Jahan Nostra seeks to be the epitome of indie artistry and storytelling, and is no stranger to doing whatever it takes to make that happen. Born in Norwalk, CT and raised in Mount Vernon, NY, Nostra has made a career of putting himself in the right spaces with the right people, while making music that attracts the attention of hip-hop fans and industry legends — as evidenced by a Smif-N-Wessun feature on his current project, ESP. The album, released in 2016, was mastered by Daddy Kev, a Grammy-nominated engineer to artists like Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar.
With his latest endeavor, Nostra flexes a new muscle, wearing the hat of co-director and joining forces with videographer Shane McLellan for his latest video, “Embrace the Rain.”
“If you’re having a bad day or feeling down, it’s an uplifting song,” says Nostra of the track’s meaning. In a social and political climate seemingly filled with bad days, both the song and its accompanying video blend a dose of solid hip hop lyricism with a hopeful message.
The video follows its lead, Alex Manon, through moments in his life as a homeless teen. Manon — a talented DJ and producer fresh off the Everybody’s Tour (US & Europe) with Logic, Joey Bada$$ and Big Lenbo — makes his acting debut in the video, bringing to life the clip’s poignant subject matter. Nostra chose the concept after learning staggering facts about homelessness in the United States.
“Being homeless is usually thought of as being something that impacts older people,” he says. “But in reality, there are 1.7 million youth experiencing homelessness in this country. There are 50,000 kids who sleep on the streets for six months or more each year. And 1 in every 5 children between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away from home.”
StandUp for Kids, the organization with whom Nostra spoke when researching his video concept, aims to end youth homelessness and Nostra hopes the message in his video will not only bring awareness, but also hope.
On why the role in a video with a message was exciting for him, Manon states: “I really enjoyed working on this project with Jahan. I had to get my acting on a little bit which I’ve never done, but I’m always down to try new things.”
To his own credit, Nostra continues to make consistent and strategic moves in his career: he boasts the accolade of being the first rapper ever profiled by his hometown Connecticut Post; he made a recent stop by Spotify as a feature in their Hip Hop Hacks series; and just returned from a promo tour through Montreal.
Nostra is currently hard at work in the studio on a new project he describes as “fun and energetic.” Upcoming tour dates will soon be on his website along with the announcement of his next Hip Hop Hacks event. He’s also in the initial stages of planning a fundraising event to benefit homeless youth.