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Submitted by Tyler Knockwood

Recently, my cousin (and personal favourite lyricist/artist) B-Noq stopped by my apartment for an interview. We covered many topics—his goals as a musician, suicide, jail time, the need for clean drinking water for all reservations across Canada, and being aboriginal in hip hop, among other things. 

I started by asking him who he was listening to growing up? Who influenced him? He said, “Anything my cousin (Greg) was listening to—anything to do with West Coast hip-hop, mostly. Westside Connection, W.C, anything by 2pac. I didn’t really listen to Biggie growing up, man. Well, I was young and they were in a beef. I was picking sides I guess. After, like when I grew up, I was like Biggie is the shit. Who else did I listen to? Mobb Deep, Nas.”

“I don't remember how old I was when I first heard rap but I was blown away. I was like ‘they’re swearing. This shit’s crazy!’ My cousin had a bunch of CDs, so I would like go into his room and put on whatever. Boyz in the Hood soundtrack.”

I told him my wife and I bumped Ear Drugs (B-Noq’s first album) the whole way to Eskasoni on our honeymoon. “We’re both huge fans of your music.” He responded, “Thanks! I appreciate that, that’s dope man. Ya that’s one of my favourites. I always wanted to make my own album, like my way. There are some hooks on there but I was like I’m just going to rap, don’t tell me when to stop… One of my homies Fortunato, he ended up going on tour with Onyx (Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr, Sonny Seeza, Big DS). Onyx was one of the ones I was listening to growing up. Sticky Fingaz was insane along with Fredro Starr. So Fortunato posted a status on Facebook who’s album should I show Onyx? Everybody was like ‘show them B-Noq, Ear Drugs, Ear Drugs, Ear Drugs’. So they listed to pretty much my whole album. The second last track I think it was Beast Coast with City Natives that’s the one where they were just like wow.”

After that I asked, “So what was that like? Watching your idols listen to your music, because it was live streamed to you right?” He surprised me by saying, “Ya I was watching the live stream like sweating the whole…time man. There was a few times though where he was like ohh, like critiquing my shit a little bit. I’m like ah ok alright well at least he didn’t say I sucked. It was surreal though when he was like ‘hip-hop lives up in the north, real hip-hop is here.’ That was insane to me.”

Later I asked him about the recent contest he was involved in. Lil Windex was one of the judges. B-Noq said, “I got my shit shared on DTG by Lil Windex…Dylan is his name. He likes my shit, he’s a fan of B-Noq. Got a co-sign from Lil Windex, thats pretty dope.”

I had already known that B-Noq and another group City Natives (Beaatz, IllFundz, Gearl & BnE) from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were close. What I didn’t know was that they had done a show together in L.A. He said, “City Natives did a lot for me…They took me on the Beast Coast tour, that’s when I got my first taste of it, like touring. After that I hustled my way to L.A. to perform with them at a venue called Universal Bar in North Hollywood.” 

We got on the topic of KOTD (king of the dot, battle rap league). He told me “ Pat Stay (former KOTD champion) is one my homies and his brother is dope as hell too, I’m renting a place from his brother. Ya his brother is a real genuine dude, and Pat too but he’ll bust your ball though. One of the best battle rappers in the world. I bought a car off him. My Cadillac, I bought off him. I got to go to an event for KOTD, a private event. IllFundz knew Organik so they got me on the guest list for the venue, The Bunker.”

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