By Vish KhannaFor ear-to-the-underground fans, Noah23 is a hip-hop hero with rap super powers. Yet his conflicted dedication to cult status has meant only small pockets of followers across the globe can wax poetic about the prolific, Guelph, ON-based MCís gifts, as a culture sponge with a rapid-fire flow and an ear for the sweetest, unexpected hooks. All of this should change with the star-studded semi-bildungsroman that is Rock Paper Scissors, as Noah23 aims high for his first proper solo album in four years.
"If I donít win the Polaris Prize, Iím going to blow up the CN Tower. And thatís being humble,Ē Noah jokes. "No, no, Iíve always thought that I have talent and wanted people to see it but Iím comfortable because Iíve made the statement I wanted to. I just hope people hear it because, if they do, they will like it.Ē
Featuring producers, MCs, and indie rockers from home and abroad, Rock Paper Scissors is a gritty pop masterpiece. The eclectic styles and sounds suit Noah, whoís as comfortable tackling scientific theories as he is childrenís games, Pavement b-sides, or John Zorn in his awe-inspiring lyrics. "Itís like my Sgt. Pepperís and I wanted to really work with a lot of artists who Iíve known or grew up with,Ē he explains. "Newer artists too like Josh Martinez, Cadence Weapon ó I was really honoured to work with cats like that.Ē
Often straddling a chasm between elitism and accessibility, Noah23 purposefully conjured something for everyone with Rock Paper Scissors. "I challenged myself to convey different ideas and emotions. I always do a free-form abstract thing and some of these songs are more thematic. Iím poking fun at subcultures but thatís the same audience I want to dig the album. I donít know ó Iím like Marshall McLuhan meets Dr. Dre.Ē