St. Louis-based rapper and Nappy Boy Entertainment artist Nando STL has made significant strides in the music industry since his debut in 2018. With a unique blend of soulful melodies and socially conscious lyrics, Nando's style is a fresh take on today's hip-hop. The rapper's ability to rock the mic also comes with the openness to discuss mental health in his rhymes.
Since signing with T-Pain's Nappy Boy Entertainment, his career has seen impressive growth and a surge in his fanbase, making him an artist to watch in 2023. Nando just released his debut album Y.O.T.A. last week, so get to know the Nappy Boy artist, from his musical beginnings to his using his art as his own form of therapy. Here's everything you need to know about Nando STL.
Nando STL, real name is Fernando Tillman II, grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. During his childhood, he was raised by his father and grandparents. Nando's musical influence came early, beginning with playing piano and drums. The artist attributes his early talents to time spent playing in the church while growing up. Nando would also play these instruments for R&B and Gospel groups as well. The rapper's talent for drums seemingly runs in the family, as his family on his father's side owns an African drum shop in Chicago.
"They owned an African drum company, where they taught African dance and drums," he says. "And the first time I went there, I attended one of the classes and was like beating on African drums and never stopped beating on stuff since then. They bought me a drum set when I got back, so I stopped beating on tables."
Meeting T-Pain & Signing With Nappy Boy
While studying at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, Nando STL would use music as a form of therapy. After starting to take his rap career seriously, Nando got his big break in February 2022. The rapper would participate in T-Pain's March Madness contest, a weekly competition hosted on the Twitch gaming app. While Nando STL would not win the competition, his contest performance still caught T-pain's attention, who saw potential. The resulting friendship and business relationship between the two led to T-Pain signing Nando to Nappy Boy Entertainment. Since joining Nappy Boy Entertainment, Nando STL has released several successful singles, including "Loud" and "Y.O.T.A.," featuring T-Pain and Young Cash. His debut album, also titled Y.O.T.A (Year of the Ape), was released on May 19 to acclaim.
"Getting signed to NappyBoy showed me that the world is bigger than St. Louis," said the Nappy Boy artist in an interview with St. Louis Magazine. "There's a blueprint to being a successful artist... It's like if you want to go to the NBA, you go to a really good D-1 college and all the scouts come to see who they'll pick to go into the draft. I think St. Louis is like a D-3 school-we're a very small school that a lot of scouts don't come to, even though we have a lot of good talent."
Influences & Musical Style
Nando STL says he finds influence in Gospel music and live music. He is inspired by many artists, including Nelly, Chance The Rapper, Bone Thugs N Harmony, and Maxwell. His songs often reflect his experiences, thoughts, and emotions, touching on friends, family, shortcomings, and relationships. The artist's socially aware lyrics go hand and hand with his soulful style.
Emphasis on staying true to himself and his music is crucial for maintaining the support of his fans, who have been with him since the beginning of his journey. With his new success, his music is still a form of therapy, using songs like "Weakdays" to share his struggle with depression while navigating life's challenges. Nando STL can provide listeners with an honest and relatable account of his experiences that keeps fans feeling close.
What's Next For Nando STL?
With his debut album released and ongoing collaborations with T-Pain and Nappy Boy Entertainment moving forward, Nando STL is poised for a bright future in the music industry. As he continues to develop his unique sound and grow as an artist, there is no doubt that Nando STL will continue to make waves in the hip-hop scene. His partnership with T-Pain and Nappy Boy Entertainment has provided him with opportunities and support, helping him achieve his goals in the hip-hop world. Ultimately, perseverance and commitment to one's craft will make the journey worthwhile for the artist and fans alike. As Nando STL continues to grow and evolve as an artist, we can expect to see even greater things from this talented musician in the coming years.