At just 19 years old, Novelist has already established himself as the UK’s leading young grime artist. On the mic, he displays a a natural confidence befitting of the cast of iconic spitters that have gone before him – Wiley, D Double E, Flowdan – and channels grime’s harsh, gritty realisms through his music in a way that keeps the content both firmly accessible and engaging.
Although currently only sitting on one release proper, ‘Take Time’ ft. Mumdance – a record that embodies the raw power and appeal of grime’s resurgent 2014 so succinctly – Novelist has still managed to build an impressive CV. As well as the hours spent on radio all over London, a big part of his remit has been live performances – including impromptu 909 live sets with left-field grime producer Mumdance – which, for many an MC, represent one of the biggest challenges; making the leap from the studio to the stage is no easy feat. Novelist has taken the whole process in his stride however, whether it be on his own, alongside others or as part of the crew he proudly fronts – The Square.
Firmly bound to Lewisham, the area of South London he’s grown up in and feels impassioned to represent, Novelist’s outlook remains both measured and collected, even in the face of the exposure that’s already come his way. This is an artist that has also managed to strike the elusive balance between old school pedigree and new school innovation, an MC who has learnt to look backwards to go forward – and he’s single-handedly making grime feel as raw, exciting and absorbing as it first did back at the turn of the millennium.
Fast forward to 2015 and not only has Novelist already been granted a place one the BBC’s coveted ‘Sound Of 2015’ list, but has also announced an imminent EP with XL Recordings – again alongside trusted collaborator Mumdance. Featuring two original cuts, title-track ‘One Sec’ and B-side ‘Shook’, it’s an EP that builds on the relationship between exploratory, spacial producer and young, talismatic MC in the purest, most visceral sense. This continued willingness to test the water and ultimately challenge perceptions of exactly what grime music can sound like, is what continues to make him such a stand out figure in the genre’s current make-up.
Having also recently been pictured working alongside Jamie XX at the XL studios, as well as featuring in Channel 4’s ‘Four To The Floor’ mini-documentary series at the back end of 2014, the rise and rise of Novelist is sure to continue apace throughout 2015.