Nickelus F earned his considerable reputation a few years ago by winning BET TV's "106 and Park" Freestyle Friday rap contests seven times in a row. But the self-described "military brat," a Monacan High School graduate, isn't interested in rap battles anymore. "It's a lot different than making music," the rapper-formerly-known-as-Nick Fury says from his South Side home, which he shares with his girlfriend and 2-year-old, twin daughters. In place of showdowns, Nickelus F. has been issuing a prolific series of challenging singles and remixes on his blog (at nickelusf.com) and collaborating with a host of new-style beat makers such as Ohbliv (see track 10) and Mr. Peter Parker. "No Problemo," an awesome track from Nickelus' forthcoming mix tape, "Faces," showcases the rapper's whirling dervish vocal style and wordplay-as-swordplay panache. "It's a lot more mainstream," he says of his new music. "Soulful but fun ... more inspired."