Since being released in 2008 he has turned his life from guns and drugs to seriously making rap music.
Steven “Knuckles” Nuckolls, born June 9th 1981 at Reynolds army hospital in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. He grew up in Lawton spending time between his parents’ home in the trailer park and his grandma’s house on the south side. He grabbed onto the street mentality and rap music at an early age. As a teen he became involved with drugs and drug dealing. At the age of 21 he was arrested and served 5 years in prison on 2 separate cases. Since being released in 2008 he has turned his life from guns and drugs to seriously making rap music, taking his street name Knuckles to be his stage name.
Knuckles writes and freestyles and enjoys all aspects of the genre. Some of his songs are written from life experiences and are from the heart, some are built off of wordplay and metaphors, while others are simply for the love of rap. He has been rapping since his early teens and has started taking steps into the industry through the persuasive talk of some of his family members who convinced him to take his music seriously. Here in an exclusive, Knuckles gives us a better insight into his world and way of thinking.
- How long have you been in the music game and how did you get started in the first place?
Knuckles: I first started rapping at age 13 but I have only been making music a little over a year. I was convinced by some key family members to get serious.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Knuckles: The first rapper that blew my mind was Nas. The Illmatic album really showed me how lyrical rap music could be. Also the Wu-Tang Clan – 36 Chambers was an early influential album to my music.
- Which artists are you currently listening to? And is there anyone of these that you’d like to collaborate with?
Knuckles: Right now, I am listening to a lot of Oklahoma artists. Jesse Dalton, Take Off, Triston For Dummies, Pappa Payne, Underground Hawgz, Foozy, just to name a few. I am also listening to Madchild a lot, and I would really like to look at collaboration with him.
- Have you suffered any ‘resistance’ or skepticism from within the industry, and if so how have you handled that?
Knuckles: Hell yeah!! I have had a very negative but funny article released by a state level website here in Oklahoma that pretty much tore apart my music video Andyyyy. I just looked at it as free promo. I got 20,000 views in 2 days from that article, as well as new fans, likes, and followers from it. So I tried to turn the negative into a positive and embrace the hate.
- Do you consider video and other audiovisual material an important part in promoting and marketing your music?
Knuckles: Absolutely. My music video is what is gaining me the most attention, even more than performances.
- Studio work or performing live in front of an audience, which of these do you prefer most and why?
Knuckles: Studio. Its just me and the music.
- Tell us something about the beats and music production on your releases. Do you create them yourself or do you work with other Producers?
Knuckles: I work with a few talented producers. Fyu-chur, FoEvabeatz,Sicc Beats inc, Pyro The Don, and Riley J. All of them make fantastic industry quality beats.
- On which of your songs do you think you delivered your personal best performance so far, from an emotional and technical point of view?
Knuckles: 187[Blink] is my best show of my rhyming talent. Speed, delivery, and punchlines.
- Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist?
Knuckles: I am a rodeo cowboy, ex drug dealer, 5 years in prison, hard working, father of 5. I have an interseting view point and stories to tell that can only come from me.
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to stay in this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why?
Knuckles: Love. Simply I love to rap.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Knuckles:I am excited by seeing someones face the first time i play a track for them. I like to surprise people. A radio personality here, Joe Biggs, referred to me as Knuckles The Unexpected, one time and I laughed but it really does describe me well. I like to surprise people. The discouraging thing is dealing with other people in the industry. It seems everyone knows what it takes to make it but no one from here has made it yet. That is frustrating dealing with know it all.
- Tell us something about your songwriting process. What usually comes first the lyrics or the beats? And is your lyrics primarily based on real-life or imaginary situations.
Knuckles: I write to a beat always. I use metaphors and similes to paint a picture of real life through the lenses of imagination.
- Apart from the ability to craft songs and poetry are what other legacies (good or bad) did your 5 year Prison term leave you with?
Knuckles: I have the experience to share with those younger men who may be pointing their lives in that direction. I try to share the truth of what it is like in there with them. I also am an approved D.O.C. programattic volunteer so i can try to make a difference.
- The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
Knuckles: followed – pay for the best producer you can afford. Didnt follow – pay for promotion. I do follow this one now though. lol
- At this point, as an independent artist, which is the one factor you desire most, and feel will undeniably benefit the your future (for example increased music distribution, better quality production, more media exposure, bigger live gigs etc…)?
Knuckles: I feel i need more exposeure. A Lot of people can relate to my music they just have to discover me.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
Knuckles: I think social media is a great tool but I also believe the industry is becoming oversaturated with talent. Nowadays talent isn’t enough to make it. You also need hard work and a little luck.
- Could you tell us something about your latest single, album or mixtape release and where fans can find it?
Knuckles: My First EP was just released. Knuckles Rap Music presents Knuckles – A Bunch Of Bullshit: The EP , and they can pick it up straight from my website www.knucklesrap.com , $6.50 and I will ship it anywhere in the world.
- Where did the name “Knuckles” come from or is it just a play on your last name?
Knuckles: yeah I have been called Knuckles since first grade when the Gym teacher called me by my last name. Growing up on the streets the name Knuckles was me. It was the persona I was and now it’s the persona I use on the stage.
- What do you think is the biggest barrier you have to face and overcome as an indie rapper, in your quest to achieve your goals and wider spread success?
Knuckles: There are so many rappers. That’s it really. The scene is just flooded with talent and I have to find where I fit in.
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to EVER do, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
Knuckles: Join the Illuminati. lol