Meet Nilo Blues, a 20-year-old poster child of the post-internet, low-attention-span, what’s-the-wifi-pw Generation Z. Growing up in the Toronto art scene, Blues drew influences from his upbringing as a Vietnamese-Chinese Canadian living within a distorted western society. Often feeling internally lost and never accepted, he experienced the struggles of self-concept and trying to live beyond stereotypes. These adversities have fueled his creative chi as Blues comes out of the starting gate full of bravado, poise, and conviction rarely witnessed from a new artist.
Today, Nilo Blues shares his debut single/music video “No Risk Involved.” The hip-hop track is an intrepid statement on cultural identity and stereotyping of Asian culture. Jarring and deeply personal, "No Risk Involved" sonically blends N*E*R*D-esque guitars with cold trap drums. Blues proves to be a chaotic architect, fearlessly experimenting and conducting new ways to present his genre-fluid resonance while staying true to his artistic integrity.
In his own words, Nilo Blues says this about “No Risk Involved”:
“The writing process for this song started with the influence of my own experiences growing up in western society as an Asian-Canadian. Growing up, I often found myself lost in the middle of the spectrum between assimilating to fit a model minority mould or sticking to my ‘clique’ & not having any care for external cultural influences. It always made me feel isolated because I never truly felt accepted by anyone and couldn’t fully connect the same way. I hated the fact that I couldn’t speak any of my native tongues, but also hated the idea of being a 'token' Asian guy. I had a lot of resentment build up because of this, and ‘No Risk Involved’ is definitely a huge ‘FUCK YOU’ to that energy. It is a shedding of old skin. I’m at a much better place in my life now, and this song was a way to release all of that insecurity and resentment I’ve built up through the years because of that feeling.”
The single is accompanied by a captivating yet distressing music video directed by angelicamilash with stimulating cinematography by Dennis Grishnin. The bold visual for “No Risk Involved” highlights the exoticizing and fetishizing of Asian female stereotypes within the entertainment industry. Sonically intense with frenzied productions and raucous, self-assured vocals paired with an emblematic narrative reveals Nilo Blues distinct and arresting first impression.
Nilo Blues shares this about the concept behind his music video:
“For decades, we’ve seen how the entertainment industry perceives Asians (if we can even be seen at all) and its degradation of Asian women is not only disheartening but also fucking creepy! I’m tired of seeing Asian women be compartmentalized into playing schoolgirl ninjas with highlights in their hair and Asian men playing nerds with no true character development. The main chunk of the video takes place in an auction of the most popular fetishized Asian female stereotypes within film & TV, and how dated the ideologies of western entertainment is (mainly because of the people who we allow to call the shots). If the video made you feel weird inside, it’s because it’s supposed to emphasize how absurd it all is and make you feel that way.”
Nilo Blues is a multi-hyphenate creative that sings, raps, dances, writes, produces, and acts while drawing inspiration from a wide breadth of source material including Eddie Huang, Bruce Lee, Martin Scorsese, Alexander McQueen, Francis Bacon, and Michael Jackson.