Mobb Deep affiliate, Big Noyd, is a veteran when it comes to New York rap music. After being introduced on Mobb Deep’s 1993 single, “Stomp ‘Em Out,” Noyd has been a staple on Mobb Deep projects ever since. That changed, however, when the Mobb signed with G-Unit and he didn’t appear on their project Blood Money.
Now, as the Mobb continue to put out projects independently, Noyd seems to be going out on his own, hoping to spread his wings without sitting the shadows of the legendary Queensbridge duo. With his fourth solo album, Illustrious, in stores via Koch Records, the 32-year-old veteran — who’s been patiently waiting for his time to blow — sits down with BallerStatus.com to talk about working on without having Mobb Deep as a crutch, working closely with M.O.P.’s Fame, and why after more than 10 years and three solo albums, he’s still hasn’t cracked the mainstream.
Either way, Noyd considers himself a “shining star” and you have to read on to find out why.
BallerStatus.com: What’s up Noyd? It’s been a minute. How’s everything going?
Big Noyd: Everything is good, I can’t complain. I wanted to push the album back just to prepare myself a little bit more. Just to let everyone know, not just New York or the East Coast. It’s out now though, and I’m just doing my little promo run.
BallerStatus.com: As far as your singles out right now, what kind of response are you getting right now?
Big Noyd: It’s good. Fame (of M.O.P.) actually produced the first single, called “Things Done Changed” featuring Kira. It’s still that Noyd hip-hop hustle, the hustler grimy music, but the sound done changed. People are enjoying it and I think people are enjoying the collabo with me and Fame doing the joints together.
BallerStatus.com: This is your fourth solo record, tell me a little about how you’ve progressed over your career to this album.
Big Noyd: I’ve really been hands on since the latest project. A lot of other times, you know I was in the Mobb Deep camp, the Mobb Deep shadows, so there wasn’t nothing for me to do other then write my verses and that was it. Putting the concepts of the songs together, that was left up into the hands of the producers, which was Havoc and Prodigy. This time, I’m really hands on, so I gotta come up with the concepts, the flows, the style of rhymes, pick the beats… so I’m really hands on. That’s where I’ve really grown from doing, which was different back in the days where like it was left in others hands and all I had to do is write my 16 and I was done. I’ve definitely grown from there.
On the business end about it, I got my own studio now, so it’s not like… I’m learning the Pro Tools a little right now. I don’t have to spend all my money in the studios no more. Again, as far as the business, I’m learning the best way to do things is just be hands on instead of having that representative going in and taking meetings for me. Now, I do that all myself. I’ve made changes like that.
BallerStatus.com: You mentioned going in and doing more as far as making your songs. So, how it that now? Instead of just worrying about your rhymes, you have all the responsibility now?
Big Noyd: It’s definitely hard, but they say anything that come easy ain’t worth it. It’s hard because not only did I have the luxury of having people doing it for me, I had great people doing it for me. Nobody can make music like Mobb Deep. Them dudes is so talented. It’s hard, but it’s been good though. It’s been a good struggle because I enjoy doing this. It’s not like a 9 to 5 that’s hard, and you don’t wanna wake up in the morning and go to work. It’s one of those things I don’t mind. I love going to work. It’s been fun learning.
BallerStatus.com: You mentioned Fame producing your single, but he also has the “executive producer” title on your album. What kind of role did he play in the creation of your album?
Big Noyd: I knew Fame for a minute man, but we really never did no music together. I had bumped into him one day at a studio and we had did one song together. It came out so hot that he was like “What you doing tomorrow? What you doing next week? Let’s get in the lab and do some joints.” I was like “I’m with it my dude.” We did like 10 songs and we picked the best four out of the 10 to use for the album. He knew I was working on the album and I had producers come through the studio to play me beats, so he was like “Yo, you mind if I sit in and listen to some beats, you know, help you pick the beats?” That’s how that all started. He helped me pick the beats, helped me write hooks, and helped me everything — from the artwork and everything. He was really hands on. I’d do a hook and he’d be like “I don’t like that, change it,” or I’d do a verse and he’d be like “You can do that better, you can say it hotter than that.” It was like a puzzle we put together and we made sure all the pieces fit.
He didn’t necessarily teach me stuff I didn’t know, because I had picked up a lot of stuff from Mobb Deep, but it was just a different way of doing it. It all comes out the same, there’s just different ways about doing stuff. Instead of if I did a hook and it was bouncing, he’d be like “Hold on, that flow is ill, but slow it down.” Little points like that.
BallerStatus.com: The album is called Illustrious. Why that title?
Big Noyd: I came up with Illustrious kinda like meaning a shining star. I’m not a star like I’m selling millions of records or you see me on MTV, like a $100 million and all that, but I’m a star in own right to me. I came a long way in the struggle, in the middle of Queensbridge projects, and for me not to be dead or in jail right now — just to be talking to you right now and having an article in a magazine — I’m a star in my own right.
BallerStatus.com: What else should people expect from the album?
Big Noyd: It’s crazy. I got the single “Things Done Changed.” The video is out there. That song, it’s basically just about how things have changed over the years in hip-hop. How we went from gold chains to diamonds on our necks, or shell toe Adidas to Nike boots, you know what I mean? That song is one of the concepts.
I got another joint that’s on there that’s called “We Gotta Get It Done.” “Get It Done” is basically like no matter what we do, we got young adults looking up to us, and we gotta get it right. Like you don’t wanna accept the role of being a role model, but you are, so you gotta get it right. You gotta let kids know that not everything glitter under the sun. You gotta show some type of positive, like you’re not talking about shooting guns just to be like doing it. You gotta show some type of respect to the children, so this way not everybody wanna grow up to be thugs or end up dead or in jail.
Then there’s a lot of other joints that’s that gutter, grimy Queensbridge lifestyle music, it’s just the sound changed a little bit. The vocals are still about my homies on the block still grinding it out, trying to make it out the hood… still getting money and still about these bitches that be flirting at the clubs. It’s still about the long chains, hanging down to my d***, you know what I’m saying? We still keeping it gutter, but we making it a little more live. You’ll definitely wanna see me perform this live.
BallerStatus.com: As you mentioned earlier, you wanted to get out of the Mobb Deep shadows this time around, and I noticed there is no Mobb Deep on this album, which is usually not the case. Can you elaborate as to why you didn’t work with them this time around?
Big Noyd: Everything is good. Those are my brothers for life. I know from the outside looking it, people might be like “What’s up with Noyd and the Mobb?” But, everything is great. Those are my brothers before rap, and without rap, you don’t even know. Like my mother and Havoc’s mother are like sisters. Rap music will never come between us. I just wanted to do something a little different, like step out of the limelight of the Mobb and show people I can stand on my own two feet and put all the light on Noyd as a solo artist. That don’t mean in the near future, we won’t work together.
I was just with Havoc today, I passed him the album, the acapellas, because he’s gonna start doing remixes for them already. We wanna be ahead of the game, we don’t wanna wait until a song blows up and then do a remix. No, we getting remixes ready now. He’s doing new beats to all the acapellas for the songs. We doing remixes, getting N.O.R.E. and Capone on some of them. Get Cormega on some of them. We still making music to this day. I wasn’t on Blood Money, but that was just 50 [Cent] trying to get Mobb Deep established with G-Unit. The plan was, once they get established on G-Unit, then we bring the whole camp. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell what it was expected to sell with G-Unit and things didn’t work out the way that it should.
I don’t got the Mobb on this album the way I usually do. I just wanted to do it different, so people didn’t get the same old Noyd album. Something new and different.
BallerStatus.com: On another note, Prodigy is about to do some time. How’s he doing?
Big Noyd: He got that extension recently, so he be out for a little bit. What can I say? No one wishes they brother gonna go to jail. That’s almost like worse than being dead. The vibe is good. He’s holding his head. P’s a strong dude.
What we doing now is just — since he’s working on H.N.I.C. 2 — usually you do a couple videos, but he’s doing one for every single song because he won’t be here to shoot any others. We really just trying to make the best of it.
When he go in though, he gonna be alright ’cause he’s a strong dude. There’s not too much positive to bring out of it, but sometimes there is.
BallerStatus.com: You’re a veteran in the game. You’ve been doing it for over 10 years, but for whatever reason, you’ve been unable to really break to the next level. Why do you feel that is?
Big Noyd: It has to do a lot with my situations man. My first deal with Tommy Boy, my first solo album… I had one of the biggest deals, next to AZ back then. I did “Give Up The Goods” and I got signed to Tommy Boy for $350,000 and that was back then, so it was a lot of money. With that situation, it came out an EP, instead of an LP because I f***ed around, pulled out the hammer, shot somebody, got attempted murder and had to go to jail for a while. So that f***ed up that situation.
I came home, I did a deal with Landspeed. I came out with “Shoot Em Up, Bang Bang.” I wasn’t able to do a little video or no press because the Landspeed label was shutdown. They got sued by Interscope or something. So, that was another issue with that project.
Then, I did my own project, which was On The Grind. I just wasn’t ready for that, at that time. At that time, I really needed a label that would help me reach people that I wasn’t able to reach. I didn’t understand that at the time. I thought that with my name alone, my track record with Mobb Deep, that I’d be able to drop an album on my own. There was a lot more to that though. You need that machine, which is a distribution company sometimes, helping you with their connects. That was an issue. I dropped an album on my own when I wasn’t ready.
It wasn’t the music ever. It was just my issues, but hopefully this time around with God on my side, 2008, I got a chance to blow. I just wanna get this album out, get my name out there and hopefully I make some noise in the game, so I can bring my label up.