“I am a hip-hop artist from Nashville, Tennessee, the founding member of indie tribe, trying to bring light to darkness through music.”
The origins of the title nobigdyl. came from a sense of humility. “The heart behind it is that my music isn’t about me.” The last part of the name, “dyl,” comes from his first name, Dylan.
nobigdyl. has been a fan of hip-hop for his entire life. When he was young, his mother didn’t let him listen to it, but his father secretly did on occasion. “In my formative years, it became something that I really enjoyed. I just always loved the rhythm and the poetry with it.”
He started rapping at age seven. “My uncle is a drummer. We would go see him play in jazz clubs and there would be spoken word poetry artists also.” By age ten, nobigdyl was in love with performing spoken word poetry, writing his own poems and participating in contests.
“By sixth grade I started a rap group with two of my friends called South Side Epidemic. We were actually downloading beats and rapping over them or trying to make beats on the demo version of Fruity Loops.”
In the first nine years of his life, nobigdyl’s father’s job had taken their family to nine different states. “Everywhere we would move, mom would have us in a church.” Throughout his youth, he said he looked at faith as the key to being good. “I just thought that getting good grades, not talking back, going to church, those were all the same thing.”
He always believed in Jesus, “but there wasn’t an outworking of that faith in my life. That really started to be evident in my teens.” Though nobigdyl. was a believer, he said as a teenager he was very selfish and self-centered.
“My faith didn’t really become my own until I went to college.”
He knew that since his parents were no longer there, it was up to him whether he was going to practice his faith. “My pastor at the time preached a sermon, he was in James [chapter] 2…”
James 2:17-19 (NIV) reads, “’In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.’”
nobigdyl. had always known that is was important to believe in the Gospel, “but that showed me that that intellectual belief, no matter how factually that belief is held, by itself, if there’s no outworking in your life as Jesus as your Lord… that doesn’t make you any different that the demons.”
“Does my belief actually produce a lifestyle that reflects what I say I believe?”
Answering that question and beginning to live out his faith was the eye-opener that made the difference for nobigdyl.
In February 2017, nobigdyl. released his debut album, Canopy. His album charted well on the iTunes hip-hop charts and within a week he got calls from five record labels “but Capitol [Christian Music Group] was not one of them.” Considering all these inquiries, he decided to talk to his friend, Marty from Social Club Misfits, and ask for advice on whether to sign to a label or stay independent.
“He was like, ‘Stop your thought process. I’m gonna send your music to the head A&R at Capitol.’ I didn’t really believe him. I thought he was just joking.”
Within five minutes, nobigdyl. received a call from this A&R saying, “Just heard your song “Treetops.” I wanna go get coffee.” After they first met, over a period of months, nobigdyl. and the staff at Capitol got to know each other better and eventually they approached him with a record deal, which he announced earlier this year.
Last month, nobigdyl. released his first album with Capitol Christian Music Group, SOLAR.
“One thing that I don’t want to do is dictate to people what my music is supposed to be and how they’re supposed to hear it.”
He does want to use SOLAR to encourage listeners “that none of their pain is in vain. Their scars are there to help them grow and also to help other people grow.” Nobigdyl says that if people can open up and share their stories, they become better and also benefit those who listen.
Several of the songs on SOLAR speak about marriage. “It’s kind of like my faith in that I honestly didn’t sit down and say, ‘Ok, I’m gonna write about my marriage.” nobigdyl. says his marriage is like his faith in how “it’s so much a part of my life that if I’m just writing, its gonna come out.”
A promo video for the album shows him and his wife arguing. “I’m trying to show reality in that. I’m trying to counter the cultural narrative that when you get married, it’s like this fairy tale and everything is great.” He says that marriage is full of struggle, growth, and change, “but I also want to counter the narrative that marriage is this prison.”
nobigdly. used the words, “wonderful,” “terrible,” “amazing,” and “hard” to describe marriage.
“Joy and peace and growth in marriage does not come cheap. It comes at a price and the price is sacrificial love and understanding and becoming selfless.”
“Be A Man” features fellow indie tribe member WHATUPRG and is inspired by “the fact that it took me so long to become one.” nobigdyl. says that in hip-hop culture, a man’s relationship to a woman is very dominative, noting women are described as “things to be conquered. Notches on your belt or your bedpost. They exist to build the male ego, to be used by the male for pleasure and status.”
He says that women are as valuable and important as men, and that women should be seen like men as people created in the image of God. “That song is an encouragement to reject those toxic narratives.”
“Every time Drake drops a song, a bunch of people who are not Drake, who are just normal people, because they love Drake they want to feel connected to his lyrics, they adopt some of their lyrics and their meanings to apply to themselves.”
Nobigdyl’s song “Enemies” is inspired by Drake’s song “God’s Plan” where Drake talks about his enemies and haters.
“Most of us don’t actually have multiple people who hate them and wish bad things upon them, but it makes us feel good in our ego [to say that].”
Instead of making an anthem about his enemies, nobigdyl decided to write about how he doesn’t have any. Over the years he has had some animosity in relationships with others, but “over the past few years I’ve tried to, as long as it’s up to me, live peaceably with everyone and try to rectify those situations.”
“Bad Motives” is inspired by the idea that you can do amazing things, but if your motives aren’t right, “whatever you’re doing can be just as wrong as if you were just doing the wrong thing.” Thinking of his youth, nobigdyl. Considers that he always tried to be a good person but did not do it out of genuine faith.
“cordial” and “psycho heart” are both about dating and marriage relationships. Nobigdyl has seen that many Christians are hesitating to write about such relationships but wants to give listeners his Christian perspective on those topics.
“When a believer goes through a breakup or falls in love, they’re just gonna listen to “How Great is Our God.” That’s not true. They’re gonna listen to Taylor Swift, or if they’re upset they’re gonna listen to whatever, hip-hop, Eminem. Why not make a soundtrack and make music for all of those emotions from somebody who has gone through that stuff, but I’m not gonna lead you down a road of self-destruction or disrespect of women or violence or turning to drugs or anything like that.”
Outside of music, nobigdyl. enjoys spending time in the outdoors.
“I like being in nature. I like being on the water. I like hiking, four-wheelers, all of that.”
“No song that I ever wrote will be [that] I just wrote a song for no reason. It definitely is autobiographical and I’m pulling from situations in my life.”