Noveliss is a rapper. You hear that newjacks? An actual wordsmith who can rap good over a beat. More so a machine gun with generous stamina. It’s cool if you can rap, but backed by actual content and a respect for the culture is the faultless combination that we truth seekers admire. Lyrics are still important to you, right? Or at least to some of you hopefully. If this is your introduction to Detroit’s Noveliss consider yourself a lucky human. We’re not here to dissect his lyrics or talk super nerdy, technical slang. But it’s important to note his authenticity. And evident passion, with a seemingly open-door policy as to what he allows to inspire his craft. You’ll read more about this below in our interview segment, but it’s no secret that anime culture leaks into his craft as a wordsmith.
I remember first hearing Clear Soul Forces (Noveliss making up one fourth of the Detroit-based collective). A good friend walked into my place unannounced and made me stop what I was doing to play “Get No Better“. The record was rewound an embarrassing amount of times and I’ve been a fan of them since. It’s not too common, especially today, to be introduced to a collective where every emcee is on the same page creatively and sonically. If you’re skeptical and aren’t sure to trust me here, do the background check and indulge. It’s beautiful, vibrant hip-hop.
Moving forward, Noveliss has had an equally healthy and respectable solo career. In a short amount of time, a little over a year to be particular, we’ve heard a few different bodies of work, Mic Swordz being the latest. Though listed as an EP, as well his other releases, it’s certainly full-length quality. Perhaps a taste at what’s to come with his newly-announced album via Left of Center. You can read more about that below, as we were eager to ask him about it and its details. But getting back to Mic Swordz, good lord. If you’re preference is based in boom-bap and you love lyrics it’s the one. He’s not limited to the golden era sound, but certainly embraces it and is skilled under the umbrella. If you missed it you can check it out here or stream it below.
We had the pleasure of linking up with Noveliss and discussing a few things for your reading pleasure. Hope you enjoy. Peace and love:
Lets talk about Mic Swordz – excellent release. It’s no secret that your solo sound is maturing.
I’m a totally different animal when it comes to my solo sound, versus my sound in the group. I just feel like, on my own, this is it right here, no boundaries, this is my chance to tell MY story. My admiration for Anime and Anime culture is something that has played a big roll in my identity as an artist and I love not having to shelter my listeners from that. The first Anime I ever saw was Dragon Ball and it changed my life. My Mother was always working a ton so she would drop me and my brother off at our Grandmas house at like 5 AM, thats where I first saw Dragon Ball. This was before Toonami and the internet so I caught it early one morning on some non cable syndication. Dragon Ball at like 5 AM became a routine for me and my brother Chris. Piccolo was my first favorite character ever. After Dragon Ball it was Rurouni Kenshin, Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Wing, etc. Then once I got older I started listening to mad underground shit while still being into Anime, I always felt like the two cultures went together for some reason. I was straight up fascinated by this Anime shit. Like why am I learning all these life lessons from these fictional Anime characters? Why are these fights so good? Why is this writing in these shows so creative? Why is this animation so beautiful? Then, in high school I saw Samurai Champloo and not only began to notice how important the music in Anime was but also realized that it wasnt just ambience, it was a big part of the story. I wasnt tripping when I thought Anime and Hip Hop shared the same energy, some sort of cultural connection. I’ll stop there.
It’d almost feel rude if you and I didn’t discuss your admiration for anime. Is creative charge drawn from anime culture leaking into your writing and recording process?
Definitely. The way that other artists might listen to certain music to get inspired in the midst of working on their own stuff, I draw that same inspiration from Anime. Watching my favorite Anime shows allows me to tap into the creative energy I need to make my music what it is. I actually will have the headphones on with the beats playing while watching some Naruto on mute. When I did Mic Swordz I really focused on Sword anime so I was watching a lot of Samurai Champloo, Rurouni Kenshin, Ninja Scroll, Afro Samurai, and Fate Stay/Night. The fights, those moments of conflict, rising action and climax inspire me to do what I dream of and help me put it all together so maybe I can inspire somebody else. Since we’re talking about Anime my top 5 favorites are HunterxHunter, Naruto, Samurai Champloo, Dragon Ball Z, and Cowboy Bebop.
You just dropped off your latest visual demonstration and it’s very fresh. It channeled my inner childhood ninja fantasy (laughs).
Haha, yeah man I always wanted to do a ninja themed video. My group has a song called “Ninja Rap” and when we were on tour in Europe for our album Gold PP7’s, I’d come on stage dressed like a ninja in front of a sold out Paris, France crowd and rap the whole verse with the Ninja mask on. The crowd would just cheer while I stood there for minutes just bowing to them waiting for the beat to drop, that shit made me want to be a ninja everyday for the rest of my life. Did it in every country; France, Belgium, Germany, England, Finland, Switzerland, they all loved it. This video was kind of a tribute to that amazing time in my life.
I was trying to pick a favorite cut on Mic Swordz. It’s probably “One Time” – very raw. And that beat is phenominal. What’s yours?
Haha, Shoutout to my boy Nolan The Ninja on the production on this one. I love “One Time” too but my favorite cut from Mic Swordz is probably “Stryker”. Shoutout to Shepard Sounds on that one.
So, there’s talk of a new Noveliss album coming out. Can you clear the air and tell us everything?
Yes, I am working on my album right now and it’s titled “Hyperbolic Rhyme Chamber.” Not sure on a release date, but I’m working diligently on it and I’m excited. Working with mostly the same producers from Mic Swordz. I used to spend so much time like waiting on these big name guys to send me sounds and I finally realized that I have what I need and I’m thankful for the genius of Vibesounds, Shepard Sounds, Nolan the Ninja and Ilajide.
Before we get out of here lets talk Detroit – home for some of the most promising new school artists, seasoned staples and tastemakers. Who are some of your favorites/influences from Detroit?
Awww man, I love Detroit Hip hop so much brother, on so many different levels. Dilla, Slum Village, Elzhi, Royce, Em, Guilty Simpson, Black Milk, Danny Brown, Finale, Invincible, 14KT, Phat Kat, Miz Korona, have all influenced me big time. There’s so many. I’m a big fan of my group members individually as well; LAZ, E-Fav, and Ilajide are ridiculous, Doc Illingsworth and Nolan the Ninja are my favorites too. I always refer to Detroit as the mecca, because it is man, Motown.
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