In a world where so many artists kickstart their careers online, others start through more traditional means. Enter Alabama rapper NoCap, a 20 year-old artist who raps and sings, detailing stories of the pains that come with the streets with a wry sense of humor. Under the guidance of a man his mother was dating, a then 9-year-old NoCap was already rapping, doing local shows around his hometown with his brother. His mother's boyfriend wrote all of their lyrics while NoCap got his reps in as a performer. After the relationship between the man and his mother ended, NoCap stopped rapping, only to return to music at 18.

Things moved quickly from there. NoCap's 2018 song "Legend" got him through the door, becoming his first video to reach 1 million views. His project Neighborhood Hero soon followed, along with Rogerville, a collab mixtape with Atlanta artist Rylo Rodriguez. In 2019, his calling card has been the heart-wrenching "Ghetto Angels," dedicated to friends he lost to the streets. The lyrics of the song depict his fallen comrades into people who watch over him, keeping NoCap safe on his journey through life. As the accompanying video's 30 million views can tell you, the song has resonated and took his career to another level.

Now with his mixtape The Backend Child just a few weeks old, NoCap is dropping new videos rapidly and has more projects on the way. Catch up with NoCap in this week's edition of XXL's The Break.

Age: 20

Hometown: Mobile, Ala.

I grew up listening to: "I used to listen to Plies a lot. At the time, he was rapping shit niggas done seen. It wasn't nothing I was going through because I was young as hell. As I got older, niggas like Future."

My style’s been compared to: "Nobody. A lot of people say I got my own wave, but a lot of people have they own opinions, too."

My standout records to date have been: "'Ghetto Angels,' 'Point Guard.' A lot of people can relate. Everybody got somebody dead in they family, so they gon' vibe to that, because that's what it's about, 'Point Guard,' same thing, [it's] about the dead homies. It's goin' crazy too and I ain't even shot a video to it."

Most people don’t know: "I freestyle. I don't write nothing, I wrote my first mixtape and that was about it. I just go in and just bar for bar punch in. I really just got comfortable freestyling."

My standout moments to date have been: "[What surprised me was] rap niggas who I didn't think would tap in done hit me up, [like] Lil Yachty."

My most slept-on song: "'Punching Bag.' Probably because I dropped it at a weird time and the song was kinda old. It was just something I threw together real fast; really wasn't no process to it. I really don't even promote what I put out; I just put it out. I might just wake up like 'Oh, I wanna drop this,' and drop it. Some stuff they catch on to, and some they don't."

I’m going to blow up because: "I don't feel like rappers know they gon' blow up. The people around them might know, but the rappers don't know because they so busy working and building. A whole bunch of homies been telling me, 'You gon' blow!' But it just used to go in one ear and out the other. All I know is, I'm finna keep working."

I’m going to be the next: "I don't wanna be nobody else, but I wanna be big as hell. I wanna be me!"

Follow NoCap on Instagram and SoundCloud.



"Punching Bag"

"Ghetto Angels"

"Set It Off"

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