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Throughout Dr. Martens history our boots and shoes have been worn by an eclectic mix of people, who have fought for and celebrated their individuality. #WORNDIFFERENT NYC is a project bringing together NYC-based artists and makers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to celebrate self-expression with a clash of art and music.

Nigel is a New Yorker through and through. Born and raised in Corona, a neighborhood in the borough of Queens, Nigel has been rapping since middle school. His stage name? Nasty Nigel. The rapper is first on our lineup of musicians performing at #WORNDIFFERENT NYC on December 1st. You’ll have to wait for more details about the event, but for now, get to know Nigel and his relationship with New York City, music, and style.

Nigel wears the 1460 Smooth in Cherry Red.

How did you get into music? 
I started off rapping parodies of existing songs in middle school with my friends and we decided to make original ones. As soon as we recorded and packaged our first effort, it felt like there was nothing else we could do in the world and that was okay with me.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
I would love to collaborate with everyone that owns a structure by Frank Lloyd Wright. Have music playing throughout the buildings and houses while all my friends hang up their art.

What’s your favorite thing about living in New York?
I love that I can be with my family away from the noise one minute, and the other, I’ll end up at the opening of a new, packed art space. At any given moment, you can remove yourself from the chaos.

What advice would you want to tell artists looking to move to New York?
It’s important that when moving to NYC, one shouldn’t expect anything from the city but inspiration and stimulation. Yes anyone can make it here, but it doesn’t fall on your lap. It’s 5x the work load.

What’s your favorite neighborhood and why?
My favorite neighborhood always changes depending on my mood. It used to be Long Island City but as I grow older and the neighborhood changes, Flushing seems like the place for me. It’s far removed from the beaten path and works as a self sustained community. One block is K-town karaoke and the other is classic Italian pizzeria.

Where’s your favorite place to grab a slice of pizza?
Hands down, Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Grab two square slices and enjoy the outdoor seating in the summer before or after hitting Coney Island.

What inspires you?
Traveling the world with my friends, documenting it, and coming back home for a recap is why I do this. I get to speak my experiences into music. I get to DJ songs that I’ve collected along the way. I get to photograph it all. I just love to see my life take on different lives.

How does New York influence you and your work?
New York teaches me to never settle. There is no gold, silver, or bronze. There is just work to be done. I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted to do and I feel like there is more out there. That’s the NY mentality that keeps on pushing me.

Tell us about a memorable New York moment that happened to you.
Throwing the last party of Elvis Guesthouse on New Years with my friends. It was truly a ‘you had to be there’ thing and landed the cover of the arts section in the New York Times. We recorded the whole thing on two camcorders from the late 90s and hopefully we can turn it into something soon.

How would you describe your personal style?
If it fits, if it’s cozy, if it covers my whole body to the point that I can hide in it, it is 100% for me.

Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens.
My first pair were actually handed down to me from my uncle who ’til this day I look up to and is my quintessential “New York Guy”. They’re a pair of beat up 1460’s. I still have them, but I no longer wear them to preserve the legacy that he left us.

What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to continue to create until I’m in my 80’s and even though I lost my touch years ago, I’ll still be praised because “he’s New York” haha.

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