Aspiring MCs must be supremely lyrical, organically different, or both to hold the attention of hip-hop fans – especially since today’s rappers release music at breakneck speeds. After years of perfecting his craft, newcomer ANoyd is building himself up to become one of the game’s most respected and lyrically gifted MCs. To go along with his chiefly intelligent flow and wittiness, the Bloomfield, Connecticut native feeds listeners moral instructions and adds substance to the culture.
After graduating high school, the artist born Dashorn Whitehead turned his hobby of rapping into a career. His freshman mixtape ANoydwithLife dropped in 2014, followed by 2015’s Autumn in Sinsinati. Last year, he hit fans with A Time and Place EP. With a host of singles and freestyles on Sway in the Morning and a Hot 97 freestyle session with Funk Flex, ANoyd is destined to bubble.
The 26-year-old arms himself with penetrating edification, invasive lyricism, as well as a menacing flow. The fledging lyricist unforgivingly slashes through pockets of instrumentals with a “f**k you” attitude while viciously slaughtering opponents. But when he’s not flexing his rewind-worthy wordplay, ANoyd is shelling out guidance. With one listen to his recently released project #BlameItOnJayZ, listeners get an ear-full of rhymes about respecting women, self-esteem issues, and in his opinion, rappers who dilute the culture by boasting about drug use. In fact, the rookie rapper came up with his stage name because he was annoyed with mediocre hip-hop.
Following the release of his latest effort, ANoyd stopped by VIBE‘s office to discuss his album, being vulnerable, and the creative process behind #BlameItOnJayZ.
VIBE: #BlameItOnJayZ is a striking title. For those who haven’t listened to it yet, explain its meaning.
ANoyd: When I sat with JAY-Z’s 4:44 I was immediately inspired by it. Nothing sounds like that. The fuel that I used to listen to 4:44, I used the same fuel to create. So as soon as I heard it, I hopped in the studio immediately.
What was the first song that you created for the project after listening to 4:44, and how did the album flow from the first recordings?
One of the first records that I made is “My Joy.” Then I recorded “Guns,” but that didn’t make the project. I sent them over to management, and they said, ‘Stay in that space.’ As you can see, the vibe that I was on is definitely reflected in the music.
Did you discuss song topics with your team, or did they just let you do your thing?
We kept bouncing ideas off the table. We said we should make a record called “Just a Fan,” and we’re going to talk about this. And we’re going to make a record called “Tears Echo,” and we’re going to talk about this. Everything was really calculated. Next thing you know, we have a bunch of dope music. We didn’t even tell anyone on the team. We kept it on the hush and just focused on the art-form. I wanted to rap and get my message across.
You said something earlier about not marketing this project. Being that you’re not on the level where you’d like to be, I assume, why did you decide not to market #BlameItOnJayZ?
I feel like the title is marketing in itself. When you see #BlameItOnJayZ, you’re like, ‘Oh, I got to listen to that. What is he blaming on him?’ And we have new people discovering it, too. It’s like, ‘I clicked on the title because it looks like something I want to listen to.’ So the title is a huge marketing plan. When we put the title on IG, people asked, ‘Is it a song, an album, and video?’
One of the things I enjoy is your vulnerability. Is that something that’s always been with you or something that you had to learn?
I always wanted to just tell it like it is because people connect with you more when they feel like you are a real person. We all go through things. We all go through life. No one is perfect. I get messages often like, ‘This made me not want to commit suicide’ or ‘This made me keep going to school.’ It doesn’t even have to be music related. You can be a doctor, a lawyer, or whatever. I got a record called “Altitude,” off the BRGNDI album (Once In A BRGNDI Moon), it’s still getting traction today because it’s super vulnerable.
On that album, I’m telling them what I went through; getting fired from my job, crashing my car in the same week and just going through a bunch of things. I had a show — I was supposed to open for Bryson Tiller, and I found out the day of the show that they didn’t want anyone opening up. That broke my heart. I was super excited, had my new outfit. You’re always going to win when you’re open and honest.
I can tell that you have a close relationship with your mom. What about your relationship with your father?
I have the typical story. My dad left when I was young but once I got older I realized that my dad was on the same path that I’m on. There weren’t any social media then, so you had to get out there, and he was doing the reggae thing. He had to be in Jamaica. You can’t be in Connecticut. I hated my father in the beginning, but as I grew as a man, I realized that he was trying to better himself. Now that I think about it, if I was in his position, I don’t know what I would do.
What’s your most memorable mixtape?
Autumn in Sinsinati. We were in the streets with that, at Wiz Khalifa’s concerts. Pace and I were in my room putting together CDs—by ourselves. Every time I think about that and think about how far we came, we were really out there passing them out. Nobody knew who I was.
How did that go for you?
It was rough, it was a journey and nobody knew me. One time, dude didn’t want to take the CD. I said, ‘Oh, you don’t want to take the CD?’ I just started rapping [Laughs]. He said, ‘I’m about to listen to this when I get in the car’ [Laughs]. You have to show people that you’re passionate.
What do you love most about creating?
Taking things that I went through and put them in a song. I had a conversation with my sister, she didn’t think she was beautiful because she doesn’t have long hair, or doesn’t have this. Even “Tears Echo,” I went through that, and I can listen back to my music and honestly say that I’m living what I say in my raps.
Stream #BlameItOnJayZ below.