Senior Moment

Photo: Jake Chessum

My name is Nyle Emerson, but I like one word—Nyle—like Cher or Prince or Barbra. I’ve put an album out for each year of college I went through. In September, I started thinking about covering this Lil Wayne song, “Let the Beat Build,” and recording it live with a Steadicam zooming all around the studio. So I applied for a $2,000 NYU grant, and got 30 people to collaborate.

Lil Wayne’s version is similar to mine in that it’s a show of lyrical skill. But mine is also a critique of people who say that hip-hop is dead and that the music industry is dying. It took us ten hours and 30 takes to get it right, but within three hours of posting it we were on 800 blogs.

I live with nine musicians and artists in a loft performance space in Bushwick called Lake Johnson. I’m going to continue to throw parties there this summer, and at Bowery Poetry Club, where I have a residency. I want to keep writing about learning my place in the world, and use music as my diary. I don’t know, can guys have diaries?

Nyle’s album Capstone releases June 6 on

As told to Tim Murphy.

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Senior Moment