Why Noah23 Rules by Mike Deane (2014)
When I was a young man going to school in Montreal, my musical interests started to shift. As someone who had grown up listening to nothing but punk-ish music since I was 12, being 19 or 20 and getting very into indie-rap was a real change for me – a new world that Noah23 and his music helped me navigate. For those that were in the mid-90s punk and hardcore scene, you probably know how insular and unaccepting a lot of it was (unless that was just me and my group of friends, which is also a possibility). Like, you could listen to ANYTHING you wanted to, as long as it was punk.
While alienating friends at parties by insisting we listen to nothing but Freestyle Fellowship or Cannibal Ox, Noah23 was always a great middle ground – interesting production, great and infectious flow, weird as hell content dealing with everything from the metaphysical to the galactic, to referencing International Noise Conspiracy and Sonic Unyon. It was music that had something for everyone.
My friend set up a show for Noah in Montreal—a mini-tour that did Kingston, Montreal then Ottawa—and asked me if some of the MCs could stay at my place. I agreed to it, and my friend told me the night of that it would be Noah staying over. There was a bunch of us that ended up staying up late and talking about music (and not just rap!); I distinctly remember Noah introducing me to Springsteen’s “Nebraska” that night, and I know we listened to Bonnie Prince Billy (the memories are a little hazy, for a number of reasons), and it was the first time I had ever even heard of Antipop Consortium and Orko the Sykotic Alien. Noah was a cook at a vegan restaurant in Guelph at the time, and when I decided to move to Guelph 10 years later, one of the first things I thought of was: I wonder if that restaurant is still there, and I wonder if Noah still cooks there. Turns out the answer is no to both questions, but Noah is still very much an active MC, and one who is still helping to change people’s understanding of hip hop and music as a whole.