Killing Time

Cleveland rapper finds inspiration in his crappy life

Nyland the ODS' life kinda sucks right now. The 32-year-old Cleveland rapper can't find a good job because the 14 months of time he did for a burglary a few years ago jams him up every time he fills out an application. He had to drop out of college because he didn't have the money. He's falling behind on child support and might be facing eviction.

But things could be looking up soon. Nyland (who was born Nyland Coughlin Jr.; the ODS part is a play on the word "odious") will drop his third mixtape, Kill It, in a couple of weeks. He's working on his debut album, which is due by the end of the year. He's heading to Rhode Island for X Factor auditions in early May. And he has a new drummer and DJ, who will join him onstage at House of Blues this weekend when he opens for Slaughterhouse.

"All of these experiences are inspiration for my songs," he says. "I'll slow down a song on a day I'm really missing my son or something like that and write a song for him or about what I'm really feeling. Or some days I'm really super-pissed-off and you get a grungy, fuck-the-world kind of song."

Actually, it seems like most of Nyland's songs — which are delivered in a booming voice that says "you don't want to mess with me" — are about his beefs with the police ("Boyz in Blue"), authority figures ("See You All in Hell"), and haters who compare him to other white rappers with chips on their shoulders ("Who Gives a Fuck").

Nyland's career dates back to 2004, when he was a member of the Cleveland rap crew Real Industry Assassins. After some time away, he released his debut solo mixtape, Angels & Demons, in late 2010. The second one, More Than Meets the Eye, came out in January. Along the way, he's picked up fans in the local music scene, including Ray Jr. and Machine Gun Kelly, who are huge supporters of his work.

"I don't set boundaries in my music," he says. "That's the way I get things out. If I hold it in, I'm gonna go back to prison. I'm just gonna blow up. That's the way I vent — through my music."

Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne and members of the Cleveland metal band Mushroomhead will join Nyland on his debut album, The Living Tabloid, which he's now recording. Expect more of the same in-your-face rhymes straight outta his shitty life. "It's a constant struggle, and it keeps coming at me every day," he says. "But I'm not a lay-down kinda guy. Music is the only real hope I have of getting out of this."

FIGHT SONGS: The bands hooking up at this weekend's Ohio Is for Warriors concert at Peabody's have one thing in common: They're from the Buckeye State ... well, most of them are. The two headliners slam at traditional rock & roll from different directions: Cleveland's Affiance whip up some fast and ferocious metal, while Dayton's Hawthorne Heights play that sorta hooky and kinda whiny music that used to be called emo (their second album, 2006's If Only You Were Lonely, reached No. 3 on the national charts). The Findlay-based hardcore band the Plot in You and a couple of other Cleveland metal groups, Skies of December and Fallen Captive, are also on the bill. Bands from Michigan, Illinois, and other states that aren't Ohio will also be there. It all starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday, which every Ohioan knows is right around the time weekend warriors sharpen their axes. Tickets are $15, $12 in advance.

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