Indie tribe rapper nobigdyl. spoke to us about his latest project Canopy and broke down the album track by track to paint the picture of this deep weaving concept.

Tree Tops

“Tree Tops” is an introduction to nobigdyl. for those who are not familiar with me and it also introduces the theme of the album. It’s the arch of experiencing some success and creating a parallel to rising up the corporate ladder, like climbing a tree does…becoming prideful, becoming competitive and looking down on people and God saying, ‘this is not what I called you to be. These are not the gifts I’ve given you’. He then brings me back down to Earth. The hook is kind of prefacing the fall I had after adopting those attitudes.

Burn

“Burn” gets into the meat of the concept. It dives deeper chronicling my super competitive nature of music through my first few projects. The music became about competition, it became about doing better than my brothers who are on a mission with me, and about being recognized for my gifts and talents while I’m not recognizing the giver of those gifts and talents. I’m kind of building this empire of affirmation and accomplishment and then, God burning that down. God came and said, ‘You gotta go back to the drawing board’. “Tree Tops” and “Burn” set the overarching theme of the album and go together. “Tree Tops” is the forest and “Burn” is the forest fire.

Video

“Video” kind of feels like a departure for some people and doesn’t seem like it would fit…because of everything that happened in 2015 and 2016 that I was talking about in “Tree Tops” and “Burn,” it also caused pressure and conflict in my marriage. When God leveled everything out and said, ‘Start over again’, we rebuilt a lot of things in our marriage. The depth of video is that the feeling of the song, the concept of the song, everything in that song is true, it’s not fabricated. That’s how I feel about my wife. The message is that this can all be true even after everything we went through.

Doors and Suicide Nets

The working title for those two songs were “Suicide Doors” and “Suicide Nets.” Originally wanted to take suicide out of both titles and have it implied, but I thought that was too ambitious.

“Suicide Doors” is just about the different circumstances and thought processes and things that happen in our lives that lead them to these darker thoughts of loneliness, despair, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts. The first part of the song is one door, one character. The second part is from a female perspective, from another door. It’s supposed to be these different doors that lead to these thoughts. The chorus, the person is clearly searching for the door that leads to hope, but a lot of times we mistake what gives us freedom and joy or affirmation from somebody. Or, we think it’s our reputation whether that be athletic prowess, sexual promiscuity, or using people with power. The first verse is about power and the second verse is about affirmation, two doors that promise to lead to hope but ultimately lead to despair.

“They say one door closes another one opens/ Which one leads to where the hope is?/
I might choose the wrong one…And I’m free to leave it” is referring to suicide.

“Suicide Nets” comes in right after that question with the answer to where the hope is. It’s fulfillment and joy, and that’s Jesus Christ. It comes right in with, ‘Emmanuel catch you when you fall He the hand you held’, the only door that leads to Him.

Purple Dinosaur

“Purple Dinosaur” is about the family. It’s about coming together in love and brotherhood and celebrating that. In the context of the album, what God used to start to rebuild my life and marriage, he used people that walked alongside us and pointed us toward Christ. They celebrated our triumphs and locked arms when we were crying.

Venus

“Venus” was the aggressive track. God brought people along in my life to help me heal and to point me toward him. He started showing me glimpses of my past sin, and situations that led me to doubt and to damaged relationships. God brought me to a place where I was winning. “Venus” is like that proclamation of that victory where I’ve been through the battlefield and God has defeated enemies on my behalf.

Siblings

“Siblings” is in the realm of “Purple Dinosaur.” You have your church family but then you have those people who are with you day-by-day, and even if you don’t see them for years, that’s your family regardless of how long it’s been. You just have that bond. You guys have been through the fire together. I wrote the hook first and that’s the theme of the song.

Shade Tree

“Shade Tree” is definitely one of my favorite and deepest songs on here. That ‘shade tree save me from myself’ is a very important quote from the album. It’s on all my merch right now.

The metaphor is that God is the shade that saves me from myself. We started off with “Tree Tops” where I’m high on my own accomplishments looking down at everybody. “Burn” is God burning down my forest. Then he builds me back up with community and accountability and shows me the relationships in my life that I can trust no matter what. He defeats my enemies and gives me victories and in light of all that he’s effectively brought me out of Egypt and just like the Israelites, sometimes I’m tempted to look back and foolishly be like, ‘No, I had it better in Egypt’. Throughout this whole process, another forest has grown but I’m tempted about the old one. So the shade tree, which is God, saves me from going back.

In the verses, it discusses us as a body collectively not looking back toward sins. We’re trying to look forward, look toward God the shade tree, to save us from temptation and sin.

The clip at the end is my pastor. It fit perfectly at the end and was from a sermon about a month before completing.

Morning

“Morning” is a conclusion that restates everything. It chronicles part of my younger life. It’s the things that happened when I was young that planted the seeds of what would happen in my first forest. The middle of the song is like what those grew into. I’m then asking if there is forgiveness for someone like me. Then at the end, it’s just like a celebration of how God came among the destruction and ruin and gave me life and resurrected me.

“I take my mask and my right hand and throw it like ultimate frisbee/
Saw the devil catch it then he threw it back to try and tempt me/
Say this narrow path for me is impossible for me like I’m Kimmy/
I know He is right but if I’m with Christ I’m Ledecky swimming”

God let me know that ‘You can’t do this by yourself’. You will fail. If you are rooted in that there’s nothing that can be done for the kingdom. It’s morning, no more darkness.

Check back with Rapzilla next week to learn about some of the changes Canopy went through. For instance, did you know that the way the album was released, is not really the way it was meant to be heard? Find out next week.

Listen to nobigdyl. on the Rapzilla Podcast with Chris Chicago.

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