When I first heard Che Noir, I immediately thought of a line spit by Rapsody, another peerless MC: “I’m still that rapper that your favorite rapper scared to rap after.”
Because, damn, Noir is straight *fire*. She lights up her tracks and anyone who might dare cross her with tightly-wrought lines, snappy brags, a burning intensity, and an aggressive stance in the traditions of East Coast hip-hop and battle rap.
Noir first stopped me in my tracks with the song Fall of Rome from her 2019 EP The Thrill of the Hunt 2. She crushes it, delivering bristling, often bruising, smart and layered rhymes over an incredible beat by producer 38 Spesh.
Wasn't overnight, I got it at a slow pace /
I just got on every single beat and I told pain /
Did it ten toes, that's two feet on the ground /
My food for thought is like a cooked meal from deep in the South /
The living room was like a bedroom, had to sleep on the couch /
Opportunity's knocking, I give it keys to the house.
Hailing from Buffalo, NY, Noir is part of a hotbed of upstate New York hip-hop talent coming out of that city (Conway The Machine; Westside Gunn; and Benny the Butcher are the most well-known). Her hometown is a predominant subject in her songs. It’s atmosphere of grittiness, street violence, and competition for respect and authenticity features strongly in her persona. As Conway The Machine shared in an interview, “We ain’t really have the opportunities that up-and-coming artists from other cities might have. So we always had a chip on our shoulder when we rapped—everybody wanted to just battle each other to prove they were the best in the city.”
Noir is thriving in that artistic crucible. This Friday, February 14, she’ll drop her full-length debut album, Juno. The track, Prey, is an early single from the record and it further burnishes Noir’s credentials. She instantly commands the mic and your attention with a flow that is urgent, without being rushed; rhymes that are deft and clever, but still cutting and direct; and a brash attitude that is fully-justified.
"Prayed for better times while n****s preyed I'd lose /
I payed my dues /
We ain't got the same size shoes /
I'm gonna be the best in whatever lane I choose /
Stayed on my grind, now my dreams feel like deja vu."
Noir isn’t messing around. She’s steady rising and has plenty of daylight ahead of her. Look for Juno, out this Friday, 2/14 and follow Che Noir on social media and all online platforms.