by Alex Shtaerman
Getting ready to drop his 2nd full length LP, Big Noyd is eager to make up for lost time. “The time I’ve been in the game, I should have had out at least five albums or four albums”, concedes the acid tongued MC who first garnered acclaim in 1995 as a standout guest on Mobb Deep’s classic LP The Infamous. After doing some time in prison Noyd dropped his official debut Only The Strong in 2003 only to watch his label Landspeed Records declare bankruptcy and go out of business. “The company that I came out on went under before my album even dropped because they got sued by 50 cent and Interscope – so I didn’t even get a chance to promote it or nothing. So basically the album now – I am still in the same boat – it’s like I never even put out Only The Strong”. With Monopolee Records as his new home, Big Noyd is once again On The Grind. Working alongside Havoc, Prodigy, The Alchemist and Infamous Mobb, Noyd delivers his new ghetto opus to the masses.
RIOTSOUND.COM: For those people who never heard Episodes Of A Hustla or Only The Strong, what can someone expect from a Big Noyd album?
BIG NOYD: Well, you know I’m still street, so I still keep it gritty. It’s my experience in the game and from my point of view, so I’m still coming with that hardcore gutter sound. I feel like I’m one of the real – who understands what rap is and what it comes from and I am one of the few that’s left. So you could expect a lot of what we would consider real hardcore music, real rap, rhyming and rebelling against the cause and putting it down. You know, what we rap about – the gutter, coming from, making it, surviving.
RIOTSOUND.COM: How would you say On The Grind is different from some of your previous work?
BIG NOYD: I think I lyrically got better – I got better flow. I’m more creative compared to before where I was basically just rapping to have the best rap than the next man – as opposed to now – where I am making songs about things; and I really got an idea as far as what I am trying to get across with my music.
RIOTSOUND.COM: You took eight years from the time you dropped your EP Episodes Of A Hustla until your first full length album Only The Strong in 2003.
BIG NOYD: I had to do a little time in prison and when I came home I actually wasn’t focused on making an album, I was more concerned with getting my life back in order. After Only The Strong, I was in a position to make On The Grind where I was now more in the mix of making music and I was capable of putting music together better than I was when I first came home.
RIOTSOUND.COM: How did you first meet Havoc and Prodigy and what has your time in the game been like?
BIG NOYD: It’s a great thing, we’re like brothers, you know. I met Havoc when we were little kids and I met Prodigy through Havoc. Me and Havoc used to live in the same project on the same block. I had moved away for a while to Brooklyn when I was younger. Then I found out Havoc and them were making music and then I came back to the projects after I was able to come back on my own – once I was able to travel and get on the train I came back to the old project to see my friends. I actually at the time wasn’t really rapping like that; I had just a few of my little bullshit rhymes that I used to write down and they actually heard one of them and had me lay a verse down on they album and it took off from there.
I never really considered myself making an album or nothing like that. I did the verses on Mobb Deep’s album – then I actually got to perform one day at a major show in VA – it was a big show with Scarface, Mobb Deep, Total – and this is like when everybody was at the prime of their game. I did my verse and the crowd went crazy and it surprised me more than anybody. An A&R from Tommy Boy was in the crowd, saw the show and was on the phone with me that following Monday. I never really considered myself a rapper or thought about making an album – I only did it personally for myself; but when opportunity came I jumped on it.
RIOTSOUND.COM: I was enjoying your verse on the new Masta Ace CD but it took me a couple of weeks to get the album ’cause every store I went to didn’t carry it. Being on an independent label do you worry about distribution – as far as people wanting to get your CD and then going to the store and not finding it?
BIG NOYD: Hopefully not, Caroline is supposed to be good distribution. It’s the same distribution company as for Carson Daly’s label – so hopefully there won’t be that problem right there.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Who where you working with in putting On The Grind together?
BIG NOYD: I kept this one really simple; I made it a little more personal and kept it with just me and the family. Havoc’s on one song, Prodigy’s on another, then there’s Mobb Deep together, The Infamous Mobb. I worked with just one more new producer than I usually work with – his name is Rick Rude; and then Alchemist is on the tracks and Havoc’s on the tracks and I kept it gutter like that. This album is basically me catching up a little bit more. The time I’ve been in the game, I should have had out at least five albums or four albums.
I’m just taking as I go. To me – I’ve only dropped Only The Strong – which was a good album but I didn’t have the recourses where if I was on a major there would have been a video and everything else and good promotion. The company that I came out on went under before my album even dropped because they got sued by 50 cent and Interscope – so I didn’t even get a chance to promote it or nothing. So basically the album now – I am still in the same boat – it’s like I never even put out Only The Strong. So I’m starting all over again from scratch. It’s like my first album all over again.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Why did Interscope sue?
BIG NOYD: Landspeed, the same company that put out my album had put out some 50 cent material and I think maybe they weren’t supposed to; so Interscope caught wind of it, sued them and then they had to file for bankruptcy and close down the company.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Ironically, you are going to be doing some shows with G Unit; how did that come about?
BIG NOYD: Violator, the management that Mobb Deep is on is the same management for 50 and the guys and some of the guys that put the show together know me; so they was like – tell them to come open up for Lloyd Banks and we actually did a show in Vegas. I’m waiting now to press up my music so I can go back out.
RIOTSOUND.COM: You also play the lead role in the new Murda Muzik movie that Prodigy wrote; what’s the film all about?
BIG NOYD: Murda Muzik was the first role and independent film that I ever did. It’s a fictional story; it’s about somebody being in the streets and trying to make it through a better way by getting into the rap game. I play a major role; the movie is about me – it’s street but it also got a message in it at the end of the day; it ain’t just shoot ’em up bang bang. It’s definitely an action flick like that but it’s also got a message in it. It’s about trying to make it out of the ghetto – just like any other normal person that’s going through it. This is the first film I’ve done and having done it, I am definitely more interested in pursuing acting having experienced it as I did.
RIOTSOUND.COM: For people who listen to your music and would like to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give to the young up and coming MCs out there?
BIG NOYD: I mean, you just gotta stay on your game man. You may enjoy the type of music that you hearing on the radio but you can’t limit yourself to making music just like that. You got to make your own music and that’s the music that shines more. You may have your favorite artist or your favorite MC but if you go out trying to make songs like them because you think they’re the best it’s going to limit you from making good music. It’s good to be inspired by good music but you got to have your own creativity in you that shines more than anything – so definitely do your own thing.
RIOTSOUND.COM: How do you feel about the commercialization of Hip-Hop and everything going according to money, play lists, promotional partnerships and things like that as opposed to the actual music?
BIG NOYD: It’s fucked up man because Hip-Hop came a long way and then for people to fuck the game up the way it is now – it may not even be around forever the way we want it to be. If people continue on just trying to do it for the buck and not really to make good music – it’s really not gonna be around forever and nobody will make money and then it will be all over. Then we’ll be assed out again with no way of representing the places we come from and the struggles we go through – we will all have to find a new means of money – and if everybody thinks about it like that.
Let me give you an example; Kevin Garnett in the NBA, he makes one of the biggest salaries – and Latrell Sprewell wanted more money. So what Kevin Garnett did was go in his contract and take less money for the sake of making a better team. If rappers who are on top can consider, not a pay cut, but instead of saying – I made me this hit song right here, this radio song and it’ll sell me millions of records – where I can make a real record and make this rap shit last forever or I can go ahead and make this phony record and then the rap game will be over in the next five years. So people who are in the public eye, or are in that position should take a stand to make sure this thing lasts forever for us. It’s really not up to them, but if you’re in that position it’s really good to think about that.
RIOTSOUND.COM: A lot of true Hip-Hop artists are becoming more recognized around the world and are doing shows in Europe and other places outside the United States; do you think in the long run things will come back around and real artists will have the longevity and worldwide recognition while the commercial artists will fade away?
BIG NOYD: I’m not sure man; I’m not sure, ’cause with the record companies, they’re scared to put out a real record. They so afraid to put out a real record that we need artists that have great music but its going to be hard for them even with independent deals to even get in the studio and get a little bit of money to put an album together. To get over to overseas is going to be impossible in a sense because none of these record companies can be man enough to take a real MC and go along with it. Look at Talib Kweli and artists like that; to me they’re great but they don’t get the burn.
For example, I listened to the Nas album that just came out and I’m listening to the radio and I’m hearing rappers – not to down anybody, everybody’s got their own thing and I respect it, whatever floats your boat – you do you, whatever you stand behind – hopefully the music they put out, they stand behind it. I listen to some of these raps on the radio and they all like – Hey A, Hey B, Hey Ho C – and then you hear Nas dropping some real shit and it don’t get no burn on the radio. So it’s like the game is not going to be around much longer if they continue to do stuff like that.
The record company is going to be afraid to get real artists ’cause they see real artists are not getting the radio air burn that they supposed to get and without being played on the radio, the sales is going to go down – so in the end they not going to be putting money up for real artists. And then finally they will all make songs that flop and go away in three months – where if you put out a real artist it would last forever – so its not going to last. There is going to be one person out there that is still trying to do real Hip-Hop and then we’ll have all these corny MCs and the game is going to be over soon.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Do you have any other projects in the works besides On The Grind and Murda Muzik the movie?
BIG NOYD: After On The Grind hopefully we can put another joint together with Monopolee Records and put out a DVD of the real Noyd; when people get to see me wake up, wipe the crust out of my eyes and see how I go to work everyday; catch my every personality as far as who I am. So for my next album hopefully we will be able to put a DVD with that. In the meantime look out for On The Grind and Murda Muzik the movie; and look out for a lot of shows ’cause I’m a performer, I don’t care if it’s to one person or one million, when I get on that stage I’m another person. So look out for all the Noyd shows.