New web series from RVA rapper Noah O hopes to show the best of the state with a voice from the streets

by | May 24, 2016

Rapper Noah O has been building up Richmond’s rap cred for about a decade, but now he’s taking his show into the digital realm with a new video project that hopes to spotlight Virginia’s cultural scene.

Rapper Noah O has been building up Richmond’s rap cred for about a decade, but now he’s taking his show into the digital realm with a new video project that hopes to spotlight Virginia’s cultural scene.

The Evolution of Noah O, the new series produced/directed and edited by The Bakery/More Pastries’ Shirod G and executive produced Mr. MiddleFinger/Charged Up Ent., spans five episodes coming it at less than 10 minutes each. Topics range from a tour of GWAR’s slave pit to a trip to William & Mary’s Virginia hip hop archives. There’s a lot of heart in the series as the rapper is joined by other local emcees on his journey.

“We were watching the same shows… and we started throwing back ideas,” said O about his early interactions with Shirod when they were first planning the project. Larger online production studios like VICE and Hypebeast helped inspire the two, but they knew they’d have to add their own spin on the project to draw an audience.

“We have a lot of great culture in Richmond and the art scene is really popping right now,” Shirod said, stressing his hope to amplify local voices over the course of the program.

Noah said the project gave him a bit of variety between recording projects, and he thought he’d use his local connections to see what he could do outside of the hip hop realm.

“I want to use the show as a platform to show the people and places,” he said. “Whether or not they’re in the hip hop world… That’s how the Evolution of Noah O came about.”

A number of moments stood out to the rapper and Shirod during production. Laughs were shared during our interview after they recalled a “double dong” nunchuck Noah played with while speaking with the folks at GWAR, but a special library at William and Mary was also worth sharing.

“You know how you got to a wing of a college that’s been gifted by somebody? Down at W&M they have the largest collection of dog books in the world and it’s named after Peter Chapin, a dog with two names,” Noah said. “And he has a portrait there like he was some sort of prince or something… he’s from that old dog money.”

The trip to W&M involved a tour and conversation around the schools collection of Virginia-based hip hop music, but surprises like dog libraries turned out to be just as interesting at times.

Either way, Noah and Shirod hope their project can lead to bigger things, or at least more seasons of the show. The folks at GWAR were particularly influential in this dream.

“They’re a model of independent success from Richmond, it’s something no-one else from Richmond’s hip hop or R&B community has done,” Noah said about the infamous metal group. “When I see them, it helps me realize it’s possible.”

No matter the outcome, Noah said he had a lot of fun with the project, and Shirod was excited to push his production skills as well. And both are happy that they get to take part in recording some of Virginia’s cultural history.

“They preserve history but its from the top down – the famous and rich people get to spin it,” Noah said. “And with stuff like this, culture is getting spun from places like New York or LA… but this is a rare place, with folks like GWAR, the Neptunes, Dave Matthews.”

Your first chance to catch an episode of The Evolution of Noah O happens this Wednesday at May 25th at Club Plush from 7-10 pm. The first episode screens at 8:30pm. The show is all ages and admission is free.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

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