Any artist who has pursued their passion will tell you that the road to success can be a long dark lonely one. In that same regard, any successful artist will tell you there will be signs along that road that will assure you that you’re on the right path. In Jahan Nostra’s case, there have been a series of events along the road of being in the presence of greatness of some very successful artists and entrepreneurs. Born in Norwalk, CT and raised in his early childhood in Mount Vernon, NY, Jahan grew up in a neighborhood that flourished many talents in music and Hollywood. Mount Vernon is home to such musical talents as Pete Rock, Heavy D and Sean “Diddy” Combs, as well as actors Denzel Washington and Phylicia Rashad who all lived within close proximity to his home. Jazz saxophonist Najee lived in the same apartment building as Jahan, hearing the sounds of a working jazz musician as a young child. Even after moving to the inner-city of Stamford, CT in the neighborhood known as Ursula Place where he spent a great deal of his life, Jahan would make frequent trips back to Mount Vernon. His father who sold business suits to the Diddy’s mother. At the time Diddy was a young mogul in the making, working at Uptown Records. In his mother’s living room walls were photos of Diddy with Mary J. Blige, Jodeci and Heavy D, just before he would go on to start his own Bad Boy Records.
Being exposed to such great talent and success at a young age, created greater awareness to Jahan, who sites his deciphering of his History teacher’s racist poem as the beginning to understanding the power of words. At this time he recorded several songs at age 13 on an independent label, BMX Entertainment. When mixtapes became popular in the tri-state area, he began to record freestyles on local mixtapes. In high school, he became well known for his uncanny ability to freestyle in what was known as “The Mile Run Freestyle”. This is where students in gym class would gather around him to witness him freestyle continuously around the running track for one mile. A turning point came when Jahan and his DJ at the time Big Ben, were coming back from a late night gig in NYC crashing on the highway ride back. The car accident left Big Ben permanently damaged. This incident took a toll on Jahan, but also made him more ambitious to pursue music. Later, he linked up with producer A.V. and recorded several songs. Expanding his soundscape, he also linked up with a young Raydar Ellis to record several songs with rhyme partner Kyro that was played for Steve Rifkind at Loud Records. Raydar would later go on to become a producer under the tutelage of Dr. Dre at Aftermath Records.
Another instance of being on the cusp of a major Hip-Hop movement was when Jahan moved to North Carolina in 1999, attending UNC while working as a radio host on Duke radio. Along with DJ Daddy Rich, their Friday night show together was right after 9th Wonder’s radio show. These were the early stages of Little Brother, where they’d play new songs they recorded and Phonte and Big Pooh would stick around the radio station to have rhyme ciphers and debate Hip-Hop. Hot topics would be, the best producers in Hip-Hop and Jay-z’s position amongst the greats. Well before 9th Wonder would go on to produce Hov on The Black Album. Jahan even had to face-off in a battle with Phonte at the famed Cat’s Cradle, which Phonte notching him out by a few points. Returning to CT to be closer to NY, Jahan began to record songs with producer Colossus who he met while on the set of a film he acted in. Through networking he also was introduced to producer Poppa Pill, creating a great partnership that led to them working on the conceptually themed full length album Sleepwalking. Jahan credits Tupac Shakur as an inspiration for “his ability to paint pictures with great emotion and put poetry in motion while still being true to himself”. Taking his craft seriously, Jahan has an artist statement that he lives by “To uplift for the future, reflect reality and prove that I’m the illest”.