Premiere: Lil Billions 2 – [No Friends]

Every few years, a new local scene will come to the surface of hip-hop, often arriving with a sound and style of its own, just left of everything else happening in the genre. It’s happened with South Florida, it’s happening with Brooklyn right now, and if I were to guess where we’ll turn our heads next, I’d have to look back down South, in Houston, Texas.

With names like BBY Kodie and HVN helping to lead the scene, Houston is quickly identifying itself as a destination for a variety of sounds, with a few key characters acting as the connective tissue. One of these characters is producer No Friends, whose name has become ubiquitous in his city, thanks, in part, to a very-fitting producer tag, “Are you friends with anybody?

Aside from his work across a variety of Houston songs and projects over the past years, No Friends has grown his name with a developing album series of his own: Lil Billions. Gathering a spread of unique artists over a notably versatile selection of beats, Lil Billions flips the roles and lets No Friends call the shots. The result, as we saw with the first Lil Billions tape, is a special look into Texas hip-hop, and furthermore, a step into the mind of No Friends, whose style truly knows no bounds, from Usher-inspired R&B to ground-shaking anthems.

Today, No Friends arrives on Lyrical Lemonade with the latest installation of the series, Lil Billions 2. Spanning across names including BBY Kodie, TisaKorean, HVN, and YGR, among others, it’s time once again to listen to the producers. After all — anyone can tell you that Houston is up next, but No Friends is here to show you.

Stream the latest edition of Lil Billions here, and learn more about No Friends by reading our Q&A below:

LL: When/how did you start producing?

I started producing around 2015/2016. I saw [Houston producer] Broadday producing, and it made me want to do it — that’s like my big brother, we went to high school together. He taught me to make beats, and it just went from there.

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LL: How did you get involved with the local Houston scene?

A few years ago, Broadday invited me to his homie BBY Kodie‘s show. He came to pick me up with another Houston artist named HVN, and Kodie was also in the car, so I met him there.

Before that first Kodie show I went to, I really didn’t know that there was a whole scene going on in Houston. After that, I just thought [the scene] was hard, so I started going to events and meeting everyone that made music. I wanted to work with everyone just to get my name out there, but it didn’t end up working out right away.

When it came to the first Lil Billions tape, I had the idea two years before it dropped, but didn’t know anybody else in Houston at the time. I started going to every party, every show, every function, just meeting and talking to people. Everybody locally started to know me, and from there, I was able to get my name around and make the tape.

Why the name Lil Billions?

Shit, I’m bald and I’m black. We always crack jokes on each other, and I used to hear “yo, you look like Lil Bill.” Aside from that, I got money and I’m paid, so boom, Lil Billions.

Actually, when I first graduated high school, I used to scam. At the time, I was trying to find a name for the tape, and for a bit, I was thinking Scamuel L Jackson; I was just trying to think of the name of a bald person. But when it came down to it, I love Lil Bill and I got money, so shit, Lil Billions.

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How did you come up with the name No Friends?

Before I was producing, I used to edit videos, like A&D videos, where you edit music over anime clips. Producers would hit me up and pay me to edit a video to one of their beats, so I used to do that. Aside from seeing Boradday make beats, that made me want to produce, but I didn’t know what I wanted my name to be. When I was making my SoundCloud, it just said “Produce by Untitled” because I couldn’t think of a name.

One day, I went to LA with the homies and we were in a studio session. They were rapping on my beat, and I said I was gonna get on the track, jokingly. They said I needed a rap name, and someone said I got no friends and I’m always by myself, so I should be Lil By Myself. After that, someone suggested Lil No Friends — it was available on Instagram and Twitter, so I went with it.

What can fans expect from you, and from Houston, in 2020?

2020, I feel like Houston is about to take off. HVN’s tape goes crazy, Kodie’s tape goes crazy, and we’re working on videos right now. As far as me, I’m trying to expand my production and work with artists outside of Houston, just focused on getting my name out there on a larger scale.

Stream the latest edition of Lil Billions here, and follow No Friends on Instagram here.