NoFace Rapper is an emcee out of Virginia who released his debut EP ‘Wintercoat’ earlier this month. While only spanning four tracks NoFace was able to convey a theme and a messsage in a short amount of time. He was able to grab, entice and grab the listener focused and entertained in about a 15 minute timeframe. I sat down with the emcee and talked about his influences and the construction of his EP.
DEHH: For those who are unfamiliar who is NoFace?
NoFace Rapper: NoFace, Rapper is just a guy (lemme stop talking in 3rd person). I’m a guy who enjoys hip hop so much I had to be apart of it. I’ve found that I spend a lot of time in my own head and making music allows me to get these thoughts out in a positive way. My aim is to overall make music that covers the spectrum of human emotion and make it relatable. Lastly but certainly not least , I’m proudly from Woodbridge, VA.
DEHH: Where does the name NoFace come from?
NFR: I’m a very introverted man so I have this issue with being around lots of people. I initially wanted to wear a mask like the god MF Doom. I decided against that and realized there are so many gimmicks with being an artist i.e. fake scandals, beef, etc. To have no face means don’t worry about what I’m wearing, what I look like, my mistakes, just focus on the art.
DEHH: Before we really jump into the EP, who are some of your influences, who did you listen to growing up?
NFR: That list is incredibly long. Because I spent some time in California in the early 90s, I listened to a lot of the West Coast greats. Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, NWA, and Tupac to name a few. After moving to live with my grandparents in VA, it was difficult to listen to hip hop as they didn’t allow it lol. That sucked but in hindsight it was a blessing. My grandfather listened to alot of jazz, soul, and gospel. He had that entertainment system that was encased with glass with the turntable playing all types of oldies. This influenced my style because it caused me to get an ear for soulful hip-hop or sample heavy music. Like Jay Z, Kanye, Lupe, Common, etc. I also enjoyed technical ability in rhymes so Eminem as well. The list is long.
DEHH: The Wintercoat EP is a solid effort and coming in at only four tracks you were able to set a mood and send a message? Take me through the process
NFR: I really wanted to focus in on making a project that displayed a theme. This particular theme was based in winter and because we are all inside we tend to be a little more introspective. I know I am. I’ll look at the weather and be like “it’s 30 degrees I ain’t goin no where lol”. Even though the weather in Virginia been acting up (it’s currently like 60 degrees smh..one time for global warming) my grandparents always tell me to make sure I have a coat on or in my car to be prepared for a winter storm or whatever. It can be 70 degrees but if it’s winter season they’ll fuss at me for not having one. I took that idea and ran with it.
DEHH: Exactly what is the theme for Wintercoat?
NFR: The theme is based on preparation and realization. I’m looking back at my life and realizing that there were some things that I was prepared for and certain things I wasnt. I think our loved ones try to prepare us as much as possible for this cold world but you can’t prepare for the unexpected. Tying that in with the weather being cold is the icing on the cake.
DEHH: What was your favorite song to create on the project and why?
NFR: I’d probably have to say Freezer Burn just because it’s so unruly and wild. I remember hearing the beat and getting excited like “I GOTTA BODY THIS”. I think as artists we get caught up in trying to make the “perfect” song with the catchiest hook and accessible sound we forget to just do us sometimes. Ima rapper and I like to rap. This is also probably the most technically crafted song based on the lyrics.
DEHH: How were you able to incorporate the theme while also doing personal music and braggadocio, in your face type music without straying?
NFR: I really sat down and planned this out. There were a few points I wanted to get across when people heard this EP. I wanted to make something relatable and I think everybody relates to this world being harsh. No matter what you’re pursuing, you’re going to face adversity. The second goal was I wanted people to know that I can rap and construct songs well. The third goal was to make a project that was short and concise and stayed on topic. I think i accomplished these things.
DEHH: Derrick Thomas Jr. produced this project, why was it key to have one producer? What part did he play in the process?
NFR: It didn’t start out that way but while I was looking for beats I noticed he had a few beats that had a certain sound that just clicked in my head with the theme. I’ve always been a fan of one Artist one producer or producer team projects but there’s gonna be a certain cohesion in my opinion. He’s also very versatile as as producer and plan on working with him again. It won’t be another Wintercoat tho lol.
DEHH: What do you want people to take away from Wintercoat?
NFR: I want people to understand that I am here to give you dope music but I’m also giving you a piece of my real life. I also want people to take away that this is a cold world and people are struggle up. Bundle up.
DEHH: You’re from Virginia and if I’m being honest you guys have a nice little niche there with some great talent from there. Tell me a bit about the hip-hop scene in Virginia?
NFR: I’m not expert on the scene and still have a lot of work to do myself but the scene is growing rapidly and it’s super dope. Specifically in Northern Virginia there aren’t alot of outlets but outlets like The Urban Junkies, Virginia Got Now, The Niq Bohr Show, Rolling Perspectives Radio, and etc. give artists platforms to get their music out. We’re still growing but everyone’s working hard to represent Virginia in their own way.
DEHH: If you could work with one producer on your next album, who would it be?
NFR: That’s a tough one. I’d have to say Just Blaze. He’s produced some of the best hip hop songs ever.
DEHH: Any shoutouts before we get out of here?
NFR: Shoutout to everyone who’s supported me, my beautiful wife, the hip hop scene in Virginia, DC, Maryland. Shoutout to you for interviewing a small time guy like me.