“Wake up, thank God, brush my teeth, get washed, go on the computer, make some beats, link my boy, spend time with my woman, talk to my mum, then call my boys and pray with them.” That’s how Novelist responded when I asked him how a day goes in his life in 2017. Because in 2017, Novelist just wants to keep things simple, but most importantly, pure.
After bursting onto the scene in teenage grime crew The Square, the South London MC quickly cemented his status as one of the leading lights of grime’s new generation. He displayed a respect for the traditions of the genre, a deep understanding of grime’s social context as a reflection of the rawness of inner city London, and a willingness to push the sound even further. Tracks like “Endz” and “1 Sec” (produced by Mumdance) swept as quickly through the Internet as they did through the raves.
Now, still aged just 20, the Lewisham hero has evolved even more as an artist, and diversified his craft further. He’s a little wiser, a little more direct, and something about him seems intensely focused. His last single, “New Path”, was an impressive step away from grime into summery hip-hop packed with energy and flavour, and before that we received Be Blessed, a five track EP of atmospheric instrumentals with spiritual titles like “Archangel” and “Seraphim”.
He doesn’t drink much anymore, doesn’t smoke, has choice things to say about sugar, meditates regularly, has removed profanities from his music, and tells me he’s even been fasting regularly (but kindly warns me to stay hydrated if I should try it myself). When I gesture at the rush hour traffic outside and ask him a general chatty question about whether he ever finds London a little claustrophobic or overbearing he quickly shakes his head and delivers a slow and serene answer.