The Hood Dictionary

The Hood Dictionary

On 2019’s The Hood Dictionary, NoCap—Mobile’s premier rap talent of the moment—explicates some of the most detailed and harrowing narratives of his career over a collection of luxurious, soulful beats. It was his second release that year, following his major label debut, The Backend Child, which featured a Platinum-certified smash in “Ghetto Angels.” Dictionary includes a remix of “Angels” featuring Lil Durk and veteran R&B quartet Jagged Edge. Since The Backend Child felt like such a monumental statement for NoCap as a breakout star, The Hood Dictionary only really needed to serve the purpose of a victory lap. However, it exudes all the inspired power of its predecessor. With barely any guest spots to break NoCap’s steady flow of inspiration, The Hood Dictionary is one of the rapper’s most penetrating and consistent projects, helping clarify his signature style sonically and lyrically. The musical mise-en-scène here is everything that made NoCap stand out from the burgeoning crowd of emotive, narratively oriented young melodic rappers from the South in the late 2010s. The production is full of acoustic guitar riffs citing blues and flamenco, often giving these trap confessionals an embodied, folksy quality. NoCap periodically dips into his lower register, relying less on Auto-Tune than on previous projects and imbuing these songs with a more soul-baring quality (see the soul-sample-driven opener “In 4”). Elsewhere, soaring melodies become the focus, seemingly cascading down from a mountaintop on the indelible hook of the elegiac “Pour Up.” One of the most striking entries on The Hood Dictionary is “First Day In,” which flips the tradition—popularized by Gucci Mane—of recording a song immediately after getting out of prison. NoCap recorded it before turning himself in on shooting charges. He processes feelings of betrayal and paranoia, and considers how to position his time away in his life’s narrative: “Safe to say, I’m on the road to riches/I know it’s roadblocks/Safe to say, I’m on the road to riches/A couple stop signs.”

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada