Che Noir has been working. Working on her music. Working on her beats. Working on her pen game. Working on becoming one of the best lyricists out right now.
She has always done it her way.
Before the last six years, the only artist from Buffalo, New York that was known outside of the city was Rick James. That’s what people held on to as the only success story. Now, the Queen City is a breeding ground for some of the realest, rawest, and best rappers out in the music industry, and Che Noir is one of them. The Queen of the Queen City.
Born Marche Lashawn, Che is a product of her environment. Every word she spits is authentic, similar to many of the rappers she grew up listening to, like Nas, and especially Tupac.
“Everything I speak about is within eyesight of me. It’s my reality,” said Che. “It’s been that way my whole life. Many of the things I’ve seen, I speak about it in my music. All the music I grew up listening to was in some way relatable to me. I listened to music that painted a picture similar to what I grew up around.”
The first time I listened to a project from the Buffalo rapper, I was floored with the vividness and descriptiveness of her music. She paints a picture of the environment she grew up in and drops the listener into a new grimy and gritty world, that reveals pockets of hope, love and family.
This style of rapping shines the most on her 2020 collaborative album with Detroit producer Apollo Brown, As God Intended. Just listen to “Daddy’s Girl” and you’ll know what I’m talking about, she’s extremely vulnerable at a level that most rappers struggle to get to.
“The first time I tackled vivid storytelling was on As God Intended,” said Che. “There are records that I’ve tried it on, but I did not go all the way through with it. It was a moment I challenged my pen.”
Despite her skill, there were people who tried to sway her from her current style of rapping. But Che is not one who can be easily swayed.
“When I was doing showcases, I had people tell me that I would not see any success with the style of rap I’m doing as a woman,” said Che. “It didn’t bother me like it may have bothered most. I was always taught that being me is acceptable.”
And it’s worked for her so far. The 27-year-old rapper has garnered the attention of some of the most skilled and seasoned rappers of all time such as Ransom, Kool G Rap, Skyzoo, Benny the Butcher and Black Thought. An impressive resume for an MC that’s just getting started. But life as an artist has not always been so easy.
Che’s music career started as strictly a producer. She only started rapping because nobody wanted to rap over her beats.
“My friends that have been around me for a long time met me first as a producer,” said Che. “A lot of what inspired me to rap was that I couldn’t get rappers to rap on my beats. So I took that as an opportunity to rap myself.”
Now a full-time rapper, she has continued to develop her skills as a producer. On her 2022 album, Food For Thought, she produced multiple tracks such as “Bless The Food,” “Ladies Brunch,” “Table For 3,” and “Gold Cultery.”
Despite all that she’s done, Che is still working like she’s still trying to amass a fanbase. As one of the most prolific artists in any genre, Che puts out two to three projects a year.
“We’re in a time in music where if you go longer than a year without putting music out, people start questioning if you are retired or not,” said Che.
It’s been a successful business plan so far for the Buffalo MC. But Che is undeterred by the success, she still seeks to improve as a lyricist and writer.
Signed to 38 Spesh’s Trust Comes First music group, Che learns from a rap veteran who has worked with legends in the music game, and he’s no “yes man.” He’ll be the first to let her know that a verse is not up to snuff.
“The first studio session I did with Spesh, he said that he didn’t like my verse,” said Che. “Up to that point, I never had anyone tell me that they didn’t like a verse that I did. It was a moment that taught me that there are always ways for me to get better and not be complacent. That was 2018, and I’ve carried it with me for the past four years.”
Told that she wouldn’t be able to make it as a rapper if she stayed in Buffalo, Che is used to proving doubters wrong. Coming from a city where nothing is given, she has earned everything she’s gotten.