Noble1BOF is just seeing the beginning for his ‘Benefits Of Freedom’ with a show planned for Brixton Jamm on 29th June and his position as a defining artist for Red Tangent Records (a label managed for ex-prisoners by ex-prisoners and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund) adding to his impressive resume in recent times, but he is finally primed and ready to go with the release of ‘No Games’ featuring Carla, a new taste of his upcoming mixtape release ‘Benefits Of Freedom’ that will be released on April 22nd, an ambitious record that mixes Grime adjacent Hip-Hop with contemporary elements of Drill, inspired by the ‘distinctively UK’ soundwaves of Brixton.
Marrying hard, DIY Hip-Hop beats with theatrical String samples, ‘No Games’ marks the next chapter of the eventful career of Noble, who first started writing music as a teenager when he emulated his heroes of Drake, Giggs and Style’s P. This allowed him to teach himself how to shape and form a track, a hobby that he continued pursuing while in prison. Since that stint, he has become an ambassador for the Irene Taylor Trust, working with young people to help prevent them from following in his past footsteps. These themes of finding solidarity in confinement and turning your own fortunes around with the medium of music are bound to connect with a wide audience of listeners when the full record arrives, as Noble is a unique artist in a unique position.
Talking about the direction of the far-reaching new mixtape, he says, “These bars are my life, you know? It’s my story, and yes, sometimes there’s swagger and sometimes it’s cold. I hate driving past these corners, every day, where one of the man ‘dem got shot. I’ve got close friends doing life sentences, fifteen years of my life has been spent inside a prison, most of that in a cell. These tracks are literally my life story”, on continuing to champion his own homegrown Hip-Hop.
‘No Games’ feels like a tense and candid outlook for the life of Noble, who creates a stylish Hip-Hop track that feels reminiscent of it’s self-produced background and ‘distinctly UK’ tagline that fans of ‘London’ artists like Nia Archives or Roots Manuva could well love. His lyricism feels very confessional and vulnerable, while also preaching a positive message to the prisoners at large, which is given the push-and-pull treatment by warped Synths and highly processed Drums that blend with the boisterous String samples to create a classic Grime backdrop. The featured verse from Carla works with the wavering electronics to add a more soulful vibe to the proceedings, while the single overall feels like it is reflective in a disorienting way to convey mixed emotions.
On the flip side, there are many moving parts in the instrumental section that makes the whole picture a little messy at times and it would have been nice to hear Carla doing a little more with the material, as she does not feel like a hugely prominent part of the track. However, there’s plenty here that will still appeal to traditional 00’s Grime lovers and youthful newcomers to the genre as well. After fifteen years within isolation, Noble has fruitfully grown into his own person.
Words by Jacob Braybrooke
Praise for Noble 1 BOF
Noble – No Games (feat. Carla): “Straight away I got caught up in the wicked beats. Loving the vocals by Carla, all round an absolutely fricking banger of a track. Please get me a radio edit asap! Again this track has its own blend of vibes, almost rave-like hip hop vibes that gets ya head nodding.” – Miranda Rae – Ujima Radio, former BBC presenter
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