people everywhere waiting for coffee or breakfast and he continues on “Oh, I’ve never met a celebrity–would you mind taking a pic?” I said to myself, why not? Then I look around and see everyone staring–but it’s a fan. You have to show love to your fans, so we took the picture and shortly after his friend ran over for a pic too. See I am not a morning person, had this been around 3 in the afternoon it wouldn’t have been odd at all. But in the morning? I was just like ‘Wow! Maybe I should wake up earlier.’
Man Crush: What’s your favorite lyric of all time?
Nasty Nick: That’s a good question, but also a difficult one. I’ve been listening to hip hop since I was about 9 years old, click here to find a great website to listen to hip-hop music. I would have to go with something real generic but true, like BIG said, “More money, more Problems.” As you climb that later people are going to try to knock you down or take your spot.
ABOUT THE MUSIC …
Man Crush: The first thing someone will notice in any press release or write up about you is the fact that you’re openly gay. Have you found that being out has either helped or perhaps in some ways held back your career any?
Nasty Nick: I don’t really worry about the impact it’s had. When I decided to do this it was either all or nothing. I feel like even if people don’t agree with my lifestyle or the things I say on wax, they are going to respect me. You can’t respect someone in hiding, and how could you embrace someone that you don’t really know? I guess time will tell but I’m a hustler–I’ve been on my grind since I was 16, been on my own since 18. I’m not about to let what I do behind closed doors determine what I do in my life, but that’s just me.
Man Crush: In hip-hop or rap, sexuality does play a big part in many of the lyrics and image of the artist. How does your sexuality play out in the music that you make?
Nasty Nick: I’m a Scorpio; we’re just sexual people in general. People tell me I’m sexy all the time. That’s what I like to exude, sexiness. It’s not about being vulgar, I like to say shit that grabs people’s attention but I try not to be too over the top. Like on “Lost Your Shine” when I say, “Is that your man? I might make him mine.” A straight dude can just flip that one word and the lyric is hot. On “Club to the Bedroom,” a collaboration with Anna Monroe, the record insinuates we would be together even though I’m gay it’s entertainment and to me, that’s what it’s about. I don’t need to get into the specific things that happen when I’m in the bedroom. No no no.
Man Crush: Do you ever feel the need to sing about things other than your sexuality?
Nasty Nick: Yes. At the end of the day, we’re all human, we all experience the same emotions even if for different reasons. I have introspective records where I give my listeners a piece of me or my views on the world. I have my part records and then I have my straight hip hop records where I’m just killin’ the beat with some fly ass lyrics.
Man Crush: Where does the name of your album Lost in the Shuffle come from?
Nasty Nick: Another good question. I think the title represents a lot of us in the gay world. From coming out, accepting ourselves, our sexuality and then hoping people accept us, I think at times we lose ourselves. Seeing hate crimes and those horrible things that happen each and then the flip side, the good things like having gay marriage in 7 states. I know sometimes I get caught up in the news and everything that’s going on in my world so to me, I’m lost in the shuffle–moving forward of course–but somewhere up in the mix.
Man Crush: I think when many think about music and gay artist, dance or pop comes to mind. What draws you to the hip-hop genre?
Nasty Nick: I’ve been an avid hip hop listener since I was 9 or 10. I was very close with hip-hop legend Foxy Brown for years. To me, her music was just so raw, precise delivery. I wanted to emulate that level of confidence she had and create something of my own and that’s what I’m doing. Foxy and I are still cool, we’re just moving in two different directions but whenever I need some inspiration I know where to go. When you listen to my album you will hear what separates me from other artists. I’ll make you dance, I might make you cry but that’s the beauty of music: it has a different impact on every listener.
Man Crush: What do you hope to accomplish through your music?
Nasty Nick: A lot. I’m looking to fill a huge void in the game. It’s no easy task, but being great is never easy. Representing the gays in hip hop is one thing that I am looking to accomplish, but for me, the sky is the limit. I love music, fashion; entertainment so if my music creates a platform for other avenue’s the accomplishments could be endless.
GETTING PERSONAL …
Man Crush: Many may know you only through your tweets. So pretend you’re filling out the bio section on a Grindr or dating profile: how would you describe yourself?
Nasty Nick: My tweets, I’m a bit more animated on Twitter than I am in my everyday life. It’s fun, but lets see, how would I describe myself … is this a trick question? No, I’d say I’m fun, outgoing, passionate, opinionated, sassy, sexy, smart and attractive. Now that I sound completely conceited, can we go on to the next question?
Man Crush: Thanks to the Jersey Shore many probably have a distorted view of what the people of your state are really like. What’s it really like being a true Jersey boy?
Nasty Nick: Well, I’m really a Shaolin (Staten Island) boy; I’m New York all the way. I live in Jersey now, but it’s hard to depict a Jersey boy or a Jersey girl. The Jersey Shore is not a representation of New Jersey or New York, it’s really just a depiction of a group of people (mostly Italian’s) that love the Jersey shore–partying, getting drunk and having sex. I do like a lot of those things, but Nasty Nick does not Fist Pump! That’s another thing that confuses people about me: people always think I’m Italian. I’m mixed–Puerto Rican and Irish and even though I grew up with tons of Italians in my neighborhood, in my house we didn’t have Pasta on Sunday’s. My up-bringing was a bit different, I do love some Penne Vodka though, shout out to my Italiano’s!
Man Crush: You chose to release Lost in the Shuffle on February 14, a day all about love and relationships. How has your own experiences with love and relationships shaped you as a person? How has it come to play out in your music?
Nasty Nick: I released the album on Valentine’s day for multiple reasons which I will get into in a second. Personally, I would love to be in a relationship even though I am single . I don’t believe in settling though–that’s the key. I need to be with the right one, and until I meet him I am happily single. One of the reasons I chose to release the album on Valentine’s day is because I’ve been putting so much work into this album for the past few months, it’s become my primary relationship, it’s almost like a woman having a baby–this became my priority, my baby.
Man Crush: Many hip-hop artists seem to emerge from some struggles or adversity. What difficult events or obstacles have you faced in your past that’ve brought you to where you are today?
Nasty Nick: Wow. I’ve been through a lot of different things and suffered a lot of losses. I think just living on my own since I was 18 was enough for me to write an album but of course there were also a ton of other things that occurred since then. Most recently I suffered the loss of my Grandmother. She was such an inspiration to me and I made a promise to myself and her that no matter what I decided to do, I was going to give it 100% so here we are.
Man Crush: Make your case to your gay audience as to why they should listen to your music as opposed to the expected top 40 Billboard artists? Would you use the same argument or selling point to convince non-gays to listen to your music?
Nasty Nick: My case for the gay audience is simply this: First, how many other gay artists are there? And if they are gay, are they writing their own music? I give my fans my blood, sweat and tears. My album is real from start to finish and I’m sure I’ve encountered or have been in similar situations as most gay men. The difference is I’m not afraid to talk about it, and I refuse to let someone tell me what to say. No censorship here.
Would I use the same argument for a non-gay audience? In a sense, yes. Either way, my story is real and even though someone can experience something completely different that my experience the way I handle a situation or even addressing the situation can inspire someone else to help them with their situation.
Man Crush: Whom do you currently have a man crush on?
Nasty Nick: Easy. Trey Songz, he is gorgeous–even straight men envy Trey, so who can be mad at that?