Two Sides of the Same Coin: Interivew w/ MC Shamako Noble

Shamako Noble is a prominent Bay Area Battle MC who contributed quite a few tracks to the 101 Submissions project, including the title track 101 Submissions.

Visit his website to hear more music at:www.ShamakoNoble.comWhen OTM drops “101 Submissions Vol. 2”, you will notice that the music selection is BLAZING hot when the flying armbars shoot across the screen. That’s because Encore, Feenom Circle, DJ QBert and MC Shamako Noble are featured on the DVD.

Few people see all of the subltle connections between Hip Hop and martial arts. The connections go far beyond what many think. Steve Da Silva is a Nova Uniao Black Belt and a pioneer dancer representing the Electric Boogaloos. World famous B-Boy Remind is another raw grappler in the mix. Rapper Rakaa from Dilated Peoples trains with Ryron and Renner Gracie. Plus, they have a new MC getting ready to set it off named RIO LIFE- but you ain’t ready!!! Theres more to it…Many levels of the game…But I’m gonna let one of the worlds rawest MC’s tell you in his own words. Be sure to pick up that 101 Sub’s VOLUME TWO!!!! Special Shouts to Gumby and Scotty for supporting Bay Area Hip Hop culture!!!

OTM: For those unfamiliar with the damage you do to microphones, can you tell the OTM family who you are?

SN: Well, I’m an emcee representing out of the Bay; specifically residing in San Jose. I’m recently the proud father of two who enjoys freestyling, battling, reading, writing, grappling, striking, production and organizing, teaching and reaching out to the youth on the horizon. I work at the Riekes Center, and I work with Hip Hop Congress, R.E.F.U.G.E. (Real Education For Urban Growth Enterprises), and a whole host of other groups. And I like to kick it.

I love battling and slam poetry and have participated in and won Zulu Nation, Battle Ave Regional and Brainstorm Regional battles in addition to the Bezerkely poetry Slam. With Brainstorm, we had some issues because I won the regional but was not given the opportunity to get a ticket. I was told I was left a message, but I never remember getting that message. It happens.

OTM: Is there anybody you’d like to battle to test your skills? Like, who do you think you could still wax, but they’d give you a hard fight on the mic?

SN: There are levels to this. Battle Circuit: Illmaculate, BoRad, Rhymefest, Swann, Duece Leader, Dirtbag Dan, Xi, and I want J-Jack, Joey Madness, and Coley Cole Rematches.

Cats kinda off the circuit but still fresh: Mac Lethal, Eyedea, Brother Ali, Wordsworth, Tonedeff, Immortal Technique, C-Rays Waltz (sp?)

Established Cats: KRS-One, Cannibus, Eminem.

Basically I would like to battle anyone that’s really tight. Win or lose, you can only get better. Unless you fall off.

OTM: Now, I know you are the Dir. at the Academy of Hip Hop at the Riekes Center for Human Enhancement. Tell me about that place, ’cause they do a lot there.

SN: The Riekes Center for Human Enhancement is a tremendous opportunity to explore and develop ones interests. Specifically, we focus on Creative Arts (Recording, Music, Movies, Fine Art), Nature Studies (Tracking,Aboriginal Skills, Knowledge of Place, etc.) and Athletic Fitness (Sport Specific Training, general physical psychological improvement, physical therapy, etc.

We have a host of facilities ranging from the Basketball Court and Batting Cages to the Video Recording and Editing to the Music Studio and Yamaha Motif. The staff is amazing: both specialized and diversified in skill sets and understanding. You can come and record your demo, or develop specific physical attributes, or just to increase your awareness and comprehension of your natural surroundings. It is very much a non-profit school and enhancement center that provides a plethora of services.

I work in the Creative Arts department and in specific, as you mentioned, I work with the Academy of Hip Hop which was originally conceived by Rahmann Jamal and myself. Right now we do Emceeing, Production and Recording and have offered or collaborated in a series of events including B-Boy Jams, Lectures, and whole host of exciting items on the horizon. It’s an incredible place.

OTM: Who are some of your favorite fighters these days?

SN: The first thing I have to say in response to that question is that I enjoy all forms of martial arts. Meaning I enjoying striking, grappling and weapons combat although I don’t know of too many commercial supported weapons sports.

As for the question naturally I’m a big fan of the Gracies without a doubt. I’m always impressed, occasionally floored, and sometimes completely blown away.

Though I haven’t seen him fight as often as I’d like to, I’m really into both Dave Camarillo’s fighting style and political philosophy. I’ve always been a bit of a Mark Coleman fan, and in boxing, right now I’m feeling Bernard Hopkins. Pound for Pound one of the best, if not the best in the game

OTM: So what’s the new jam you made for the upcoming “102 Submissions DVD”?

SN: The song is a little ditty I put together at the Riekes Center using the Motif 6. With Gumby’s permission and support, I crafted a piece I thought would be kind of fun for the video based on the previous one. It was a lot of fun and I’m really into doing projects like that.

OTM: You guys have had insane B-boy jams at the Riekes. Do you see any correlations between Hip Hop and martial arts?

SN: You mean besides the need for regimented training and some degree of consistent physical discipline. Nope, not at all.

Well, except for reference to capoeira which is an art where the correlation kind of meets directly. This is without pointing to Hip Hop cultures general roots in appreciation for martial arts like Kung Fu and karate based on 70’s and 80’s flicks.

Also, clan/crew divisions, elder hood and “rites of passage”, and styles and schools of thought don’t come to mind either.

I mean, I apologize for the sarcasm, but I honestly get upset when people don’t see the obivous connections. Perhaps to some I guess they are not so obvious (and many things are like this) but many of the similarites seem so pronounced. to me. The direct physical confrontiation., the nature of the movement. I mean, if you simply turned B-boying into a contact sport it instaneously becomes a martial art. Now, it doesn’t have the historically developed code and focus, but that is time, possiblity and genuis. Or maybe it’s happened already and I just haven’t heard about it cause I’m behind. In short, I see a correlation.

OTM: People normally don’t think of dope MC’s coming from San Jose. Arethere more MC’s with skills in that region of the Bay?

SN: There is an insane amount of dope emcees coming from this region. People don’t realize it, but there is a planet of talent is the Zae. I have to shout out the crew immediately, Pashpimpin’, the Mama’s (also in Oakland), Sol+10, Sam Seven, Noah D, Drew, Esoin, Dem-One,Moonshine, Jonah, Labrie, Epidemic, CLX II, Encore, Tributaries, AK-9, and a whole host of dope cats. I mean, I’m not even scraping the surface if you want to get real about it. Plus, who knows what kid is out there sharpening their skills right now.

OTM: Do you think we’ll ever see Shamako the jiu jitsu man on the mats competing?

SN: Count on it.

OTM: Where can cats buy your music?

SN: It’s available in stores and will be available on-line in multiple locations soon. Stay Tuned.

OTM: What’s next for Shamako?

SN: Raise these beautiful babies. I’m going to continue to work on the new project, keep pushing TRCA. I’m gonna work on getting something done with Pasha. I’m going to keep rolling with the growth of the Riekes Center and working with the mighty Hip Hop Congress. I’m going to continue to be a part of R.E.F.U.G.E. and keep trying to grow as person. There are many challeges, success, failures and life lessons ahead.

But I love my family, I love what I spend my days doing, and I am eternally humbled and grateful for the opportunity to expierence any and all of this. Be on the lookout for new music and other product, though. That’s fa sho’.

OTM: Any shouts out?

SN: Mad love to the sons and the beautiful mama who delivered them.

All of my immediate family members. One love to the Za, Hip Hop Congress, the Yay Area, all of the Riekes Center, Dj Merlin (FOR REAL THOUGH!!!!!) Zulu Nation, Gumby, Labrie, David, Ruben, Scape, Gary, Jansett, Pash the trunk Specialist, and of course, the mickyficky Bishop, trick! All of my folks that are too many to list- Shout out’s ya’ll!!

Adisa Banjoko is the author of the newly released “Lyrical Swords Vol. 1: Hip Hop and Politics in the Mix”. Buy one today at

TechGasp Comments Master

About the author

Adisa Banjoko