Issue 53 (2003)
If you’re familiar with Mobb Deep then you’ve probably heard of Big Noyd. Growing up in Queens Noyd was friends with Mobb Deep production wiz, Havoc before moving to Brooklyn for a short period of time. On his arrival back to Queensbridge Mobb was already hard at work planning their entrance in the game with their oft forgotten debut album “Juvenile Hell.” During the time Mobb was getting on Noyd was dedicating his time to writing rhymes and kicking raps at talent shows and the like, writing down Rakim and Big Daddy Kane lyrics, but he never thought about shining off of rapping or trying to get on. It wasn’t until some creative encouragement from a close friend, Twin, that he seriously thought about putting his flows to the test.
“I had a real good friend, Twin a.k.a. Scarface god bless the dead, who I always rhymed to and chilled with” recalls Noyd. “He used to be like son you gotta kick your rhymes to Mobb Deep them niggas is getting on and going to the studio. I was like nah that ain’t really me I just do it for the fun of it, but then he was like fuck that if you don’t rhyme for them niggas we fighting, just joking around. So I was like fuck it I’ll do it and I kicked a rhyme to them one day and we actually went up in D&D studios and that was the first joint I did with Mobb Deep.”
The track, “Stomp Em Out,” would be the beginning of an everlasting partnership between Noyd and Mobb Deep, but it would be their sophomore effort, “The Infamous” that would establish the crew and put Noyd on the map. Noyd played an integral part on the album dropping verses for several songs including the memorable a cappella recounting a tale of facing multiple court cases on “Just Step (The Prelude)” and playing the role of gun shot victim on the “Grave Prelude.” While both were fabricated tales of drama common on the streets, life would soon find itself imitating art.
“We came up with concepts based on each individual,” explained Noyd. “If we would have made an interlude about getting all the girls it probably would have been Havoc and if we were making an interlude about somebody being the Head Nigga in Charge it would have been P. At the time if someone was getting shot or doing the shooting that would be my role, so when we came up with the concept of somebody shooting or getting shot it was like that’s Noyd’s role so we gonna be like get Noyd get Noyd he just got shot! It’s so fucking crazy because it was like the biggest jinx in the world. I never been shot and I fucking did that skit and I swear to god not even a month later I wind up getting shot. My mother to this day hates that interlude.”
Content with his role as the honorary third member Noyd continued to tour with Mobb and had another strong performance on their third album, “Hell on Earth,” but it wasn’t long before labels started knocking at his door to sign a solo deal. After one particular show Noyd was approached by a label representative who offered him a deal from Tommy Boy. Immediately building off the buzz from Hell on Earth he began working on his debut album, “Episodes of a Hustla,” in 1997. Everything was in place for a huge jump off, but once again the streets came into play and altered the course of Noyd’s career. Although he had a deal and was on his way to becoming a bona fide rap star those things didn’t change the way the QB rep was living his life. He was still in the streets, still wilding and one month into his deal he was locked up for an attempted murder charge. Tommy Boy was in disarray and decided to make the best out of the situation by taking the work Noyd had done in that month and piece together some sort of project.
“Let’s say I go to the studio today and I only do chorus and a verse, the next day I go I won’t complete the whole song, I’ll start on something new and do a verse and no chorus or vice versa” explains Noyd speaking on how he records. “It was a serious charge and Tommy Boy didn’t think I was coming home because it didn’t look good at the beginning, so they was like fuck that we just gave this boy three hundred thousand dollars we gotta get our money back. So let’s say I had a song with a verse and a chorus and two [other] verses, they took those verses and put it on just to complete a song. That’s why when you look today it’s only an EP because to make whole songs they had to take pieces from the ten to twelve different songs that weren’t completed. So it’s my rhymes [and] Havoc production, but [it’s] Tommy Boy’s album.”
Tommy Boy went as far as putting skits on the album with the police looking for Noyd and employing Stretch Armstrong to put out a remix to the lead single, “Usual Suspect,” while he was sitting in prison oblivious of the whole process. During his prison stay Noyd was getting write ups, reviews and radio play as Tommy Boy promoted the album. Finding out that Noyd had an opportunity to blow up had the inmates and correctional officers all bugging.
“When I was on Rikers Island they had just did an article on Queensbridge and I had a nice little [piece] on me in Vibe Magazine and the C.O.s in there are looking at the date it was put out and they was like you just came here three weeks ago what’s wrong with you! They were more mad at me than anything. They were like you had an opportunity in a magazine and now you in here. They couldn’t believe it. [Then] they had battle of the beats with Angie Martinez [as] I was coming from a court appearance and somebody was like son you on the radio battling Fat Joe. It was “Recognize and Realize” and I lost that night too, so I had to go to court in the morning and lose on battle of the beats at night, my whole day was fucked up.”
Fortunately for Noyd the charges were dropped and he was able to come home and get his life back together. He hit the studio and continued to run off an impressive string of guest appearances on Mobb Deep related projects such as mixtapes and albums from The Infamous Mobb, Alchemist, and Littles. However, it’s been over six years since Noyd has had a solo project out and fans have continually approached him asking when his next release would be and that interest is one of the main reasons he is putting out his new project, “Only The Strong.” Noyd never realized he even had fans because he views himself as a fan moreso than an artist, but once he started seeing that people were serious about wanting to hear new music from him he felt it was his duty to give the streets what they wanted. On “Only The Strong” Noyd gives people a glimpse of his life in the past six months devoting his energy had the say so on every last detail from the artwork to the song order. This time around though the skits and production will be under his creative control. The beats are a definite departure from the grimey beats prevalent on most Mobb Deep tracks and that was something Noyd wanted to avoid.
“I purposely did that (strayed away from the grimy beats),” said Noyd. “There is a beat on my album by Alchemist that was made for Macy Gray. He submitted three beats to her and she picked one. I picked one out of the last two she didn’t pick purposely to do something different. I felt like that was his best because he wasn’t gonna give Macy Gray some regular shit, not that he would have given me some regular shit but he would try to cater to my style. He would be like I’m making a beat for Noyd so I’m gonna make some grimy 41st side shit. The beat he made for Macy Gray is something he wouldn’t let me hear if I was like Alchemist I need a joint. [The beats] are still hard but I just try to be different because people will be like why should I pick up a Noyd album when it just sound like Mobb Deep I can just go buy a Mobb Deep album.”
Noyd also perused his way through Havoc’s extensive catalog picking out whatever beats peaked his interests that didn’t already have Mobb Deep rhyming on them. The beats are so catered to Noyd that there are even a few tracks under the name Noyd Inc. where Noyd hooked up with producers and basically outlined what type of sound he was looking for.
“Me and the producer a kid that’s coming up went record shopping together and we didn’t know what we had but we sat there and listened to all the records until I was like I like this or sample that,” explained Noyd. “Then he’d do the drums and I’d be like nah do the drums like in this son that I rhymed over on Havoc’s beat and he’d be like cool. Then he put his influence in because I’d be like why don’t you put a snare here and he’d be like you nah don’t use this type of snare here so he taught me a lot of shit but [it was more] me telling him what I want instead of him submitting five beats and I pick from them.”
While the album is contains all new cuts Noyd doesn’t want it to be viewed as his follow up debut to his “Episodes of a Hustla” EP, instead he feels “Only The Strong” is a small glimpse or appetizer of what’s to come when he does release his true first album. Only The strong encompasses Noyd’s life from the last six months, but he promises to delve deeper into his experiences for his debut. Older and wiser Noyd’s life has changed in the last few years. While he is still living the trife life he has other responsibilities and concerns that he wants to touch on such as his daughter and his father.
“[When I release my debut] I’m gonna get into politics and how I feel about things like how the system is fucked up and it don’t give people a chance. I got a deceased father [and] I’m gonna make a song for my family about my pops to give people an idea of what makes me the type of man I am from the father I had and [then] make a song about my daughter to give you an opportunity to figure out what kinda dad I am. [I’ll have] my love life songs dealing with the experiences that I’ve had with women and also [about] the woman that I’m in love with now. It will just be real shit. The things on [“Only The Strong”] are real but its just day to day shit, it ain’t my future or my past giving you a whole book or biography on who Noyd is. I’m gonna dedicate my next rhyme, my next thought, and my next idea to the real album. If I meet my standards and come out with one more real album and let the world know how smart I am and the way I think about shit and my whole personality it might be a rap. I might not even try to make an album after that. I might really consider just fucking with the beats only because I like rap music.”
If the beats aren’t an option then Noyd may consider a future in acting as 2004 will be his actorial debut in the independent film Murda Muzik. Noyd stars as hustler off the block who gets an opportunity to make a change in his life, but faces jealously from the people who laughed when he was on the corner but don’t want to see him succeed doing anything else and has to make a choice on how he wants to live his life. Though its sounds true to life Noyd contends it’s only entertainment.
“It’s not real, [people] gonna think that it’s probably true. I really acted like someone was slapping my moms but it’s really a script. The hood loves shit like that so I figure now when they see me they really gonna be like this nigga got twelve guns in his pocket. I just want to let niggas know I want them to believe shit like that because that means I did a good job as far as the acting shit and hopefully that can lead to bigger and better things.”