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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Young

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William “Nephibis” Young grew up in Baltimore City, MD in the Edmondson Village area. As a child the home he lived in was often broken into and robbed. He would hang out with his cousins, who taught him that the world in the streets weren’t something to be trifled with and encouraged him to avoid getting involved in any trouble. At a young age he eventually left to live in a suburban area where he was constantly bullied and at times would face racism, while being beaten and verbally abused on a daily basis by his mothers at that time husband(unknown to her). Most of the males didn’t like William and would often start conflict with him. Due to this William would hang out with the girls and any male who was an oddball amongst the others. He didn’t get clothes much, so often times his clothes were too small for him. The size of his clothes, coupled with his high-pitched voice and constantly surrounding himself with girls made people assume he was gay, so they would pick on him even more. He was seen as the weakest kid in school until he began to fight back and constantly get into trouble. Caught between the sadness of being hated by so many people and the anger of wanting revenge, William became emotionally unstable and suicidal, so he spent a portion of his childhood in and out of the hospital while taking medication for mental disorders.

In high school William moved back to Baltimore and went to a school where there were constant fights and some students would bring weapons to school. It was here that he was introduced to the existence of Bloods, Crips and different “crews.” One of these “crews” jumped William in and tried to force him to participate in their activities. To avoid this William found a bigger and more dangerous “crew” to become a part of. The leader of this “crew” saw William as an intelligent and kind-hearted person, so he encouraged William to concentrate on school and not become involved in trouble. Later William would leave that area and return to a depressed state of mind due to him being on his own again; It was at this point that he began to look for Crip members in order to become initiated into the gang. He befriended many Crips, but there was one member that changed his life. She went by the name Pain. Pain kept William from being initiated and out of trouble, while helping him with school and keeping his emotions in check. For the most part William avoided trouble, but he was often around people who would become involved in situations that would escalate quickly.

On New Year of 2005, William was visiting his cousins on the West Coast when they invited him to do the “New Year spit.” This is where he fell in love with rapping and began to spit flows under the name Grim Rippa. One day while visiting a family member and going to get some food, he saw a cop come into the restaurant, pull a bag out of his pocket and stick his hand behind a chair. The cop said he found “weed” and pulled back the same empty bag he had pulled out of his pocket. This cop then grabbed William and told him to come outside. Outside there were several cops waiting and they began searching his body. William tried to explain that he was only buying food, but the cop checking him had become angry and swung on him. Unable to fight back William became angry and decided to involve himself with a dangerous situation in order to release that anger. When Pain found out about the situation she made sure that William wouldn’t be involved in this event and educated him on Malcolm X, The Black Panthers and why gangs started.

This led to William beginning to make positive and conscious music, while changing his name to Noble. He began to listen to and be inspired by artists such as 2Pac, Rakim, Mos Def, KRS One, Common and many more. He also began to search for groups that would uplift people in the black community. While on his journey to become a more positive artist he met Shy Lady Heroine, who brought him out to watch her perform on stage and introduced him to the world of being a performing artist. Shy pushed William to become more serious about his music and take things to a more professional level.

Later William was introduced to Kieshawn Richardson of Nubia Entertainment and thanks to her help he was able to see a whole new business side of music. At this point he changed his name to Noble R., due to his name being similar to Young Noble of the Outlawz. The R represented revolution. While walking home in the rain feeling depressed from working at his job, having relationship trouble and having a close friend become distant; William had an epiphany and decided to write about what he was feeling in that moment. This is how the song “Bumpin’ My Music” was born.

In 2013 William performed for the youth of New Beginnings at CHMCC Community Center for the “Speak Life Open Mic" Event. Speak Life is about speaking positivity through your music. The aim of this program is to become involved with the youth, speak positivity and encourage them to stay out of the streets using the arts. He also volunteered to teach creative writing for the summer program. When Catherine Trotter told William of her idea to make Speak Life more than just an open mic event, he gathered several artists he knew in order to brainstorm with her and the parents of the children and decide what the next step would be. Due to internal conflict with himself, William didn’t continue to help with Speak Life, but Catherine was able to realize her vision. This is when the R in Noble R. became Rippa.

William was selling music, doing paid shows and even doing out-of-state shows when he fell into a deep depression due to his ex cheating on him. At this point Noble Rippa disappeared and it seemed as if he would never rap again. Then in late 2016 William decided to change his name to Nephibis in order to represent his internal struggle with the “angel” and “demon” side within him and the way he “weighs the hearts” of the people around him like Anubis. In 2017 William picked up the mic and began to rap again.

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