“Brooklyn rapper Nyck Caution just unleashed his hard-hitting new project Open Flame via Joey Badass’ label Pro Era Records. With a distinctively New York flair, the EP is a sign of more to come” – Complex
“After crashing onto the rap scene back in 2012, NYCK and Pro Era’s sound has been likened to the golden-era greatness of the ‘90s…NYCK has plans to blend the old, traditional hip-hop with the experimentalism of new-aged rap.” – The FADER
“Open Flame is enough to paint a vivid picture of Caution’s artistry, a promising prelude to whatever full-length effort he ends up concocting” – HotNewHipHop
The pages of a notebook hold the past, present, and, sometimes, the future. Long before joining popular hip-hop collective Pro Era, logging over 10 million streams, and receiving acclaim from Vibe, DJ Booth, HipHopDX, and more, NYCK Caution inscribed his eventual moniker in the pages of a high school notebook. It served as a self-fulfilling prophecy as his raw rhymes and magnetic melodies powered one fan favorite project after another, leading up to his 2020 Open Flame EP [Pro Era/ADA] and forthcoming full-length debut.
“Even before I rapped, I used to write in my notebook, and I scribbled out the name ‘NYCK’ for ‘New York City Kid’ as my alter ego,” he says. “Since I wouldn’t be this person without New York, it fit. My dad used to put caution tape around my head and call me ‘Caution’ too. This is also a cautionary tale. I’m from a neighborhood where people are doing completely different things. It’s a melting pot of opportunities, but you’ve got to choose your path.”
Of Italian and Jewish descent, he chose his path early on, embracing music as a kid in the Brooklyn Neighborhood of Mill Basin. Mom worked as a local school teacher, while pops played guitar for Madonna during her early days and owned a bar in The Village. NYCK’s first album would be the Linkin Park classic Hybrid Theory before he eventually went on to love hip-hop a la Eminem, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, and Kid Cudi. In 2010, he buzzed online with a Drake freestyle.
After performing vocals for a high school friend’s rock band, he caught the attention of late Pro Era co-founder Capital STEEZ. He went from a Pro Era affiliate to a member of the collective. In between solo releases like Disguise The Limit, he guested on influential projects by Joey Bada$$ such as 1999 and All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ in addition to appearing on nine tracks from the Beast Coast debut, Escape From New York (Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers). Plus, he appeared on the RZA-produced A$AP Mob banger “What Happens” from Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy—which bowed at #6 on the Billboard Top 200. He also joined forces with Kirk Knight for Nyck @ Knight, yielding bangers “Audiopium” [3.9 million Spotify streams] and “Off the Wall” [3.1 million Spotify streams].
As he worked on what would become Open Flame, NYCK personally opened up more than never before.
“I want to be transparent,” he exclaims. “I’m making myself vulnerable on these songs to the point where it’s therapy to me. I hold nothing back.”
He introduced the EP with the single “Margot Robbie.” Produced by Statik Selektah [Mac Miller, Freddie Gibbs, Curren$y], airtight bars bob and weave past a slick beat and lush piano. He pays homage to the Duchess of Bay Ridge with one clever line after another.
“Margot Robbie’s a beautiful woman,” he smiles. “When I think of her, I think of The Wolf of Wall Street and New York. It all tied together.”
Elsewhere, he gets confessional on the dark, yet dynamic “Demons Don’t Take Off From Work.” Video game-style keys cut through a glitchy rhythm as he locks into a fiery flow punctuated by A Bronx Tale references on “More Than I Deserve” [feat. Flipp Dinero]. Meanwhile, soulful melodies sway between thoughtful verses on “Slippin Away” [feat. Jake Luttrell] where he’s “just coming from the heart.”
“Open Flame aligns with my name,” he goes on. “It’s basically saying there’s a fire inside. I don’t want to keep it inside anymore. You’ll hear it on this and possibly multiple Open Flame installments.”
In the end, this is just the first page of his book.
“I want people to recognize I’m a full artist who can touch on a bunch of things,” he leaves off. “I don’t have one style. I’m a spitter, but it goes deeper. I’m giving you a bunch of different flavors.”