HipHopSite: Do you mind briefly talking about the album, in terms of the producers you used, artist features, and what you want listeners to walk away with after hearing it?
Big Noyd: 80% of the album was done by Alchemist and Havoc. The other 20% was by Noyd Inc. which are producers coming underneath my camp that I’m helping. I did a particular song with PMD from EPMD. And the track ['Going Right At 'Em'] was done by this hot producer Sebb that’s coming up right now.
HHS: Yeah, the producers you have on there are crazy. So what are your expectations for this album from a commercial perspective and establishing you as a solo artist considering that most of your material thus far has been as features with other artists?
BN: You know what, honestly, I’ve never been that type like a lot of these artists trying to get on since they was young and all that. Honestly, god bless the dead, if it wasn’t for my other half Twin, I wouldn’t even have been rhyming or talking to you right now. I usually just get weeded up and be on the block chilling with 40′s and shit, busting rhymes to my man. I was just chilling and it wasn’t even about getting on but my man was like ‘Yo, son you gotta rhyme for these niggas. Let them niggas know how nice you are.’ So I kicked a rhyme and Mobb Deep heard it and they were like ‘We’re going to put you on this song we working on’ and that was that. So I really was never the type to try and make an album. But what really is making me put it together right now, every time I go on the road with Mobb Deep that’s all I hear. They say ‘Noyd what’s up with you? When you coming out with that shit? I got that EP, it wasn’t a full-length album but I love that shit.’ And I’m like ‘Word?, I didn’t even put that album together.’ It was like when I got locked up they [Tommy Boy] wanted to put everything together themselves. Like shit that had two verses and needed one more verse, they took a verse I just did on another song. It was my rhymes and Havoc’s beats, but they just put it together like it was Tommy Boy’s album, like they was the artist.
HHS: So this one [Only The Strong] is more a representation of how you would put songs together.
BN: And not even like, I know it’s been a long time. But it’s not even a representation of what I’ve been doing for the whole length [since Episodes Of A Hustla]. I’m just giving niggas something I’ve been doing for the last six months. Like a lot of songs that you hear on the album, all that stuff was done this year.
HHS: So you saying this is kind of like a preview a bigger full-length? Is that also going to be on Landspeed or are you shopping a larger label deal?
BN: Nah, I’m goin to shop a larger label [deal] and if I do do independent, I mean I’m really going to do independent. I’m going to put up every fund. I’m not going to go to anymore of these [independents]. Cause they’re not even independent people, they’re trying to act like they’re a label now. They acting funny like they really doing something for somebody where I done did everything myself. That’s why I put Noyd Inc./Landspeed. Far as the production, I paid for that. Far as the studio time, far as getting Parrish Smith on my shit, far as getting Mobb Deep, I did all that. I did every fucking thing.
HHS: So your like what do I need a label for.
BN: Exactly, so what the fuck do I need you for then?
HHS: “All 4 The Luv Of Dough” has some very encouraging lyrics, mainly “Black Man, Let’s take a stand now, put down the toaster/ Cause it’s time to raise our kids, marry the wiz”. What inspired you to write these lyrics that contrast with the more combative feel of the rest of the album?
BN: I’m honestly a ‘shoot ‘em up, bang, bang’ nigga. It’s ain’t nothing to be proud about. It ain’t to be glorified. But that’s just who I am. But my mentality is still, I’m older, I definitely going to make this money, I got a daughter now, if you don’t cross me we are fine. No problem. The whole thing is god forbid if I get into any drama, I’m not picking up the phone and calling police. So that’s why the album comes across like ‘shoot ‘em up bang bang’, but honestly, like you said that song ‘All 4 The Luv Of Dough’, that’s how I want to live. Black man, let’s put the toast down you. You’re in a position where you got millions of people listening to you. It’s not cool.
HHS: So that’s how you want it to be? Like what you aspire for?
BN: Definitely. It ain’t like that now. But that’s how I would love it to be. Before everyone talk about how many bitches they boned. But now with AIDS and all that it’s not even cool no more. I’ve done that also. I’ve been on the road and I’m not even Mobb Deep and I still got as much pussy as them if not more.
HHS: [laughing] But people know Noyd’s basically like a third member [of Mobb Deep].
BN: I know a lot of people say that I’m like the third member.
HHS: Okay, you haven’t had any official material since Episodes Of A Hustla. What’s the visible growth within you as an artist from then until now?
BN: I mean the difference is definitely I was sort of deaf dumb and blind to the world [before]. I didn’t have no cares, no worries, or no nothing. Now I’m making more sense in my rhymes because I’m still thuggin’ it out, but it’s for a cause now. Really the difference is growth. It’s not a game anymore.
HHS: Okay. Switching topics, you were talking earlier about having some legal difficulties during the release of Episodes Of A Hustla. What type of impact did that has that had on your career?
BN: I hate to say this because it’s me, but I really believe I would have been a star right now because I was coming out with songs like on Episodes Of A Hustla, there was a sample from the Isley Brothers and it was like back then Snoop was doing shit like that when he was coming out. I’d have been on a major label and had the biggest videos. Me and AZ had one of the biggest deals. I had a deal bigger than Mobb Deep when I got signed to Tommy Boy. So it played a big role, me getting locked up and shit like that, because it set me back so much. My belief is the road I was on, the way I was headed, I was ahead of my time already. I got signed to one of the biggest rap deals from one verse ['Give up the Goods (Just Step)'].
HHS: So having first-hand experience dealing with the American criminal justice system, what would you change about it if you could?
BN: Honestly, before they go and lock niggas up give them some help. It’s not like they [lawmakers] don’t understand that they come from poverty. When someone gets locked up for the first time, instead of sending them to jail, give them a job. Instead of giving niggas 5 years probation, how about 5 years probation and a job. They don’t give a fuck. They get money to lock niggas up.
HHS: With everyone from Shyne to Styles P having trouble with the law, why do you think artists, who are in a position that many would envy, continue to get in trouble with the law?
BN: I don’t like saying anyone’s name, like Beanie Siegal for example. They like the dumbest people on Earth to me because….
HHS: You want me to take that off the record? We can keep that off the record.
BN: Nah, I mean you can print it, I don’t give a fuck. My thing is niggas are assholes to me because everyone trying to ‘keep it real.’ Keeping it real means I don’t got to go to the strip club with guns no more. It means now that I got enough money that I can hire strippers and I can have them come to the hotel. I don’t got to go there no more. We’ve been through the struggle. Who wants to go somewhere with a 9 mm just to have a good time? Not saying that you shouldn’t change you lifestyle or anything like that like ‘Oh I can’t do certain things more.’ But no you can’t. Too many people try and play both sides. And again, I don’t like saying people’s names but I’ll keep it real, Jay-Z. Everybody know or feel that he played a big part in the streets before his career. Do you think he’s going to take a chance of keeping it real in the streets cause that’s where he came from? Come on. He’s smart enough to be like ‘I don’t do that no more.’
HHS: Having a family (young daughter) that depends on you, do you ever worry that your lyrical content may endanger your well-being and your ability to provide for them?
BN: Definitely. Because it’s so crazy now with, not only just rap but the gangs and all that. Like honestly and I’ll take nothing any from him, I think 50 solds more records because people looked at him and said ‘Oh he got shot, he’s really a gangsta.’ I mean he’s really nice on the hooks and he’s really nice on the raps. But I think it was glorified how much of what happened to him. I definitely feel like if this shit don’t change around, the kids that growing up now including my daughter, they going to walk outside everyday and there’s going to be nowhere for them to play anymore because you’re going to have too many people trying to so-called ‘keep it real.’
HHS: There was a lot of beef involving Prodigy at one point. What was your perspective on this? It must have been hard to see your man getting dragged through.
BN: I mean it was hard for me when Prodigy was going through it, but it was fake to me. I caught people saying shit about him and it hurt me. Like Nas, that was like family to me. But it didn’t bother me as much as what the public sees because I hear Nas saying ‘Prodigy this and Prodigy that.’ But what the public didn’t see is I go to the studio and Nas trying to hug P like ‘Yo, we need to get together and conquer the world.’ It was corny. Even the Jay-Z shit. If you look on Backstage [Backstage: A Hard Knock Life], ‘Keep It Thoro’ was first song off the album. He [Jay-Z] was sweating P. He took it where a smart businessman would take it. ‘Okay, you say my name, now I’m going to use my power to shit on you and make myself look bigger.’ P started that. It’s not like Jay-Z went at P. P called him a bitch in a magazine. Only the public bothered me when they would come up to me and ask me about P and P was going to do and this and that. It’s like wrestling now.
HHS: Aright, what other areas of the industry are you interested in? Production? Managing artists?
BN: The biggest thing that got me enthused is acting thing. I did an independent film Murda Muzik: The Movie. It was one of the best experiences I ever had because to do something for the first time, cause I’m like this, even with my raps, I do it and I can’t listen to it.
HHS: You don’t listen to your own music?
BN: Hell no. I did my album and don’t even have a copy in my car. I don’t like taking pictures, I don’t like hearing myself on the radio. But the acting thing was one of the first things I ever done where I felt like ‘Oh, shit’ I’m looking at the playback and I enjoyed it.
HHS: Last thing for people not familiar with the album [Only The Strong], why should they buy the album?
BN: For those that said I killed it on ‘Burn’, for those that don’t know, it’s the R-A-P-P-E-R N-O-Y-D. It’s that nigga that said ‘You don’t think I live a pop verse now?/ cause hey, you can get popped right now.’ If you liked that one verse, get ready for a million more.
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- Tree – “Columbia (Remix)”
- Lil Kim – “Fancy (Freestyle)”
- BBC Fire In The Booth: Danny Brown Freestyle
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