It takes about three seconds to read the lyrics.
“It’s funny ’cause they’re digging their own ditches / Thinkin’ they can come against me, let the Lord be my witness.”
It takes Ricky Brown half that long to rhyme them.
The 29-year-old MC is holding a framed certificate for the Guinness World Record that names him the planet’s fastest rapper in an upstairs room of his south-side home on a recent Tuesday afternoon.
Brown, who performs as NoClue, set the record in 2005 by rapping 723 syllables in 51.27 seconds, averaging 14.1 syllables per second, which broke the previous mark of 12.5 syllables per second set by Chicago rapper Rebel XD in 1998.
Brown was living in his native Seattle at the time, but has since relocated to Vegas after a stint in L.A.
Here, he plans on breaking his own record in the next few months, timed with the release of his self-titled new EP.
In person, Brown is easy-going and quick with a smile, clad in camouflage shorts and a collared black shirt on this day.
His laid-back demeanor disappears, however, once he gets on the mic, where he’s capable of unleashing torrents of words like a verbal fire hydrant.
Brown’s been rapping since the age of 9, and claims his speed-of-sound delivery mostly comes naturally to him.
“I kind of compare it to being the world’s fastest runner,” he notes. “You can work to get better at it, but you’re born with it.”
He says that he practiced for about three months prior to setting his world record.
“The hardest part, for me, was just memorizing what I had to say,” he recalls. “Once I had it memorized, I could just speed through it as fast as I wanted.”
Since then, Brown and his music have been featured in commercials ranging from Mercedes cars to Microsoft Windows Azure, and he gets hired to make promotional appearances around the world, having recently returned from Australia where he helped hype the speed of the latest Samsung Galaxy phone.
As he prepares to try to break his own record, he doesn’t make it sound like too much of a challenge, noting that he has already timed himself at a faster mark in the studio.
“I’m not going sit here and say it’s easy, because it’s not,” he says, “but there’s no doubt in mind that I can do it. I’m more worried about doing it right.”
The speed thing can be a double-edged sword, though: Brown appreciates the attention it has garnered him, but doesn’t want to be dismissed as a novelty, nor does he always rhyme fast on his records.
“I’m more focused on creating songs,” he says.
“It’s not just a gimmick,” he adds, though he flashes a grin as quickly as he delivers one of his rhymes at the thought of earning another world record plaque. “It’ll be cool to have a second one.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.