Detroit Rapper Noveliss On The Vision Behind His First EP ‘Metal Face Hokage’

Shaped in the Motor City rap scene and heavily influenced by classic animes, rapper Noveliss, continues to masterfully demonstrate his personal love for the Japanese animation and hip-hop sound, merging them in his own vision, creating an outcome of an unforced and poetic flow.

The rapper credits his influenced creative style to popular animes such as Naruto, Hunter X Hunter, Dragon Ball Z, Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Beebop amongst the many and hip-hop influences include Nas, Black Thought, Eminem, MF Doom and Redman.

As a member of the legendary music group Clear Soul Forces, it’s to no surprise that the Detroit music artist flawlessly executes his own organic writing style on his latest project ‘Metal Face Hokage’ which was released in late May.

Watch the music video for ‘Traveling Man’ by Noveliss:


Metal Face Hokage’ is Nov’s first solo EP and features sizzling tracks such as ‘Traveling Man,’ the effortless first take – ‘Two Birds,’ Naruto referenced ‘Megazord’ and more. The 8-track EP was produced by Deff Dee, and also includes features with talented Dj Odilon & illadope.

I got the chance to interview Noveliss on the vision behind ‘Metal Face Hokage,’ working with Deff Dee, what to expect in 2019 and more. Listen to ‘Metal Face Hokage’ EP and read the full XMPL exclusive interview with Noveliss below.

XMPL: Can you describe to us what inspired you to chase your dreams through music & Hip-Hop?
Noveliss: Just really kind of reaching a breaking point with my job and being depressed was draining me.  Not just physically but creatively as well and my album (Cerebral Apex) was doing really well so it was the true definition of a now or never fork in the road type of ordeal for me.

What made you decide to take on the solo moniker as Noveliss?
Being in a group naturally restrains your creativity so exploring myself individually was really important for me.

Heavily influenced by anime, I really want to get into your music. Tell us about the vision behind your latest EP ‘Metal Face Hokage’.
I had the idea of doing this project as an homage to MF DOOM, who is one of my favorite rappers of all time.  Originally I wanted to rap over actual DOOM beats but at this point in my career I don’t want to rap over anything that’s not mine anymore.  When I was on tour, I met Def Dee in Seattle and he ended up coming to Detroit to rock a beat set and DJ.  We kicked it and he played me some beats and they were crazy so we decided to do this together and try to capture a DOOM vibe with my twist on it.  I fused the DOOM concept with my obvious love for Naruto and this was the end result.  Most of the DOOM clips I used came from a favorite cartoon of mine; Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which still to this day I think has the best on screen depiction of Dr. Doom ever.

You had 8 tracks on this project produced by Def Dee and there is absolutely no lack of creativity among those tracks. Can you talk about what it was like working together in the studio and what songs were the most challenging to complete.
Def Dee is in Seattle so he’s across the country from me, but we connected enough when he was in town to build some chemistry, everything else was a sending back and forth process that was pretty easy.  Def Dee is just really good at what he does man.  Fun fact: We couldn’t agree on which version of Vultures was better so we kept both and that’s where the remix came from.  After I sent over the original he freaked the beat up afterwards and we decided to keep both.

You also had two features on this project in Dj Odilon & illadope. What would you say these two artists brought to this EP?
Both DJ’s who hooked me up with some dope scratches.  DJ Odilon is ridiculous, I met him in Belgium a few years back when I was touring with my group Clear Soul Forces and we’ve been cool ever since.  Illadope is a friend of mine and he and my group member L.A.Z. have a group called Da Illaz together so that’s how I got connected with him.

Your track ‘Two Birds’ was mind blowing because you did that in one take and it didn’t lack any lyrical content. Can you go in depth about that track and what it was like to finish in one take?
Yoooo, I love that you caught that hahaha.  Yeah I actually did that song in one take all the way through.  I always one take my verses, never punch, but obviously, you stop, do adlibs, ins and outs, then a hook usually before you record the next verse.  But on this I did the whole thing continuously, just something different to try.  I love “Two Birds.” one of my favorite songs, I enjoy shedding light on the state of the planet and our world around us so this was one of my favorite songs….”Yo this just a loose verse, two words, throw one stone and save two birds.”

You also had a stand out track in ‘Train Of Thought’, what was the meaning behind that song?
Train of Thought is actually my favorite song on the project.  Every now and then, I hear a beat that just makes my mind go all over the place and I can’t stop thinking, literally spilling rhymes on the page like an artist throwing paint at the wall.  Joints can be super random content wise but that’s what happened on here and that’s my Train of Thought.  

Writing the songs on this EP, How would you describe your writing process?
My writing process is very organic, I literally never force myself to write anything, or sit down and make a point to write music.  I write all of my stuff at the gym, or in the shower or just throughout the day.  All I listen to is instrumentals so I’m never NOT writing.  I told Def Dee that this would be finished faster than he thought and it was haha.  

Are there any upcoming releases or shows we can look forward to in 2019?
I have a few shows coming up and tours being finalized now.  Some things I can actually announce; June 27th I’ll be in New York at The Delancey, July 27th I’ll be at 2×2 Hip Hop Festival in Columbus, OH.  They’re things in between but still not final.  I’ll be on the road a lot in August, September and October.

Listen to ‘Metal Face Hokage’ by Noveliss:

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