One conversation with J. Nics and his laid-back Polar Bear Mack reputation precedes him. So it should come as no surprise that little, if anything, fazes the Miami rapper.
"The type of person that I am, I don't allow people that I can't deal with on a regular basis, or on a vibe like, I fuck with you, around me," Nics says in his mellow, baritone voice.
He also shows no hint of resentment or irritation when asked about the lack of follow-through after the release of December's joint Darkside mixtape with Atlanta-based DJ Burn One.
"I felt like Darkside was a really great project, but I was kind of pushing it in a market that I felt like couldn't really understand it," the rapper explains. "It wasn't a project that you're going to hear, 'Oh, that's that catchy single.' I'm not that artist."
And once Darkside was released, the project quickly faded because of a lack of shows and videos to further promote the mixtape, even though it was generally met with acclaim as another quality opus from Nics.
The rapper admits the project was rushed for various reasons, but some things must take priority over all. On October 4, his daughter and first child, Jamila, was born -- the day before he was to head off to Atlanta for the A3C Festival.
"I was becoming a new father. Music is my life -- I love it, it's my passion. But it was like, let me take some time out to handle my business as a man," he says.
While the birth of his daughter did not directly influence his material, he gives substantial credit to her for providing a different outlook on life, not to mention rejuvenating his drive.
"Just bringing a new life in the world, it's all refreshing," the rapper says. "It gave me that feeling, that passion again. Taking time away from recording, when I got back into the studio, it was just magic."
And revived, Nics took to the studio in May to record what was to become "24/7," the first single off ThreeSixtyFive.
With earlier albums, like The Stimulus Package and Champion Rizla, he says his primary focus was establishing himself as a Southern rapper with real lyrical skill. And he describes SNAS: The Product and Darkside as taking a trip to Africa and back to his roots. But for ThreeSixtyFive, Nics approached his time in the studio with an ease and desire to simply create.
"After Darkside, I didn't want to go into it being so conceptual, because all my products were so conceptual," the rapper tells Crossfade. "ThreeSixtyFive, I went into it wanting to just make music again. Like that feeling of, 'Yeah, I'm just going to go in, experiment and try new things, show my growth as a songwriter.'"
Now, just 120-odd days removed from the starting line, Nics is prepared to unveil ThreeSixtyFive. The official release party will take place on Tuesday, September 17. And the finished slab features fellow Miami rappers Denzel Curry and Kaleem Muhammed, formerly Phresh James.
Now, four months may seem rushed, but the Polar Bear Mack has finally learned to chill a bit.
"Sometimes," Nics laughs, "with doing the rap grind, especially when I first came in three or four years ago till now, you come in with certain energy. It's like you have that innocent child hunger. You don't know where you're going, but you have the energy to do it.
"But making ThreeSixtyFive really taught me, like, Yo, it's cool to take your time and be patient."
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