Noah-O, 30 

Rapper and chief executive of Charged Up Enterprise

click to enlarge ASH DANIEL

Rapper Noah-O made news this summer when the video for his Richmond-centric party song, “I Got It!” — shot in and around the Camel nightclub on Broad Street — cracked the rotation on “MTV Jams” without the benefit of a major label.

The increased visibility shines a light on the Henrico County resident’s personal mission to help local artists find creative outlets while dispelling the notion that hip-hop carries with it a negative connotation of egocentrism and violence.

When he’s not raising his three young boys, Noah-O helps operate Charged Up Studios, across from the Science Museum of Virginia. The enterprise offers affordable recording services for local artists. He’s also helped stage the Virginia Youth Are Yearning Day community events at Dogwood Dell to showcase local talent.

“If you provide kids direction and purpose,” he says, “you’re creating a sense of pride in the community and people will stand up for that.”

Noah-O also plays host to and promotes “The Rebirth,” a monthly hip-hop night at the Camel that’s aimed at showcasing and unifying the Virginia hip-hop scene. Door money often goes to nonprofit causes, such as the Breast Cancer Society, the Virginia Food Bank, and more recently, a local producer from the rap group Divine Profitz who’s fighting cancer.

Cancer charities are an especially significant cause for Noah-O because his father died of the disease last November, a few years after his mother died. “My dad used to see rappers on TV and he would say, ‘I hope you get your shot, but use your songs and popularity to help other people,’” Noah-O says. “‘Once you do that, you’re going to be successful no matter what.’”

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