Within a music industry apparently intent on making us believe that stars rise effortlessly from a YouTube video or a track uploaded to a SoundCloud account, Los Angeles native Nocando embodies the idea of hard work, multiple revenue streams and being proactive.
Former battle rap champion, host of world-famous beat scene hub Low End Theory, co-owner of the Cosmic Zoo, co-host of Podcast Shots Fired, label head of Hellfyre Club and a recording artist in his own right: it seems unlikely that James McCall ever utters his musical moniker when answering the call to a new opportunity.
Last month he added DJ to this list, playing his first set at Low End Theory, and just last week he published his first article with LA Weekly. “There’s other mediums that I want to use my creativity in as well,” he says. “This was really just a way for me to test if I was a creative dude. ‘Can I write a 1,500-word article and keep people’s attention?’ Let’s see.”
The article – Battle Rap: I’m Just Not That Into You – addresses an issue that he deals with on an almost daily basis: the question of his return to the battle scene.
“I fell out of love with it and I wasn’t able to look somebody in the eye and say, ‘F*ck that, that’s for children,’ because I didn’t want to let that person down. People may have thought I was some hard-ass, angry, battle rapper guy, but in reality I first started doing that shit when I was 17. I’m 31 now. I feel like it was morally conflicting and I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons.
“When I was younger, I was doing it because I was a weirdo and I would get attacked, so I was basically defending myself all the time. When I became the guy doing it for the attention or for some money, I just felt like I was doing some shit I didn’t want to do. Even when I was winning, like on the day of Scribble Jam in 2007, I was like, ‘I want the money, but I’d rather not be here.’”