Noble Stylz talks new joint album with QOUNFUSED,his self proclaimed kingship to the rap crown and seeing no competition as yet .
If you have managed to listen to his tracks or seen him perform then you know Noble is a hungry emcee whose only competition seems only to be the man in the mirror. Described by some as corky, Noble is one lyrical fin with the most outrageous Shona wordplay, my personal favourite being one of the lines he spit on his Nyanzvi track (Masofa Panze 2).The line goes as follows “Hanzi ndichabuda asi handisi kubuda se album ra Jnr Brown”.Whether he was throwing shots at the ‘Northern Samora’ rapper or he was simply flexing his rap muscles,Noble is controversial and he knows it and that won’t stop him from saying what needs to be said even if it sparks debate. I met up with this giant rapper and this is what we discussed.
MIMY: Who is Noble really? Which hole did he come out from?
NOBLE: Well, Noble Stylz is a Masvingo bred and Harare based rapper birth named Prince Butawu. I commenced rap when I was 11 and at 13 my brother who was a battle rapper introduced me to battle circles so I grew up a battle emcee. I never thought I would record tracks, I just loved being part of rap in its truest essence and that’s the battle.
MIMY: When was the genesis of your music path and career? When did you know you really wanted to pursue rapping?
NOBLE: That was after my high school. I started recording and one thing led to another. I shuffled staying between cities and at one time moved to S.A and started recording but eventually I came back and settled in Harare in 2013.In the two years I have been here I have dropped Masofa Panze 1 and 2 to great success.
MIMY: 2015 has seen a new dimension of rap diversities and a new flood of vernacular emcees joining the movement. What’s your take on the new cats on the block ?
NOBLE: Ok, personally I feel we got a few good vernacular rappers and a lot of dudes are just tryna put punch lines together into a meaningless verse that’s the reason why you find that most of them can’t make albums because It takes a certain amount of skill to bring out 12-16 compact songs of different concepts and style so I never take any rapper seriously until they make an album. Songs are target practise. The game starts when you drop an album or mix tape.
MIMY: Do you feel there is any competition for you at this moment?
NOBLE: About competition, all I can say is in the last 24 months I got the hottest catalogue by a vernacular emcee and it’s not even a close call. Until dudes start making mix tapes and albums I won’t be paying attention to competition.
MIMY: You’ve been described by some artists as one of the corkiest rappers of this decade. Has battle rap made you this controversial?
NOBLE: Corky? (Laughs)I am not corky; I just say it as it is. I don’t sugar coat my words. Battle rap played its part in moulding that thick skin but I am very humble if you ask those around me. I however switch to offence the very second I feel disrespected.
MIMY: What separates you from the average vernacular emcees in the game right now?
NOBLE: My main strength has to be my mindset. Everything I want to do, I do it and I get desired results. I am hard wired like that. I don’t doubt my capabilities even for a second. I am not about odds, I fight and win. Looking back who would have thought that one guy would take on a group like MMT(three members) at their peak and walk away unscratched but we are past that phase now. We are rebuilding battles as part of the game, no hard feelings.
MIMY: Is Zimbabwean hip hop evolving? What’s your take on the state of the hip hop movement now?
NOBLE: I feel Zimbabwean hip hop is growing and could grow faster if rappers start being rappers and have that rapper aggression in everything they do. Right now a lot of guys are waiting for something to happen and trust me nothing happens until you make it happen. Tehn Diamond is making it.Trae Yung is pushing it through. They are so visible. If we have more of that aggression in more rappers, the culture and art would grow faster. Guys are just too soft for the game.
MIMY: What have you got in store for the year 2015? Any projects or features we can expect?
NOBLE: I am dropping a duet album with Qounfused called Kufunga Kushanda and also a mixtape titled Better Than Your Album then Masofa Panze Queen BlacPerl drops Masofa Panze 3.I think she will be the biggest new act this year.
MIMY: You know, at mcpotar.com,we are as provocative as they come. We love a lil bit of controversy here and there so I want you to confirm this to all, are you the ‘King of vernacular rap or nah?
NOBLE: Bar for bar. Track for track. Album for album. I AM the KING of vernacular rap.
MIMY: For someone who came up in the rap circles when the incredible mUnetsi was still dominant in vernacular rap and battle rap don’t you think calling yourself the ‘king of vernacular rap’ is rap blasphemy and breaking of the first rap commandment ‘thou shall not uproot the king’?
NOBLE:I didn’t come up in the mUnetsi era actually.mUnetsi’s era has the Outspoken,Maskiri and Begotten Sun and all of those kings I see as custodians of the game. These are the guys who paved way the same way I will pave for the next generation and like any race you pass the baton. I always pay homage to those who came before and it is through their blessings I boldly declare whatever I declare. Rakim came. Nas came. Kendrick came. That’s how it goes; right now I am the one holding vernacular rap. I am running my stretch and when it’s time to pass the baton I will bless the next king and let him do his thing.
MIMY: Any last words you might want to add on?
NOBLE: I just wanna say BIG UP to every emcee putting in work, we march on. Shout out to my team Masofa Panze,Tmg Records and Ikonik Muzik.
Feel free to comment on the interview and Noble’s self proclaimed kingship to the vernacular rap crown. Be sure to get your copies of Masofa Panze 1 and 2 if you haven’t.