Locally based rapper Schama Noel is on the rise to fame

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Collegian | Garrett Mogel

Denver alternative hip-hop rapper Schama Noel speaks live on-air during an interview in the Fort Collins radio station KCSU 90.5 FM Oct. 2. “My first song was probably just a poem,” Noel said. “In the fourth grade, my teacher read it to the class, and I think that was the first time putting rhymes together. My first actual song (would) probably be (around) 16 (years old) or 10th grade. That is when I can physically remember just taking the microphone from music class, which I gave back. I didn’t have the means, and not only the means, but my parents would not have me rapping.”

Alex Hasenkamp, Arts and Entertainment Director

Rapper Schama Noel is rapidly growing his fan base as more local news sources and music lovers acknowledge his talent. He visited the KCSU radio station Sunday morning and told his story to a live audience. 

Noel currently has five albums released on Spotify and a few hot singles in the mix. According to a recent article from Westword, his original influx of popularity came from his Twitter account @RapLike. The account features posts with photos of well-known rappers, such as Jay-Z, and next to them, lyrics Noel wrote that emulate the style of the displayed artist. 

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“Taking different techniques from the greats and being able to combine them into one package helped me find my style,” Noel said. 

Self-proclaimed Denver alternative Hip-Hop rapper Schama Noel speaks live on air
Denver alternative hip-hop rapper Schama Noel speaks live on air during an interview in Fort Collins with the radio station KCSU 90.5 FM Oct. 2. (Collegian | Garrett Mogel)

Although this was not a standard way to make a name for himself, Noel was appreciative toward his old account. 

“At the end of the day, it did get me an organic fanbase,” Noel said. “I’m glad that it happened; it was a unique way to promote myself, and it was a legendary Twitter account.”

“(My childhood relationship to hip-hop was) similar to seeing your crush about once a month and just thinking about them the entire time and finally getting to see them. … But for whatever reason, you can’t interact with them — in this case, your parents don’t want you to be together — but you know you’re perfect for each other.” -Schama Noel, local hip-hop artist

Over the past year, Noel has been interviewed by a number of local websites and blogs, such as 303 Magazine and Shoutout Colorado. He was also featured in a portrait interview series created by artist Jasmine Narkita Wiley called “Black in Denver.” 

Noel described himself primarily as a lyricist with a diverse selection of genres and production styles, such as rap and alternative/conscious hip-hop.  

Growing up in Haiti, Noel said secular music wasn’t allowed in his Christian household. The only times he would hear music he enjoyed were at school or when he was being babysat. The one song that helped spark his obsession with music was “Hey Ya!” by Outkast. 

Noel creatively compared his childhood relationship with hip-hop to having a crush on someone.

“It’d be similar to seeing your crush about once a month and just thinking about them the entire time and finally getting to see them and just having that complete orgasmic experience, like a dopamine rush, because you’re thinking about them every single day,” Noel said. “But for whatever reason, you can’t interact with them — in this case, your parents don’t want you to be together — but you know you’re perfect for each other.”

Denver alternative hip-hop rapper Schama Noel speaks live on air during an interview with the Fort Collins radio station KCSU 90.5 FM Oct. 2. (Collegian | Garrett Mogel)

Noel’s earliest experience with lyricism was writing a poem for his fourth grade class. From then on, he continued to experiment and create authentic lyrics for his songs. Even from a young age, the idea of a song with opposing lyrics and energy, such as “Hey Ya!,” intrigued him.

Something that sets Noel’s music and lyrics apart from other rap artists is his ability to create introspective and meaningful songs that are simultaneously catchy and fun to dance to. 

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“I think a really good example of this is Kendrick Lamar, how he can make a club banger, but it can still have some depth to it,” Noel said. 

It is important to Noel that his music increases awareness of certain issues. For example, in his song “Let’s Dance,” there is a line, “Grab they hands only if they think the same too,” which is a direct reference to consent. For Noel, music is the perfect media form to spread these messages of equality and kindness.   

“Even if you disagree with what I’m saying, if it’s good enough, you’re going to play it back,” Noel said. 

Noel has a very open attitude when it comes to experimenting with new genres. Many songs that are popular in Colorado fall under the indie-bedroom-pop category, which is not really his style. However, Noel has such a love for original music and has no problem challenging himself to branch out and expand his musical IQ. 

“I always think of my audience when I make songs,” Noel said. “This particular project (“Bumble Bees”) was intended for more of a mainstream audience. With “Bumble Bees,” you don’t have to be a fan of Schama Noel to enjoy this project.”

Available to stream on any popular music platform, Schama Noel’s music is a refreshing addition to the Colorado music scene.

Reach Alex Hasenkamp at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @alexhasenkamp.