“Police be murdering people we watch the media spin it/ like abracadabra here’s a cadaver put it on camera”
Noah Caine hails from Southside Jamaica, Queens. His experiences growing up, as well as the sounds he was hearing as child- mainly the music of famed jazz musicians like Miles Davis & Nina Simone, as well reggae artists like Vybz Kartel and Beenie Man- have helped form his very gritty and realistic perspective of the world he’s living in. Noah’s views on topics like police brutality, impressionable minds, and sacrifices on the road to recognition are a culmination of his background and his environment. Everything Gon’ Hurt, his most recent EP, touches upon these subjects, amongst a variety of others.
RESPECT.: What are you afraid of?
Noah Caine: I guess like, as far as music, it’s not being able to fully express myself, creatively. I’m afraid of people missing the message. But also, not seeing my homies make it. I feel like that kinda bleeds over to me- their trials and tribulations. If they take a loss, I feel like I’m taking a loss too.
RESPECT.: In a different interview, you spoke about the duality of success and hardships, and I wanted to ask about it. Say you’re grinding 24/7. You’re in the studio seven days of the week, and making contact with big names in the industry. But your friends start disappearing. Your family stops calling. Your social routine is essentially nonexistent. Are the hardships worth the success?
That’s a really good question, man. Sometimes they are- you’re born alone, you die alone, you know? You can’t really stunt your growth because your life takes a form of its own. You always wanna stay in your friend’s lives, but everyone in my circle understands that you gotta make it in this world, so I’d hope they meant that. I also think you could never lose a hundred percent contact with your friends or family. Sometimes that’s a sacrifice you gotta make to grind though, so you can make it later on, you know?. At the time, they gotta know. The is the life I chose: entertainment, bettering people in the world. And yeah, sometimes you don’t touch who you wanna touch, and don’t keep in touch with who you wanna keep in touch with.
RESPECT.: What’s a non-music related regret you have?
Probably not going away to college, like, out of town. I feel like if I went away to college I would’ve had a different perspective on the world and stuff you know. I feel like my creative talents would’ve been a lot different with that college experience under my belt.
RESPECT.: What does the phrase “Everything Gon’ Hurt” mean?
Pretty much just kinda like a reminder to watch out for the bad. It’s kinda like, about balance. Naturally, we want things to work out for ourselves; we wanna go for the medal, for the championship, but you also gotta look for the bad. Because it’s in everything. For instance, if you’re gonna go against a strong opponent, like in the ring, you gotta know their weaknesses as much as their strengths. In both cases you have to know both sides of the coin in order to prosper.
RESPECT.: Well, going off of that, your last album, Rookie Season, had an air of…. freshness. It sounded real optimistic, like you were looking up at the rap game and looking to grasp it. Everything Gon’ Hurt sounds a lot more gritty and somber. Why?
I guess you could say that continuing on from Rookie Season, in Everything’s Gon’ Hurt there’s just more of a thought that there certain things you gotta look out for, just as there are certain things I started looking out for.
RESPECT.: You have this real graphic line: “Police be murdering people we watch the media spin it/like abracadabra here’s a cadaver put it on camera.” Have you ever been a victim of police discrimination/brutality?
Personally, yes. New York has this thing called stop and frisk- you know about it. And one time I was just minding my business and some officers were just being intrusive. I was in the car with my girlfriend at the time and for no reason we got pulled out the car. The question they hit my girlfriend with was “If she knew me,” and if “she was in any danger.” Mind you, she was a different racial background than me, so it made the situation real awkward and messed up. The run in’s have been very unpleasant for me and my homies. With what’s going in the world, that line was just my way of saying: this is how I perceive the rate of how fast these instances are happening. Don’t make me feel like my skin is a weapon.
RESPECT.: The scary part is that the idea of deciding who “is and isn’t a weapon” stems back to media portrayal, but also parenting. You have little kids with all the wrong ideas in their head about this stuff, you know?
A child doesn’t look outside itself and say, “oh racial tension exists.” To exploit that in their upbringing is really bad. Crime happens all the time, and unfortunately, it’s just something that is going to happen. And regardless of if it’s black or white, when you funnel it in a one hour news program, it’s gonna end up sounding biased. And you got kids out there watching these things. When you mix bias with parenting, as opposed to letting kids know about stuff naturally, then you’re putting on them the pressure to unlearn these ideas when they get older. People are gonna make these parenting decisions no matter what, but their kids might go out and say some things and then they get hurt. It’s the way the world works, and it’s unfortunate. I know a lotta people out there who untaught themselves from their parents. You have to give them the right knowledge from the beginning and let them know they’re all equal.
RESPECT.: “Flex” has a ton of brass in the instrumentation, and Jazz music coincides with the dark vibe of the album- Jazz began in a period of contempt for African Americans and was a way to express themselves. How well do you think Jazz fits into the climate of Hip-Hop nowadays? Do you see it making a comeback?
Yes and no. I don’t see it making a straight comeback where there’s a lot of sampling of jazz, or people bringing back the big jazz names- Dizzy, Coltrane, Miles Davis, you know? But I feel like people set the aspect of their music sometimes to symbolize uprising, and symbolize that blues feel. That’s what jazz was all about. They also used it to paint different emotions, so I think it can make a comeback in that respect, so people can express themselves properly, or in a different way than usual. I’ve been hearing brass in a bunch of different songs recently, and different things to get to that mood and vibe. So maybe in the next few years we could see people doing that a bit more. I haven’t really been listening to too much jazz though, not as much as before.
RESPECT.: So what do you listen to now?
A lot of reggae (laughs), getting back to my Jamaican roots. But over the recent years, I could easily go from a Miles Davis song to a Beenie Man song, feel me? (laughs).
RESPECT.: What’s the first thing you would ask, or have asked, your music idol?
I’d ask for advice. Advice on the business side of things. I already feel like I am who I am, and through time and the right platforms I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do regardless. So I’d ask how to keep a business- I’ll ask how to do taxes, you know? (laugh).
Hov is real good with the business side of music. I know it’s gonna be impossible to sit down with him- actually, nothing is impossible. But if I could just talk to those guys about how to get the money and the right way, that’d help a lot in the long run.
You can stream Noah Caine’s EP Everything Gon’ Hurt below.
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