It’s 10:33 am in vibrant and colorful Condesa area in Mexico City. You can feel the people’s energy and charisma as they eat late breakfast at a “Comida Corrida” restaurant.
El NH, whose birth name is Donovan Valdovinos, sends me three text messages in a row.
“1 min away”
As he shows up, he doesn’t cease a powerful eye contact as he shakes my hand and apologies for being only three minutes late.
“So sorry. I’m all about punctuality. Was just finishing a writing session and some lyric ideas randomly started coming so I wanted to make sure to put them on paper before running here.”
Me, finding myself legitimately surprised over his cordiality and politeness which completely differs from his raw rapping and intense lyrics in “Negro Nahual Sessions” just become more interested about him and his creative process.
He orders breakfast for us and insists that it’s on him.
I ask him about his song “Feel It Again”, which encompasses lyrics both in English and Spanish with a Chris Brown-ish melodic style as well as semi-influenced Jay-Z beats.
“I love all music. Music is in my soul. He laughs: I might’ve been rapping before I was even talking as a toddler”. That being said I do lean more on Latino music. My main influences in my music are Nach and Cancerbero in terms of lyrics and Orishas in terms of music and structure. You can pretty much see it in “Feel it Again’s” chorus. It’s melodic and strong yet poppy at the same time. The less I label genres the more fun I can have with how me and El YucaMx (his producer) tweak around and have fun with the creative process.”
We finish breakfast. He pulls out a 50 Pesos bill just for a tip and shakes my hand in a very enthusiastic manner. God, I love Mexican artists.
EL NH’S upcoming single comes out March 30th in Apple Music and Spotify.
Photographer: Javier Soltero