"If you've been part of the scene since back in the day you know about Whittier," says hip-hop producer and rapper Noearth, also known as "Erf". "I use to go to shows that would be so fucking cracking in Uptown Whittier that the fire marshall would come and shut that shit down." Noearth shares as he hits a bong in his home filled with marijuana pipes, empty alcohol bottles, instruments, turntables, homies and his adorable pet dogs.
And if you've had your ear to Whittier's hip-hop scene then you know about Noearth's involvement with the CLDMKRS (pronounced "cloudmakers" and formerly known as "Tha Process"). The collective of rappers, producers and DJs have been rocking sets in Whittier and throughout Southern California for at least the last four years. Along with Noearth, the CLDMKRS is made up of Joe Mas, Adversity, Thesis, E-Rage, Besatree, Kid Presentable, Dave Zee 1984, Rokem and IMOK.
Aside from making a name for themselves in Whittier, the CLDMKRS have performed at SXSW twice alongside West Coast rap legends, The Pharcyde, and made an appearance in 2012 on Youtube's long-running hip-hop channel called The Cypher Effect . Noearth even jokes that Freeway Rick Ross tried managing the crew at one point. "We were like that sounds cool and then he gave us a big ass bag of coke and was like next time you go to New Mexico you take this with you." he jokes as the haze filled room with CLDMKRS members and friends erupts with laughter.
However, with as much progress as Noearth and the CLDMKRS made, things became a little stagnant for the posse and other Whittier musicians as the town experienced heavy blows to their music scene. The closure of Uptown Whittier favorites such as the quirky vegan eatery by day and dive bar/indie music venue by night, Fenix 5-4 (Rest in Peace to owner and Uptown Whittier legend, Kyle Koestner), Penny Lane Records, Zen Beats and the folding of a local music mag called MeanStreet nearly rid the city of its once vibrant musical landscape.
Yet Noearth and the CLDMKRS crew took the quieter times in Whittier as a period to progress and cultivate their brand. "We wanted to take the direction of not being a group per say but more of a collective or label." says Noearth. "We wanted to establish individual artists," he says, "like how Wu-tang had to establish themselves as individuals."
You'll hardly ever see Noearth without a blunt.
After polishing his individuality, Noearth's first solo release wittily called, Hunter ERF Thompson , caught the ears of Freestyle Fellowship and Project Blowed member, Self Jupiter. "This is one of my idols of hip hop." Noearth remembers thinking on the day he showed Self Jupiter his beats— which had the west coast legend head bobbing and busting out flows. Then, fellow Blowedian and Alpha Pup producer, DJ Nobody, caught word of Noearth's music too. Soon Noearth was asked to join Alpha Pup's newest rap imprint called "The Order Label".
After meeting and joining forces with the hip-hop artists he grew up listening to, Noearth was then offered the opportunity to grace the Low End Theory stage—a notable East Los Angeles stomping ground for independent musicians and a venue Noearth had his eyes on for years. "I've just been waiting for this day and thinking about it," he says with a look of excitement, "I'm just anxious for this shit,"
Noearth's upcoming project is slated for a fall release on Alpha Pup's "The Order Label" and it sounds like an aggressive mixture of energetic boom bap with experimental beats paired with an abrasive, high-pitched and rapid chop rap style—undoubtedly influenced by the Project Blowed scene Noearth grew up listening to. Although Noearth sounds like a modern ode to 90's underground hip-hop, there was a time when Noearth was—get this—a full on metal head.
"Even when I was in a metal band I'd be bumping fucking Eazy-E and Snoop Dogg on the way to the show and smoking blunts and shit." Noearth says as he shares his times with metal band, Avidity. Then a friend taught him how to use Reason around the age of 18 and he's been cranking out his head banging (or bobbing rather) flavor of hip-hop ever since.
While things are looking brighter than ever for Noearth and the CLDMKR posse, the rapper and producer says his early days with music stemmed from darker times. "When I first started rapping it was about my father passing away as a youngster." Noearth says in his timid voice as he explains the meaning behind his artist name, "I had no foundation from not having my pops around," now his name has taken a different meaning, "Noearth also means always trying to build up."
You can follow Noearth's music here and the CLDMKRS here