NoEmotion Goldmask leans forward in his plastic patio chair as he places his Bud Light on the table. He removes the blunt from the side of his ear, places it on the table, where roaches of previously smoked blunts still lie, and picks the bottle up to take a sip.
"Today's a good day," says NoEmotion. "Made some sales, sold some T-shirts."
A consistent figure at local hip-hop events, NoEmotion is hard to miss walking around donning one of his two gold drama masks while handing out posters and cards with lyrics on them. He won't say anything to you while wearing them. He'll just stick his hands out waiting for you to take them.
At first sight you have to ask: "Why is this guy wearing a mask?" And at first listen, "What's he saying exactly?"
His current MF Doom-style was not always a thing. The masks were not a part of his wardrobe, and, by all means, NoEmotion played the role of a typical rapper. But the continuous demands to conform to the standard outline of crafting hits started to wear down the artist.
"I kind of died out of the passion," says NoEmotion. "It was a lot of rules, and I'm a little rebellious in a way, and I just didn't like the whole, 'Where's your hook? Where's you bridge? That's not 16 bars. That's not 32 bars.' And the pressure of spitting your verse perfect, just the pressure of it, I started not to love it anymore."
After coming to this realization, NoEmotion felt the need to create a new identity with a plan of blending hip-hop and comedy.
"I started rocking the mask because I wanted a new face. I wanted a new start. I wanted to look completely different. I wanted a new everything," NoEmotion reveals. "I know I can rap. It's one of the only things I'm really good at besides having sex. I'm only good at rapping and having sex."
His assurance in his lyrical skills and ability to capture listeners' attention is solidified as he raises his arms and shouts, "I'm a genius!" A belief strengthened by comments of admiration from many of his 4,000 Facebook fans.
"It's one of those things, where I started getting called a genius so much, I just started letting my hair grow like Einstein," says NoEmotion, whose hair is about half-way that length.
"Genius" is a great claim. One worth examining. His videos consist of him rhyming in front of Japanese anime and riding in circles on a merry-go-round. He kicks absurd rhymes with each line disconnected with one prior, like, "I saw a Honda Accord crash on my day to work/5 Hour Energy doesn't last 6 hours."
He has released projects named: Drive By Cum Shotz, 8 Hour Erection, and, his latest, Blue Ballz. The titles of genius? Who's to say? He's accrued over 620,000 views on YouTube in a little over two years with no major promotion, especially in a market where such content is pushed away in favor of glamorous rapping.
Well aware of this, NoEmotions says the story would be different in another city. "If I was in some smaller place, I would have the whole city being like, 'This dude is so different. We love him,'" says NoEmotion. "But here it's frowned upon because I'm not talking about getting money and hustling and shit. It's hard being different."
Instead, the rapper has no boundaries when it comes to subject matters or song titles such as "Dinosaurs On A Prostitute's Lips." "I saw some sores on a girl's lips one time, and I was like, 'That's not sores, those are dinosaurs.' They were so damn big," says NoEmotion as he relights his blunt using a lighter with his logo.
And "African Burrito." He explains, "'African Burrito,' because that day we saw this pretty-ass Mexican girl and I was like, "She don't like black dudes, but I'll still give her my African burrito."
All jokes aside, with a girlfriend and their daughter to think about, the rapper has not gone astray from producing income. He sells posters, stickers, albums, DVDs, signed masks, and T-shirts on his webpage, with no intention of ranking in top dollars, but to be absolved from unpredictable financial constraints.
"I want money to be free, and I want money that if I get two flat tires that shit ain't going to destroy my life," the rapper says. "If my car messed up or my girl's car messed up or my mom's car messed up, I could help. That's what I want, to be able to quit my job."
And as he sits in his grandmother's backyard, under the shade of her mango tree, with black-framed eyeglasses replacing his masks, NoEmotion knows in order to do so, he must continue toward his goal of creating a hip-hop icon like a former Kansas City Star employee did with a mouse in cartoons.
"My ultimate goal is to create the hip-hop Mickey Mouse," says NoEmotion. "When people find out who I am, I want them to say my name and then 'the creator of NoEmotion' as in how they would say, 'Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse.'"
Follow Lee Castro on Twitter @LeeMCastro.
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