Nitewing #1 Mixtape – A mixtape inspired by the comic book character Nightwing
If you want to listen to this short mixtape before reading the article you can download it for free by clicking here. Okay, now back to the post.
My love for Nightwing started in 1997 when the cartoon “The New Batman Adventures” came out. The concept of Robin having a falling out with Batman and doing his own thing really struck a cord wit me. Although I had admiration of the character since then, it was subtle for a long time. Then in my adult life in 2012 when season 2 of the “Young Justice” came out and Nightwing was a main character and served as leader of the team I immediately became reconnected with the character. The show was awesome and I gradually became a bigger and bigger fan. I would play with him in the Arkham City video game and the Injustice: Gods Among Us. I started wearing nightwing shirts, I cosplayed as him at an anime convention, I got a nightwing cap, sweatshirt, and other little things. When I joined the Guerilla Poets, my poetry name became Nitewing, I read of few Nightwing comics, and last of all….. I made the Nitewing Mixtape.
The tricky thing about me going through this Nightwing phase has been embracing the nerd/otaku/comic-book culture while still selling myself as a more general or universal rapper. I have never desired to cross the line of being labeled a “nerdcore” rapper cuz I’m not. And anyone listening to it that is expecting it to be very Nightwing specific with pieces about Starfire, Oracle, Young Justice, and his specific adventures will be very disappointed. I wrote the tracks as Dar-1 and not as Nightwing but it is inspired by him.
However, after making a few songs I quickly realized that the Nightwing theme was weak in the mixtape. I needed to do more to bring the theme to life so the next few songs created were more directly inspired by the character (Nitewing’s Comin, Judas Contract, and Collision Course) drawing more from the things that make me relate to him. Last, I found quotes and skits from him from The New Batman Adventures, Young Justice, Teen Titans, and Injustice: Gods Among Us. It doesn’t tell a real story, but it shows some of his experiences and transitions into my songs. It ended up being a little shorter than I initially planned but I had been working on it for a long time and I don’t like projects entering what I consider “development hell” where it seems like it will never get finished. I’m saving future ideas for a Nitewing #2. I have no idea when that will be made, but it will eventually, I have way too many ideas not to eventually revisit the Nightwing theme.
- Nitewing Begins Intro Skit – Robin punches Batman in the face and quits putting him on the path to being Batman. Unforgettable moment in animated DC history.
- Nitewing’s Comin – I always have a hunger to rap fast or rap over some rock influenced track and I got to do just that with a revised version of the Batman Beyond theme. This track also has the only feature. Katrina Flood came through to bless the hook kicking the mixtape off just how I wanted.
- City is Mine – One of my favorite tracks in 97′ (the year I was introduced to Nightwing) this was one of my favorite songs. Biggie had just died and Jay Z made a track inspired by the idea of Biggie passin’ the torch to him to lead the rap game into the future. It was a track I could def identify with and make my own and just seemed to be the right fit.
- Everything I Have – Sword Art Online was a big anime in 2012 and I was very inspired by the show. This was the first true love song I wrote inspired by my current girlfriend and is a piece I am very proud of. This was the first track I ever did over an anime theme so it marks my debut (in a way) into the world of Otaku Rap.
- Judas Contract – I found a hip hop beat on youtube based on the original early 90s Batman: The Animated Series. I couldn’t pass this up. In every medium it’s hard for Nightwing to shine and get out of Batman’s shadow. Therefore, it needed to be represented in my mixtape. The title is a reference to a late 80s teen titans and Deathstroke story also called “The Judas Contract”.
- Let Me Be Wit U – I ended up with a second anime themed love song. I didn’t plan or expect it. I don’t even like the anime Chobits. However, what started as a joke to me of taking some of my most poetic lyrics and fitting it into a catchy theme/pop song actually became reality. This is a more polarizing piece to fans but I had fun stepping out of my normal tone and doing it.
- Collision Course – Linkin Park’s Numb expresses the dynamic of Grayson (aka Nightwing aka Robin) and his relationship with Batman when he first split from him so well that it was a no brainer that I was going to use some version of it. Anger and frustration was a missing emotion from the mixtape and the Nightwing experience and this was the ideal track to let it all out on.
- Walk Wit Destination – To close out the mixtape I wanted to do something that represented growth, maturity, being a hero, and I don’t know. Stuff like that. Although for mixtapes I’m pushing more for creativity and style over substance, I thought a track like this was needed based on all the stuff going on in today’s world and felt the need to flex my conscious rap muscles. The phrase Walk Wit Destination comes from a line in a poem from Guerilla Poets founder Riot.
- Sketchy Podcast Outro – I wanted to include a clip of my guest appearance on my favorite podcast!
Thanks for reading. If you haven’t listened to it yet, download the mixtape for free by clicking here. Let me know what you think!