Stephon Ward a.k.a Niccolo Shilo a.k.a Sshabazz:
He is a master of rhythm and poetry and that mastery is put on full display with his new album “VHS.” It’s a nine-song project that nods to the old-school rappers of the 1980s and 90s.
“I’ve studied everything in regards to rap and music and I know that I’m ready to be that artist who makes the next move,” Shilo said. “I want the album to relate to the streets but also show how I’m a revolutionary. I’m very diverse, and I want to signify myself with a message that comes with lyrical abilities. I’m that fire that’s getting ready to come.”
Growing up in less-than-ideal conditions has given Niccolo Shilo a unique perspective on life, which he infuses into his music. Hailing from various parts of the country – including Texas, Colorado and New York – Niccolo draws a lot of inspiration from every area in which he’s lived. His journey as a musician has helped him to develop a sound that brings thought-provoking lyrics combined with an intense delivery. Embodying truth, soul, swag and a raw spirit, Niccolo’s music is the culmination of experiences and trials and tribulations he’s endured.
“Besides the fact that I’m trying to bring a message with my music, I’m also trying to relate,” he said. “I have to become like a few people to get a few people, and as such I’m a changed man. I’ve been set aside and I believe my music can bring light to this dark world. I also want to be diverse and have many tracks that hit different people and let them know I’m here for a new kind of education. My music is up-temp and filled with storytelling. That’s my essence.”
Not only does Niccolo Shilo’s music feel upbeat and inspiring, but it also taps into a wide variety of influences. Though rap is the primary vehicle for his music, Niccolo also brings in sounds from rock, soul, trap and event Gospel music. When he combines those sounds and fuses them into something original, it makes people pay attention. And once he has their attention, Niccolo brings a challenging message through his lyrics – a message that connects with anyone who has a checkered past and who is seeking redemption.
“I want to be known as a redeemed man and I want my image to be a good representation of God,” he said. “But I also want to have that warrior identity. I’m a political revolutionary with a militant side who can use music to make a difference. There are a lot of tracks on ‘VHS’ that showcase my journey, and I think it’s very relatable with a sound that combines that positive image with a street edge and the warrior identity I want to embody.”