Hip hop delivered as “ghetto gospel” and “inspirational street music.”
Outlawz will be bringing it to Chilliwack on Nov. 24 at Echo Room on their Perfect Timing Tour (Canada Remembers 2Pac).
Young Noble of Outlawz spoke to a Progress reporter recently from his home in Atlanta, Georgia.
Outlawz, formally Outlaw Immortalz, was founded by ground-breaking rap artist 2Pac in late 1995. Young Noble was later added and appeared on 2Pac’s album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.
The spirit and the work ethic of Tupac Shakur, who went by the stage name 2Pac or just Pac, lives on in the three-man Outlawz crew, said Noble.
“We still busy touring and recording and trying to make being positive cool,” he said.
Noble was the last official Outlawz member, hand-picked to join the group by Tupac himself. He was introduced to him by Kadafi and Hussein Fatal in Los Angeles, a few months before he was murdered.
Noble appeared in many of 2Pac’s last recordings, was featured heavily on his last album and the now legendary The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.
He says he’s proud to have come under “the tutelage” of Pac, whom he credits as “the greatest rap artist of all time.”
Tupac’s early work was extremely socially conscious, taking on issues like inner-city poverty and racism in his lyrics, but he also had run-ins with the law, with other rap groups, and violent episodes followed him, culminating his the drive-by shooting that killed him in Las Vegas on Sept. 7, 1996. Members of Outlawz later admitted they had smoked some of Tupac’s ashes with marijuana, to honour one his last wishes.
Today Noble said he tend to be critical of any artist who tries to use the excuse of being a rapper “for being an a**hole.”
“That’s what our listeners get from us; being positive, doing the right thing, being leaders. Hell yeah.”
Outlawz have built “a pretty loyal” fan base over the years, putting out albums periodically as well as mixtapes. Their music speaks to “the hopeless” and lost souls, Noble explained.
“It’s the feeling you get. We like to talk directly to the people in need of inspiration and hope.
“Our stage show is bananas. We’ll play some of the classics and some new stuff. The only thing missing is 2Pac.”
He’s enjoyed several fulfilling collaborations.
“I would say the most fun is making music with Young Buck. He has the same kinda work ethic as us and Tupac. It’s going to be done in a timely manner. And we post songs that mean something.”
The solid reaction they get from fans is “a blessing.”
“That’s our reward. People write us from jail. They get inspired from our music.”
Outlawz will be at Echo Room, Nov. 24, in a Hip Hop for Hunger themed event, where everyone is being asked to bring a canned food item for the food bank.
Noble said whoever came up with that idea is “a genius.”
“It’s a great idea. We’ll help a cause, especially one like that to feed people.”
On the afternoon of the show, at 4 p.m there will be a meet-and-greet and autograph signing session with Outlawz at Clydesdale Entertainment on Spadina Avenue near the corner of Main Street.
Outlawz, Thurs. Nov. 24, Echo Room, $15, doors at 9, show at 11.