February 25, 2007

Big Noyd - Episodes Of A Hustla (September 16, 1996)


I noticed that someone had upped this album on their blog (sorry, I don't recall which one at the moment), and I remembered that I actually bought this back in the day, so I decided to bring it out for the scrutinizing.


I remember that I bought this CD way back when Blockbuster Music was still around. I had heard about this CD through an advertisement in The Source, and I was shocked that this kid Big Noyd (a/k/a Rapper Noyd) somehow got a record deal of his own, separate from his Mobb Deep comrades Havoc and Prodigy. Technically, I believe he made his debut off of some track from Mobb Deep's Juvenile Hell, but I prefer using his "second debut" on "Give Up The Goods (Just Step)" off The Infamous as my barometer.


His verse and delivery on that song was fire.


So there were high anticipation for the solo. And then Noyd somehow got locked up while recording the sucker, so Tommy (ain't my motherfuckin') Boy released Episodes of a Hustla as an EP. I only ever saw one copy in my city ever. I didn't even realize it had been released, since back then you couldn't really check random online blogs to see what had leaked. So I had to venture out to several stores before I happened upon it, all of this goodwill presented primarily off of the strength of a verse from someone else's album. ( I used to do this a lot back in the day.  I miss having disposable income)

The verdict? You can read for yourself below. But I will ask this: I wonder of Big Noyd was marketed as a solo artist because he was too good for the Infamous Mobb, or because he wasn't good enough for Mobb Deep.

And what kind of rapper takes his name from a Domino's Pizza commercial character?

1. IT'S ON YOU
Album intro. (Groan.) The difference here, though, is that it appears as though Charlemagne's beat was given to Noyd, but he simply didn't have time to spit over it before getting locked up. So it has that going for it, which is nice.

2. THE PRECINCT
Yes, a skit. Yes, we are now two tracks into Episodes Of A Hustla before we've even heard a single song. What do you expect? Tommy Boy had to fill up the album somehow.

3. RECOGNIZE & REALIZE (PART I) (FEAT. PRODIGY)
The first (and only) single from Episodes Of A Hustla. Let me note here that the all the songs on the EP were produced by Havoc (unless otherwise noted), and for my money, when it comes to Mobb Deep and their affiliates, nobody's fucking with Havoc's early work. (Not even The Alchemist on his best day, and he has some bangers in his own catalog.)

4. ALL PRO (FEAT. TY NITTY, TWIN, and PRODIGY)
To this day, I still believe this to be the goofiest Havoc beat I've ever heard. But it still sounds really good. What a thrill and an honor for a former Mobb weed carrier have a solo album featuring the other Mobb weed carriers, huh?

5. INFAMOUS MOBB (FEAT. PRODIGY)
Oddly, this song does not featuring the Infamous Mobb. 

6. INTERROGATION
These skits would work better if this project were being handles properly. You shouldn't sequence an album around an already-weak concept when your artist isn't available to follow through.

7. USUAL SUSPECT
The first "solo" Big Noyd song, even though the credits list Prodigy as a writer. Hmm...

8. EPISODES OF A HUSTLA (FEAT. PRODIGY)
The beat for this song is fucking epic.

9. RECOGNIZE & REALIZE (PART II) (FEAT. MOBB DEEP)
Wouldn't sound out of place on Mobb Deep's Hell On Earth

10. I DON'T WANNA LOVE AGAIN (FEAT. SE'KOU)
I know, I know; I was turned off by the song title too. But if you actually listen to the song, it's actually pretty good. And the beat is hot. Noyd doesn't even show up until around the 2-minute mark; maybe this was for Se'Kou's album before Noyd got locked?

11. USUAL SUSPECT (STRETCH ARMSTRONG REMIX)
Pretty self-explanatory by the title, actually.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Episodes Of A Hustla is one of the best purchases I've ever made without knowing a single song beforehand. The beats are all The Infamous-era, so you know they're good. Noyd isn't the best rapper, and his subject matter (surprisingly, all about Buddhism and the importance of breakfast as a daily meal) hits all of the same notes as the rest of the Mobb Deep camp, but Episodes of a Hustla is a good EP that may have failed if it were a full-length album. All in all, good work, thanks in most part to Havoc's monster beatmaking. So, why doesn't Havoc handle all of the production on any of Noyd's subsequent releases?

BUY OR BURN? The problem is that this album is out of print, so it's not the easiest to find. The link is to the Amazon site, but the album is only available used. But if you can find it, get it; it is definitely worth your money. 

BEST TRACKS: "Episodes of a Hustla"; "All Pro"; "I Don't Wanna Love Again"; "Infamous Mobb"; "Recognize & Realize (Part I)"; "Recognize & Realize (Part II)"

-Max


7 comments:

  1. AmpGeez a.k.a. Amplified GrammarJanuary 30, 2008

    Classic album. Dudes are sleeping on Noyd. The way Havoc flips Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It" on the title track is pure genius.

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  2. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessMarch 01, 2008

    I checked this out after reading your review and it's well worth my time. I never knew it existed until you told me, so thanks for that. Havoc's production is definitely key here but it doesn't hurt that Prodigy is on 5 of the 8 tracks that feature rapping. Noyd is a hall of fame weed carrier but he manages to display his mic wrecking credentials on this disc. He's had a lot of ill appearances over the years, including the harbinger of Prodigy's doom that was "Burn". I just wish he would chill the fuck out so I could get my pizza on time. Hater.

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  3. Noyd's good, but he's nothing special. The highlights of this are Prodigy's verses and Havoc's awesome production.

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  4. AnonymousMay 31, 2009

    Noyd is a dope rapper. He's better than Havoc, that's for sure.

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  5. From what I have heard of this EP, I love. The title track, Usual Suspect, All Pro, all bangers. I think 'Infamous Mobb' is better than you gave it credit for. It is haunting man. Exactly the menacing Mobb music that crawls into your skin. Max, how about a review of The Latch Key Child? Very curious to hear your opinion.
    Anyway, thanks for this review. An underrated gem.
    Blake

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  6. Yay! This has been reissued in a sweet case! Ah thanks very much for your recommendation Max, I love early Mobb Deep but had no idea this existed. Cheers for the tip

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  7. Fuck the All Pro beat. Otherwise, well fucking done Mobb Deep!!!

    And Noyd is DEFINITELY a better rapper than Havoc. That dude should've discovered production early and should've never written a verse.

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