NOV­EL­IST

Hard-hit­ting de­but from grime wun­derkind.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

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. ★★★★

STEVE YATES

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.”

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