Altered Beast: Rise From Your Grave

Photo by Perry Lassin

For the first time since 2005, Nico the Beast slowed the assembly line of punishing, technically flawless lines released on a consistent basis to his growing fanbase.  A near fatal car crash in April of 2009, which resulted in the loss of a dear friend, put Nico in a temporary holding pattern.  Nonetheless, five days after the accident and not even two days home from the hospital, he was back on stage with one good leg supporting him, wowing the Philadelphia hip hop community through sheer will. 

The message was clear: not even a brief visit with death would stop him from his passion.  

Barely a month after the accident, he was performing in Miami with The Rap Pack and flew home just in time to witness the birth of his third child and first son Domenic Zarrella Jr.  Though the physical and psychological toll of the trauma hadn’t worn off from the crash, a new child appeared to bring light to a rebuilding man.

Sadly, Domenic Zarrella Jr. passed away without warning, not even 8 weeks old, from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). We all stopped everything.  Suddenly, music meant nothing.  It still has been hard to stay motivated because all our hearts and prayers are with the entire Zarrella family almost five months later. 

Photo by Liz Padova

But the Beast survives and endures.  Though he’s been relatively quiet to the public, he has been laboring away in the studio as always, for therapeutic purposes, sure, but also to prove something: he is never satisfied.  Even recently, before Christmas, another close friend of his passed away prematurely from a rare heart disease (RIP Jamal Thomas).  Death keeps calling, but Nico keeps walking. He has no other choice but to shine for himself, his family, and his close friends who have held him down for years.   

These few tracks give you an idea of what happened recently, and is what happening next to South Philly’s finest rhymer:

Never Stop (prod by Korn Swagger) : A call to arms, a future showstopper, dare we say “anthem” produced by iStandard Producer finalist Korn Swagger of North Philadelphia.

Make Believe ft. Vixion  (prod by Vanderslice) : An introspective converstaion with God on the past year, the aftermath of tragedy still in his sights, with an accent of Vixion on the hook.  Produced by industry vet Vanderslice.

Wake The Beast (prod by Vanderslice) : Right for the jugular.  No bones about it — just vicious “come see me” ish.  Don’t wake a sleeping giant, nor a beast. 

Golden ft. Vixion (prod by Stupid Genius) : An uptempo potential crossover song warning current rappers to stay honest rather than exaggerate to get on.  Produced by iStandard Producer vet Stupid Genius of Miami, who also handled “It’s Your Choice” from No Beast So Fierce.

We at Beat Garden THANK YOU for all the well wishes, prayers, and donations made to the Zarrella family and for your continued support of Nico the Beast’s music.  Make sure you follow Nico on Twitter and check out his Reverb Nation page for more new music!


3 Responses

  1. This was a great article, and yes Nico has been through so much but he keeps going for his family and his passion for music. He has been through so much and most people would have thrown in the towel in but no he is stronger than that and I admire him for all he does. Keep strong.

    Marge (So Philly)

  2. Dom and Christy I love yous so much. You have gone threw more than anyone should have to endure. I am proud to be a part of your life. And I am here. Just call me if you need me. Steve and Big O, I can’t even tell you how much respect I have for you as an artists, people, and true friends/family to the Zarrella family.

  3. My heart goes out to the Zarrella family and Nico especially…Continue to take on this world one day at a time, Yo.

    On another note, I am going to check out this music…

    Anotha Time,


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