Scranton rapper Noah Laske to perform at Oak Street Express in Taylor
When one door closed for Scranton hip-hop artist Noah Laske, he opened another.
“I had some verbal scholarship offers for baseball, and they ended up not working out,” said the 22-year-old. “I had a little trouble academically. Losing those scholarships is what turned me to music.”
Laske will perform from 9 to 11 p.m. April 15 at Oak Street Express in Taylor. He’ll be the sole artist featured during the evening, and he’ll be joined on stage by his hype man, Jeff “Hefe” Smith.
Laske gained experience and confidence at hip-hop showcases in New York City, but his lyrical beginnings belong to Scranton.
“I started writing toward the end of my junior year (at Scranton High School),” Laske said. “I made my first mixtape at 17 or 18; I got a huge response from that.”
Laske is a lyricist first, writing based on his experiences and those of the people in his life, and he relies on New York-based producer A.J. Gunz to provide his beats.
“My pops left when I was younger,” Laske said. “That takes a toll when you’re writing. I had friend that passed away. That brought back memories. The majority of (my writing) is my drive to become successful. I make a lot of songs based on my dreams.”
Laske said he’ll store subject matter “subconsciously” and it will come to him when he’s creating a metaphor or reacting to the way a beat makes him feel.
While still a teenager, Laske was able to enter himself in a hip-hop showcase at the Pyramid Club in Manhattan.
His first live performance brought immediate attention.
“I brought so many people from my hometown that the club promoter was impressed,” Laske said. “I brought 35 people to New York City in the dead of winter.”
Laske would also showcase his abilities by sharing frequently with listeners through Facebook and YouTube in a series he dubbed Freestyle Friday.
“I would take a popular industry beat and write my own lyrics,” Laske said. “I started getting huge responses off of those alone.”
Laske said his influences include Eminem, Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., but one particular rapper’s music pushed him to create the most.
“The person that really made me want to make music was J. Cole,” Laske said. “He’s been an inspiration to me. I built my craft around the inspiration I took from him.”
Laske released his most recent EP “Stay With Me” in September and made it available on SoundCloud. More recently, he dropped a freestyle titled “My City” and a single, “24 Karat,” on his various media pages.
In October, Laske had a showcase at Levels on Linden in Scranton in front of 300 people. On April 15, he promises a mixture of songs his fans know well and tunes that will premiere that evening.
“I’m going to throw a few popular songs out there to get the crowd involved,” Laske said, “a few old things from the first mixtape and also from the EP I recently dropped.”
“But I have a lot of unreleased music that I haven’t debuted that will come out that evening. Stuff that nobody’s heard yet.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651
IF YOU GO
What: Noah Laske
Where: Oak Street Express, 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor
When: 9 to 11 p.m. April 15
Ticket information: Admission is free.