Hard-hitting debut from grime wunderkind.
One of grime’s most exciting new artists lives up to expectations with a genre-invigorating debut album.
NOVELIST NOVELIST GUY MMMYEH, OUT 13 APRIL
Although it’s not part of the title, the words “since 1997” adorning the cover of Novelist’s debut LP do matter. Born in January of that year, the Lewisham MC is the first grime star who literally cannot remember a time before the music existed. While others absorbed garage, drum’n’bass or dancehall influences – with the star-studded example of US hiphop always looming large – Kojo Kankam, as he was then, was just five when Wiley’s Eskimo offered the first glimpse of the new genre, six when Dizzee Rascal released Boy In Da Corner. Hailed for his quickfire delivery and alternately playful and political content (he was one of the first names attached to Grime 4 Corbyn), Novelist is one of the key new-generation MCs to spearhead grime’s current resurgence, alongside Stormzy. Novelist Guy is unlikely, however, to be the award-winning game-changer that Gang Signs & Prayer was. Not because it isn’t a fine album – it is – but it doesn’t attempt to shift the culture the way GS&P, with its gospel flavours and Frank Ocean allusions, did. This is straight-up MC music, from the contemplative Dot Dot Dot to the catchy, cautionary Gangster, with its promise to “learn way more in my life than how to get a stack”. The tempos are slower and the selfproduced electronic beats less corrosive than his old-school influences – although they come close on Nov Wait Stop Wait and Stop Killing The Mandem – but in its streetlevel politics, lucid delivery and hypnotic hooks, Novelist Guy is confirmation that this wave has a lot further to roll yet. ★★★★
Listen To: Nov Wait Stop Wait | Afro Pick | Dot Dot Dot | Stop Killing The Mandem
THIS IS THE FIRST GRIME STAR WHO CAN’T REMEMBER A TIME BEFORE THE MUSIC EXISTED.
A new chapter: Novelist unleashes “lucid delivery and hypnotic hooks.”