By this point, hip-hop heads all over the world are familiar with Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era. But the Brooklyn crew has more than one quality MC in its ranks, and rapper Nyck Caution is out to let the people know. Growing up in Brooklyn’s Mill Basin neighborhood, Caution picked up hip-hop as a hobby, with Eminem and 8 Mile in particular as a main influence. As a teenager at Edward R. Murrow High School, he met a group of kids who would turn that hobby into something much bigger.
“When I was younger I was always just like rapping and shit, not seriously but just to fuck around,” he says. “And then when I went to Murrow, I met Joey and everyone and everything just started falling into place.”
Caution began recording at a local studio in Mill Basin when a chance performance at a friend’s show at the Knitting Factory put him on the radar of Capital STEEZ, a local MC who Caution had met in their geometry class as a freshman in high school. The two began working together and Nyck Caution signed on with the new buzzing crew Pro Era. As Joey’s breakout mixtape 1999 began to take off, Caution re-evaluated what he was doing, dropped out of Brooklyn College and devoted his time to hip-hop.
“I was the newest member, so I felt like I had something to prove and I had to really step up to the plate,” he says about when Pro Era began popping. “I didn’t want to just be overlooked because I was the newer dude. And at that time I just started really going hard with it.”
STEEZ’s death at the end of 2012 was a blow to the crew, but they regrouped with a pair of collective projects, helping to establish more members as solo talents and individual artists in their own rights. As Pro Era’s only white member, Caution knew that he stood out, but he didn’t want his race to define him. “I think that’s automatically like, ‘Oh shit, who’s that white dude?’” Caution says about what sets him apart. “That’s a visual thing that people pick up. Then it comes down to, I feel like a lot of white rappers have a corny edge to them. That shit doesn’t go further than college. I don’t have a gimmick or anything like that, I just think that people feel what I say. I’m really sayin’ shit that’s coming from my heart. I’m not just saying bullshit.”
Caution released his debut project Disguise the Limit in 2016 and has become an integral part of Pro Era’s rapid expansion. The project features Joey Bada$$, Kirk Knight, Metro Boomin, & more.
July 2017, Caution released a collaboration project with fellow Pro, Kirk Knight, called Nyck @ Knight. Look out for Pro Era’s latest breakout artist on the rise.