nobigdyl. ‘LOWERCASE TAPE’ A Celebration of Authenticity [Breakdown]
For weeks, indie tribe. founder nobigdyl. promoted the follow-up to his 2018 album, SOLAR. Releasing singles such as “EMCEE HAMMER,” “Fragile,” and “Energy,” as well as collaborating with fellow Christian rap artists 1K Phew, Canon, Jon Keith, and Steven Malcolm throughout 2019 has kept the former Capitol CMG artist busy.
Still, nothing could compare to the release of LOWERCASE TAPE. Touted by Dyllie as a mixtape rather than EP or album (more on the distinction here), the project assembles a proverbial “who’s who” of artists. Nonetheless, it is never weighed down by the features, instead, focusing on the “…feeling of having fun” that DJ Mykael V emphasizes on the introductory track, “RAFIKI INTRO.”
This concept, as well as a focus on identity, divine inspiration, and independence, are at the forefront of LOWERCASE TAPE, coming together to remind the listener, and perhaps dyl., who he really is.
CATCH UP – “Ay, got so many hits they think I’m juicin’ (Juicin’)/Yes, they say I’m a problem, call up Houston…”
Following DJ Mykael V’s call to remain true to himself, nobigdyl. emerges with a song of utter confidence. Dyl emphasizes his sheer talent with bars like, “…I just switched up the flow but I didn’t mess up,” “I don’t mean to stress ya, but you know that I’m the next up,” and “Had to flee the scene, I left the beat off in a stretcher.” Each line radiates confidence, in his own artistry, in his marriage, and in the indie tribe. collective.
The outro also uses vocals from Billboard artist of the decade, Drake. With this outro, Drake matches the tone of “CATCH UP” by emphasizing the power of creation, independence, and integrity, stating, “…everybody’s within the rules/[e]verybody’s doing their thing, all we are is proud and passionate.”
FIELDHOUSE FREESTYLE (ft. 1K Phew) – “Might be conceited, I give it to Jesus/He told me to drink from His chalice”
Fresh off their collaborations on “Bigger Than Me” and the Solar Powered tour, 1K Phew joins nobigdyl. to create a track that rejects inauthenticity while praising loyalty, childlike faith, and musical prowess. Dyllie’s verse contains shoutouts to indie tribe., further references to Tennessee, and a theological issue regarding Christian maturity and childlike faith.
Meanwhile, collaborator 1K Phew uses his unique flow on a lengthy verse that declares victory for Phew’s circle. Phew is well-aware of the blessings he has received and his own motivations, rapping, “[g]otta thank God for the folks that know me,” and “…the mission don’t change… [j]ust like Pinky and Brain.” By remaining true to their roots in Christ, their tribes (pun intended), and their own artistry, 1K Phew, and nobigdyl. will always have victory.
LOTTERY (ft. Kaleb Mitchell) – “Woulda gave it all up just for this dream/Didn’t know God was listening”
“LOTTERY” contrasts the confident bars proceeding this track, focusing on dyl and Mitchell’s dreams of becoming rappers and where their journeys have brought them. Dyl reflects on the content of his early music with a new maturity, recognizing that his focus on “…money and bad material,” as well as amassing female attention, was foolhardy. Yet, there is also a fondness for the friendships of the past.
Mitchell’s verse brings a similarly reflective tone, focusing on his earliest experiences in music and the mental health struggles caused by illness emerging in his mother. Where dyl focuses more on the entertaining aspects of his journey to hip-hop. Mitchell is less optimistic, rapping about the loneliness and depression he felt while concentrating on his craft, the exploitation of labels, and the financial burdens he dealt with as a young artist, including the basic cost of living and his mother’s chemotherapy.
DISCRETE (ft. Ty Brasel) – “Voices in my head, they won’t leave me…He still live inside me, I can’t play along…”
Emphasizing the power of privacy, Ty Brasel and nobigdyl. assemble to deliver a track addressing anxiety and the need to work at one’s own pace. In the chorus performed by Ty Brasel, the Destined For Greatness artist states, “I just stay lowkey, I like life better discrete;” while dyl’s verse says, “…nowadays I be duct off with the scriptures.” Dyllie invokes more emotion on the song, opening up about his struggles with anxiety, and difficulty maintaining relationships. Dyl also makes it clear that he has previously battled isolation, admitting to the heightened mental health issues that resulted. After these struggles, dyl concludes that his time spent alone is best used for intimacy with the Creator.
FAITH AND PATIENCE (ft. Parris Chariz) – “Only Master that I have was risen and ascended/That’s why I got my masters back, I do this independent…”
“FAITH AND PATIENCE” is dyl’s first musical address regarding his leaving Capitol CMG. Rather than bad-mouthing the label, the indie tribe. founder elects to focus on his appreciation of being an independent artist. Understanding that his style is not appreciated by all the masses, nobigdyl. has chosen to trust in God rather than dwelling in despair, proclaiming, “…I threw shots at Satan they were faith and patience/…God threw shots at Satan, he won’t make it.” World45 founder Parris Chariz follows dyl’s verse with a declaration of victory over his own career, as well as that of his entire team. Ultimately “FAITH AND PATIENCE” is Chariz and dyl’s sign of utter trust in God.
DAYDREAMS – “I asked Alexa, what’s my purpose, what’s my passion?/She said she couldn’t find that person or that address”
“DAYDREAMS” unites all the themes of LOWERCASE TAPE into one song, simultaneously expressing nobigdyl.’s struggles in finding himself, God’s provision over the artist’s life, and the musical success he has seen recently. While dyl reminds listeners of his struggles with past romances, cockiness, and substance abuse, God seeing dyl through all of it has inspired the artist to “…wear this cross just like a bow-tie/[e]ven when I’m a lowlife.”
TWO WEEKS NOTICE (ft. Aaron Cole) – “Tell me change for the money, I’d rather lie in the dirt”
With “TWO WEEKS NOTICE,” dyl reveals more detail as to why he left Capitol CMG, explaining that he felt restricted in his dealings with the label. Where CMG did encourage dyl to put out additional content, he never felt true to himself while signed. Dyllie goes as far as to claim that the label asked him to change his style, a move he equates with selling his own soul. As such, dyl chose to leave Capitol CMG and has found freedom in returning to his position as an independent artist.
Walking away from the distribution, money, and capabilities that come with signing to a label is a difficult decision for any artist, yet nobigdyl. did so with success beyond measure. As revealed on his Instagram page, in less than a week, LOWERCASE TAPE has already crossed over half a million streams. While these numbers are nowhere near guaranteed, it is clear that by remaining true to his own artistry, dyl is continuing to build an organic fan base, and having fun while doing it. All nobigdyl. content belongs to the indie tribe. founder himself, and is a testament to genuine authenticity. Dyllie is a representative of a new attitude in recording music, one that does not rely on a label to carry an artist to success, but an undying trust in the God who appointed these creatives to shine the light with their lyrics.