Young Noah was succeeding wildly in the secular rap game while his life was going down the drain, but he turned things around after he nearly got shot to pieces.
“Duck,” God told him.
“I ducked down in the car and pushed my buddy’s head down into the steering wheel,” he says on a 2016 Testimony Stories video. “The next thing I knew there were shots fired and glass was just flying everywhere,” “It was at that moment I realized that I was about to die.”
He had been trying to help some girls escape a college party, and “a hundred football guys, drunk and high and out of their minds” chased him down because they wanted the girls, he says. He had pulled out a non-working gun to scare them off and keep from getting beat up. They had run off but returned before Noah and his buddy could escape in their car. They had at least one gun, and it worked.
William Noah Bohannon aka Young Noah was born in Neunan, Georgia, into a family so Christian that he wasn’t hardly aware of the world. He accepted Jesus at a young age and got baptized. He was being home-schooled, but when he attended secular high school he got involved in hip hop, alcohol, marijuana, gangs and robbery.
“It was weird to grow up in church and end up so far away from God,” he says. “Church and growing up in church can’t save your soul. It kind of shapes you, but eventually you have to make a decision whether or not you’re going to allow God to live in you and cause you to do good works. Church can’t save you. You need to accept Christ. You need to have a regeneration in your mind. You have to be born-again.”
Winning a rap contest, he was given the chance to record in Los Angeles. By the time he got there, however, God had already orchestrated events to the point that he was already questioning his great breakthrough.
“I found myself succeeding in this dark industry,” he says. “At the same time I began to wonder if God really approved of my lifestyle. I knew that if I was really going to be a Christian, I was going to have to let this music thing go. I told my manager, I told the record company, I told everybody that I couldn’t continue.
He felt God impress on his heart, Look at the example you’re setting for your brothers and sisters.
In response, he decided he would give up rap forever. It didn’t occur to him until a year later that he could use his talents for the glory of God.
“I felt like hip hop was supposed to be dark. I didn’t know that it could be redeemed and used for positive things. When I became a Christian, I didn’t even think it was possible to make songs about God. That was furthest thing from my mind. I didn’t care if I ever rapped again. I just wanted to be a Christian.”
After growing in the Lord, Young Noah felt prompted to return to rap, only this time for the Lord.
Why don’t you make songs about your new life? God impressed on his heart. You rapped about your old life.
He began performing at open mic nights and talent shows in the area. Local Christian rappers encouraged him to join forces. By the time he graduated from college, he sent a demo to Clear Sight Records, and label founder Flame called him immediately. Young Noah used his middle name as a stage name because he felt his message would be counter-culture, like Noah of the Bible. Flame took him on tours to England, Canada and all over the United States.
After a year, Young Noah became independent, but he learned from Flame about Bible study, integrity in his marriage and putting God above success. His ascent has gone upwards from there.
“He took me from rapping about garbage and he turned me into one of these Christian rappers,” he says. “Next thing you know I’m having more success doing this for God than I ever did when I did it for myself.”
Michael Ashcraft sells bamboo steamers on Amazon to keep the lights on while he spread the Light through Christian journalism.