The Salt Lake hip-hop scene is alive and growing. Come to this month’s SLUG Localized to see two of the most experienced artists in the scene: Snicks and Nostalgic90s, along with opener PrettyboionDaBlock. The event will take place on July 21 at 7 p.m. at Urban Lounge (tickets are $5). SLUG Localized is sponsored by Uinta Brewing and Riso Geist.
Snicks, a local rapper who has released several projects ranging from mixtapes to EPs to albums since 2017, has a dream. “I’m a young man coming from Salt Lake in the Rose Park area and I’m here to be the voice of my people—the voice of reason for everybody who doesn’t have the opportunity to say so much,” he says. Some of his influences include “OG’s” like 50 Cent and The Notorious B.I.G., as well as newer artists such as Migos and Chief Keef.
Snicks says what makes his sound unique are the word flows, bars and the fact that it appeals to what listeners are used to from major streaming artists with added, underground flare. “It’s relatable in the city sense, but also on the major scale, too,” he says. The lyrical content of his songs depend on the vibe of the beat, but consistently deal with Snicks’ perspective on everyday events and the consequences that come from them. “I mainly get inspiration from my life experiences and the other people around me,” he says. Snicks used to write down lyrics before recording, but now he prefers just going into the studio, listen to the beat and freestyle. “I like keeping it fresh and just seeing whatever I feel through the emotion,” he says.
“[It’s about] trying to shift that mindset of what people really think about hip-hop music, because not everybody is alert to the music we make.”
Snicks plans on dropping an EP this month to match the summertime vibes, and then a mixtape later this year. “In these next projects, I’m getting more personal with the music so the fans can get a more unique understanding of me as a person,” he says. Snicks aims to make music that is purposeful and motivational but also packed with creativity and versatility, which he hopes listeners can be inspired by. “I hope they get a therapeutic freedom of expression from my music,” he says.
According to Snicks, a big reason rap music is often overlooked in Utah—both by music venues and potential fans—is because of the misinterpretation of hip-hop culture. “People got the wrong concept of rap music. When you hear about rap music, most people think that it’s ghetto [and that] it’s coming with problems, but it’s really not,” he says. “Nowadays, I feel like the majority of kids just wanna be at a place where they can listen to and make music that they already do on their own, but still get the vibe where they feel comfortable and accepted in the community.”
“I’m a young man coming from Salt Lake in the Rose Park area, and I’m here to be the voice of my people—the voice of reason for everybody who doesn’t have the opportunity to say so much.”
Snicks says that the culture has started to shift in recent years, though. “Since the state is growing at such a rapid rate, all the diversity coming in is making everyone get more into other cultures [and] it’s forcing all the closed-minded people to be more open to change,” he says. To Snicks, there are already plenty of talented hip-hop artists in the Salt Lake area, including PrettyboionDaBlock, KHunnid.9000 and Ceefoe. In order for the hip-hop scene to continue growing, he believes it’s important to hold events to highlight these artists, such as the Alleyways Amplified concert that he performed at this year. “[It’s about] trying to shift that mindset of what people really think about hip-hop music, because not everybody is alert to the music we make.”
Most of all, Snicks is happy to continue making music that he’s proud of as he paves the way for the up-and-coming Utah hip-hop community. “The major thing that I feel the Utah [hip-hop scene] is missing is coming together as a community—once that unity is set, there’s no way to stop us,” he says.
Read more from Andrew Christiansen:
Local Review: Columbia Jones – I’m Fine
Alleyways Amplified: Highlight the Utah Hip-Hop Scene