LABEL: CLEAR SIGHT MUSIC
RELEASE DATE: MARCH 2012
t’s not everyday the hip-hop game lets someone new in. In fact, it is quite rare that up and coming rappers make it into the party without an invitation-no pun intended. Despite the fact that many tout themselves as rap stars, it’s very hard to catch a break. I’ve wondered time and time again why this has been the case where, there’s been a wealth of talent sitting out there, yet the stage light is on a concentrated few. It has only led me to conclude that the distinguishing factor is that those who arrest the attention of the public are not necessarily the ones with the loudest bark. There is an underlying, yet never-fading factor, which set people apart, and for the brevity of this review, I’d like to call it the ‘right stuff’. It’s easy to (safely) go into what it takes to be a breakout star, but I will not. What I’m here to announce today is that I know one rapper who has crashed the party. In fact, scratch that. Dude was invited. (Can I say ‘dude’?).
In the fall of 2011, top-tier Christian label Clear Sight music announced at the Flavor -Fest concert that they were adding a new talent to their roster. It already boasts the likes of one of CHH front man, Flame (also owner of the label), and break out singer V.Rose. With talents like these, you’d expect that whoever was next would be someone who had already seized the attention of the ever-growing Christian Hip-hop market. Yet, in remain true to the manifesto with which the label began (to expose fresh, new talents), they announced that the artist Young Noah was their new artist. See? I know what you’re thinking. “Young who?” Yet, the label stood by their decision (not that they should forsake it) by outlining that through connecting with the Atlanta native, they thought that he had ‘the right stuff’-which in this case is way more than just talent, but a real heart for the Lord. Fine. So the public anticipation for his ‘sound and style’ began. A “Put-On” re-mix verse and short video was released shortly after, which, in all honestly did not reveal that much about him. However, it was the Christmas single that the label released that whetted our appetites. It opened up with his ‘free-flowing, idolatry-smashing, Santa-clause head bopping’ verse that really gave at least this reviewer something to look forward to. It was awesome to say the least.
There wasn’t much more to be heard from him, unless you were a long time fan and had his prior works. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long. At the end of January, he released an announced 7 tracks mixtape to begin his solo campaign. It’s a free project, available at the label’s website (www.clearsightmusic.com) and a project which I personally enjoy listening to. It opens up with a captivating, hook-less rendition of the Easter story and is entitled ‘Via Dolorosa’. Young Noah creatively weaves the song together, as close as possible to the verses’ in the Bible, beginning in the garden of Gethsemane up to a convicting crescendo at the cross, up until Jesus’ last breath. To date, I believe it is one of the best –retelling of the whole story that I’ve heard. It is furthermore buttressed by his personal emotion behind each line, making the already impressive song, an evenly notable play on visual aspect of the mind. It’s like I can see what he is saying, and this is really potent. The beat is an appropriate heavy keyed one, which makes it an easy listen. The only thing I absolutely miss is a simply hook, that probably chanted the phrase “Via Dolorosa”.
He really switches things up with the next track, “I’m Ugly”. His Georgian accent is the star in the reverberating line, “eeerbody ugly”. This public ‘diss’ song is ironically a crowd favorite though. It creatively talks about the sin problem which all of humankind face, and is laced with witty, yet convicting lines about the true hearts of man and the message of hope through the cross of Christ alone. His sound is really a breath of fresh air, if I can be honest, and I think this style is something I could really look forward to in the future. That aside, ‘Yo mama ugly!”
“En Meni” is the concert track, which is supposed to stir up listeners about the whole idea of the great commission. It plays on the popular and ultimate children’s method of making unbiased choices, especially in a good ole’ game of hide and seek, or the like. However, he turns it around by pointing out that sharing the gospel shouldn’t be like that, in the sense that Christians pick and choose whom they should share the gospel with. It’s clever, it’s catchy, it’s convicting.
The next track is “ No Love” which is, I think, my favorite. First of all, the screaming horns and the heavy-hitting base body the track really well. He then complements it with stellar verses, which expound on his dying, if not yet already dead love for the world. By this time, I am convinced that he’s earned himself a fan in me as he articulates his heart.
The EP slows back down with the aggressive yet compassionate song “Homeboy”- a direct address to sinners, even through his personal testimony. He continues in the same vein with “Merry Go Round”-another dark but reflective track riddled with the truth about the falsehood that seems exist in the world and which continually rear its ugly head. He then completes the half hour listening session with a hope-filled song, “Propitiated”. In spite of all the darkness in the world, there’s still hope, and Young Noah does his best to make it clear that it is through the work of Christ.
All in all, with this venturing, Young Noah gets a chance to introduce himself to the world, and he has managed to do so very well. The project was marketed as ‘Volume 1’. So, I am also assuming that there will be a follow-up work. Besides that, I understand that this is a mixtape, and so, I will not hurriedly point out any flaws or turn-offs given the first impression. Like, for one, I personally found some of the lines to be just a little bit too…. corny. Yet, most of the songs sound so easy-off-the-tongue that I assume he easily put them together and this was only suppose to stir up the public to develop a growing interest in him. Hence, given a fair glimpse of his sound, I can safely say along with a lot of people that I am looking forward to hearing much more from him in the future. *Cue “Trap Money”. * You know what, make that, “I’m really looking forward to hearing from him in the very near future!”