NDL:Erasing the Stigma

1801_antoine-jean_gros_-_bonaparte_on_the_bridge_at_arcoleA mythical warrior, a revolutionary military leader, an inscription on a lonely coin, those annoying symbols on a map, and a significant human being that has triumphed and left a stamp on our world. The dictionary contains a myriad of definitions for the word “legend”. Throughout my life I have been surrounded by legendary individuals, not including the remarkable people my family members have encountered.

Rosa Parks, NBA legend Ralph Simpson, original Tuskegee Airmen Clarence Shivers, Janet Jackson, BB King, Albert King, Earth Wind and Fire, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, Phylicia Rashad, Michael Singletaire, Paul Abdul, Debbie Allen, Dick Gregory, Nate Fitzgerald (my uncle, who is a jazz legend), and Denzel Washington are just a few of the countless legends that have graced my family circle. Legends are alive and well in our society, but they often remain low key. Even though there stamp on the world may be brilliant, they are the same as every day people…more down to earth then you would presume.

Legends are birthed,they have a starting place but no end.A coffin placed in a grave can’t defy the achievements of a legend, the tradition that a legend leaves behind is truly immortal. Napoleon Da Legend isn’t just a fancy stage name or an attention getter to promote cd sells. There is an essence behind every name and Napoleon Da Legend embraced his rap name with precision.

NDL-Front-P1A few questions had been picking at away at me since I first had the pleasure of working with NDL. I was curious why he chose the name “Napoleon Da Legend”, in his opinion what defines a legend, and lastly I wanted to know what made him unique as a rapper. Instead of replying with scattered logic, NDL provided me with deliberate answers, the type of answers that a scholar would deem lecture worthy.


One of the first reasons why Napoleon Da legend chose that name, was due to the historicalnapoleon4 connotation that is stirred up when people hear “Napoleon”. NDL did his historical research when choosing the name and understood that “Napoleon coming from a very modest background rose to the peak of power in an exemplary way. He didn’t do it because of his family name, money, or the connections in an aristocratic world.”

That history about Napoleon Bonaparte is true, but one that is often overseen in history classes and scholarly opinions of him. NDL understands that the military leader Napoleon came from a humble and modest background, but in his rise to power he ditched morality. Napoleon Bonaparte’s negative portrayal, is an aspect of history that rapper Napoleon Da Legend wants to erase. In response to this tyrant connotation with the name, Napoleon said in reference to Napoleon Bonaparte, that “In his rise to power, he used cruel and dehumanizing methods to keep and expand it. That negative part associated with his name, I want to attempt to erase.”

You’d think that Napoleon Da Legend’s rap name is mainly associated with Napoleon Bonaparte, but it is also a part of NDL’s ancestry. Napoleon Da Legend was born in Comoros, a country that is located off the eastern coast of Africa. He describes it as one of the countries with the most “coup d’état”. That French phrase basically translates into insurrections, which is the process of power being overthrown by force, even to the extent of mercenaries killing the president and putting someone else in power.

Coming from such a volatile country, field with mercenaries and political tensions, NDL’s parent’s moved to America to achieve the “American Dream”. In the final part of my interview, Napoleon Da Legend went to great length to share his heart. “I earn to conquer the airwaves and repeat that history (in reference to Napoleon Bonaparte), but I want to rewrite the bad parts, because I am not HIM, I stand for my own values.”

He continued explaining his own personal relationship with the legend and it’s relationship with his parents. “Also my parents came from one of the poorest countries in the world, the IMG_0772Comoros in East Africa. Them making it to the US and giving me this great opportunity to attain the American dream is legendary in itself. So the legend also comes from my ancestry. African slaves colonized by the Arabs and then the French.” –NDL



Napoleon Da Legend is on the way to become a true legendary individual, not only because it’s a significant part of his name, but also due to his incandescent musicianship. From the poorest shanty shacks of Comoros to the sleek luxurious walls of a DC recording studio. From the eating a bowl of poverty to tasting the delights of legendary musical fame amongst hip-hop’s international superstars, Napoleon Da Legend stands…

Napoleon Da Legend- Pen and Pad (Ruff Kut Videoz)

©Jasmine McGee



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