Nick Cannon has a “nerd arm”. At least that’s what he calls it, sometimes referring to it as his “bio-chem arm”. It’s his left arm, pieced by ink that is a cross section of Sci-fi meeting True Romance. “It’s like a whole bio-chem machine piece on my arm, and it has everything from like the flux capacitor from Back to The Future on the back to a Nintendo controller on the front,” he explains. “It also has my company logo, NCredible, on my forearm.”
The sentiments carry into other dimensions, as well. “There’s a heart, like a digital heart and it’s to mock the [phrase] ‘wear my heart on my sleeve.’ I got like a chained fence with some eyes looking through it, and then it says ‘Fearless’ on my shoulder blade, and then on the back of my shoulder blade, it says ‘Romantic,’ so it’s ‘Fearless Romantic.’ “While it feels like his arm’s ink is in direct contradiction to itself — considering one part is stoic robotics and the other is stark emotion — that’s kind of Cannon’s whole multidimensional being.
The actor/rapper/father cut his teeth as a teen on Nickelodeon’s career-making sketch comedy show All That (the show that also brought us Keenan Thompson and Amanda Bynes) before landing his own series The Nick Cannon Show. Nick literally was his network. From there, he went to star in films like Drumline and Rollbounce, while simultaneously forging a career as a rapper.
He’s always had his hands in multiple pots. His series Wild N Out will celebrate it’s ten-year anniversary this year, making its mark as the last standing Hip-Hop inspired sketch comedy series since In Living Color and The Lyricist’s Lounge Show.
“It’s just something I created and something that I had a vision for,” he says. “I wanted to just fulfill it and so to see it reach ten years, it’s like, wow! You started with your baby and you watched it grow and you watched so many peoples’ careers blossom off it and people get opportunities.”
The show helped ignite the careers of comedians like Katt Williams and Affion Crockett, but it also validated Cannon’s place in Hip-Hop. While the show took a hiatus after 2007 and returned in 2013.Nick added the element of Battle Rap, placing battle rapper Conceited in the cast just in time for the Battle Rap culture to subtly move into the mainstream.
“I’ve kind of always taken pride in myself being a curator and a tastemaker in that sense, so it’s just that I was paying attention and knowing what was going on,” Cannon expressed. “I felt like that would elevate the show, so we will continue to push things in that direction and hoe finds movements and jumps on them minutes before they’re hot.
Take his spot hosting America’s Got Talent, a show he calls a “pleasant surprise” as it hits the nine-year mark on television. With his own tv production company, Cannon currently has seven series in production, including one coming to BET. His entertainment company Ncredible is still churning out talent, including Dancehall act Kreesha Turner. Nick has a lot going on. “I think my ADD kicks in and actually helps me multi-task,” he jokes.
While 2015 is all about beginnings, the prior year brought some things to an end, mainly his six-year marriage to Mariah Carey. Cannon has Mariah’s name tattooed on his back, but it’t no longer visible after eight seven-hour ink sessions. Don’t call it a “cover up” though.
“It’s always going to be there and it’s not anything that I’m ashamed of. It’s a famous tattoo. The world has seen has seen it and i’m still proud of it,” he says of his “Mariah” tattoo. “I just feel like now I’m at a different point in my life, so I feel like instead of saying I covered it up, I added to it. By adding to it, I just added other things that mean the world to me. I added my spirituality with the Bible verses, the Crucifixion on the Jesus cross and my two children as cherub angels on each end, so it’s kind of like really what my journey has been during my life up until this point.”
[Recently Nick posted a photo from this shoot on his Instagram with the caption: “Take a picture… it lasts longer!!! #HereYouGo #ClearPic #Ncredible”. Within minutes thousands of people began to comment on the fact that in spite of the detail and intricacy of his current back tattoo if you look hard enough you could still see his previous work. After several hours Nick responded to all the chatter with the following: “For everyone who keeps saying you can still see Mariah, it’s on purpose. My art represents my journey. I could’ve easily had it removed. But she will forever be apart of me and in my life. She blessed me with our 2 Angels, life’s greatest gifts. “I don’t have regrets…I make adjustments.“]
Music, movies, and more ink. Nick Cannon is geared for a big year. “It’s funny because everybody keeps saying ‘good guy turned bad’ because of the tats and everything.” he says, “but I see it more like, this new year is just bringing new beginnings and transitions. I’m actually really excited, not just about my personal life but because my career is going to such a level. There’s so much completion, but it’s so many new beginnings.”
So, all and all, and regardless of what anyone says, he’s still “all that.”