Scarce opportunity prompts ingenuity. Alabama might be the sixth poorest state in the nation, but the perceived pain only fuels its creative community. Born and raised in the projects of Mobile, NoCap channels struggle into a melodic hip-hop choir carried by his airtight control of melody, pitch, range, and rhymes. Within a year, he independently put up tens of millions of streams and views, earned acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, drawing attention from several major labels.

Touting a versatility of his own, he seamlessly turns adversity into anthems.

At eight-years-old, NoCap picked up his first performance experience in a rap group alongside his brother and stepfather’s godson. He shut down skating rinks, parks, and block parties, developing his voice along the way. He always devoured as many genres as possible. Without limiting himself to one particular style, he listened to everyone from Future, Plies, and Young Thug to Adele and Charlie Puth.

2019 saw the release of his single “Ghetto Angels,” amassing 2.5 million YouTube views in under a month. Additionally, it was christened Pitchfork’s “New Rap Song of the Day. Over airy keys, his otherworldly voice builds from emotionally charged verses into a towering refrain. It borders both hood and gospel as he croons, “I’m protected by these ghetto angels. The song showcases the scope of his signature style.

The single also set the stage for his 2019 mixtape, The Backend Child. The project hinges on his creative, clever, and catchy wordplay and lyrically airtight bars. Each track shares a striking and signature story, which he describes as “my real life, truth, and what I go through. That covers the entire spectrum. Speaking to the club on “Intoxicated” and “Set It Off” and going hard on “New Ones” with Quando Rondo, the project adheres to the honesty hinted at by his name.

“The meaning of NoCap is you’re always telling the truth—basically,” he says. “You’re telling no lies. Everything is truth. It’s what I want to do.”