Rapper Royce da 5’9”’s Heaven Studios is bustling with the kind of energy you would expect on a Friday night. There’s producers and engineers behind the boards in the control room, and artists in and out the vocal booth. In a separate room, the emcee known as Pariis Noel is sitting on a set of aluminum bleachers as large paintings from Sheefy McFly hover behind him. He’s accompanied by his photographer, videographer, and PR assistant Chris Hundley.
When we last checked in with Noel he had just landed a track on Netflix’s animated film, [email protected], and had completed an album with fellow Detroiter Lorenzo Burez titled Energy Never Lies, which was distributed through Roc Nation’s Eqdistro imprint with the guidance of Rel Carter.
“Energy Never Lies was basically us creating this thing we felt,” Noel says. “Everybody was always telling us, ‘When ya’ll both get on records together the energy is crazy, it's cohesive.’”
Even though the album dropped last year, the duo is still pushing it as if it's a new release.
“We’re pushing the needle because it's still fresh and it still hasn’t went global,” Noel says.
Songs like “Run It Up” and “Risky” are bass- and bounce-heavy hood tales that bang equally in a car or in a club. “Chosen One” and “Unease” are more melodic and groovy, while “Good and Bad” highlights Noel’s lyrical craftsmanship.
Noel has always taken pride at being a craftsman behind the mic.
“Lately been losing sleep/ my heart teach me to follow his beat/ moving the way I think/ telekinesis is down to a T/ dotting both of my eyes like in my name to be sure I can see/ ideas floating through tides creating waves more uncontrollably/ distancing myself socially...” he raps.
“It's always going to be polished, something deep,” Noel says. “It’s going to be fun, too, and aggressive. I’m just an unapologetically vulnerable Black man using music to create things that outlive me.”
Noel’s relationship with Carter has been beneficial educationally and financially. Noel was a part of the Rel Carter Culture Tour, featured on the 2019 album Rel Carter Presents: No Handouts, and expects to be on a second edition of No Handouts that Carter announced in January.
“It’s shown me a way that I can make the moves I want to make as far as putting things out creatively,” Noel says, adding, “I’m always closely working with Rel however I’m implemented on it. I can’t tell how his vision is going to be for it but he knows I’m down to suit up.”
Noel is one of several emerging emcees that's found financial opportunities beyond the traditional musical aspirations of hip-hop artists. Having a billion streams and awards is always the goal, but commercial endeavors have also proven to build fanbases and bank accounts the same. He has a project with Michael "The Hip-Hop Architect" Ford in the works, a song that was recently highlighted on an episode of Showtime’s Everything’s Gonna Be All White, and he brokered a partnership with Inception, a mental health gym based in Farmington Hills.
“I reached out to David (McCullar), he embraced me. He heard my music and he wanted to offer me a brand ambassadorship,” Noel says. “I want to get these music labels and the industry overall to partner with Inception in the mental health world because it's important that these artists have hubs and ways that they can escape.”
He’s also doing a collaboration with the Detroit Pistons for the 2023 draft that incorporates his song, “Draft Pick.”
“I have to thank Adrian Tonan, who works at the mayor's office [...] He actually invited me to the Pistons’ early bird voting event in 2020,” Noel says. “We talked about a couple of records they wanted me to create and the relationship started trailblazing from there.”
Noel’s collabs haven’t been limited to commercial industries. He also recently started working with hip-hop legend Street Lord Juan, who first heard Noel’s music when was incarcerated.
“Me and him just really working,” Noel says. “There’s been a lot of mentorship, a lot of relationship building. Me and him worked on a record and he already gave me the green light that this going on the album.”
Even though Noel has a lot of proverbial logs in the fire, one of his primary goals is to make sure his sophomore album meets his own expectations. He’s trying to prepare the material for a possible 2023 release, but also plans to release an EP or mixtape before that. He states the album has been “years in the making,” and he feels fans will see more growth in his body of work.
“Honestly, just putting pressure on myself, always trying to make sure I’m always staying sharp, and learning and exploring and not putting myself into a box,” he says.
Pariis Noel will be making a special guest appearance at DJ Mix’s “One Dope” on Monday, April 4 at Studio 51, 1995 Woodbridge St., Detroit. Doors at 9 p.m.
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