He’s “small and stocky” but Queensbridge’s rowdiest, Big Noyd, always projects a larger-than-street-life persona on record. His furious style, first immortalized on ’Bridge brethren Mobb Deep’s 1995 rap classic “Give Up the Goods,” ran roughshod over his bid-rushed 1996 debut EP, Episodes of a Hustla; his long-awaited debut full-length, 2003’s Only the Strong Survive; and countless B-sides, mixtape appearances and Mobb Deep tracks. The dun also rises, Carhartted and Polo’d down, with On the Grind, his second full-length.
Cognizant of the infamous nature of his fame, Noyd falls back for more than half of the fourteen-song collection, beginning with the third track, “Most Famous.” H.N.I.C. Prodigy blazes Havoc’s sample-driven backdrop before passing the torch to the competent Noyd, whose “knuck if you buck” verbals complement the juvenile-turned-veteran hell raiser. Clique-minded Noyd throws some more shine to QBC’s Godfather Pt. III, who effectively takes the words out of hip-hop heads’ collective mouth on the hoody hook, “When you think of that real shit: vision the infamous.”
Sometimes-friend and rumored foe Alchemist assumes the reigns on the furtive “Louder.” Hook-free with an arctic keyboard loop, Noyd’s two gritty verses to Prodigy’s one seize the murky project streetlight in full. A timely lament of studio gangstas in general and of South Jamaica’s Game-ousting 50 Cent in particular, “Louder” witnesses Big Noyd at his rancorous best: “But I’m trying to flip and change my ways but not my techniques: all the techs when I walk, techs when I talk, techs when I sleep.” Still the unobtrusive Prodigious one leaves his indelible mark: “Catch niggas having they fun and we ruin it.”
Although Ric Rude’s careless contributions, especially the fat-free club dud “Come Thru,” threaten to ruin On the Grind, Noyd’s distinctive criminally minded commentary buoys the album. Noyd “stabs and blasts” through stealth selections “Ain’t Too Much,” “Money Rolls” and the ghetto-centric “Hoody Like That,” exhibiting QB alum Ron Artest’s indiscriminate impetuousness: “Either we nickel and diming or got a jump shot or the gun pop or nigga ya rhyming.” Look elsewhere for life’s full spectrum. Big Noyd remains agreeably faithful to hustling On the Grind.