Novelist (musician)

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Novelist performing at Field Day 2016
Novelist performing at Field Day 2016
Background information
Birth nameKwadwo Quentin Kankam
Also known as
  • Navy Nov
  • Mr Tetris
  • Nov
Born (1997-01-20) 20 January 1997 (age 25)
Lewisham, London, England[1]
  • Rapper
  • MC
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2010–present
  • MMMYEH[2]
  • XL
  • No Hats No Hoods

Kwadwo Quentin Kankam (born 20 January 1997), better known by his stage name Novelist, is a British grime MC and record producer from Lewisham in South London. He was a founding member of the Square crew and was nominated for Best Grime Act at the 2014 MOBO Awards.[3] He has been called the "new face of grime"[4] and was described as "the poster child for the first generation of real grime kids" by DJ Logan Sama.[5][6]


In 2013 Novelist clashed with Wiley's younger brother Cadell for the grime DVD Who's Da Boss and began to garner attention from the UK underground music scene for his regular appearances on London pirate radio stations.[7] Novelist was featured in a BBC Radio 1Xtra documentary broadcast on mother's day called Grime Mums focusing on the role parents played in the careers of prominent grime MCs.[8] After an instrumental track called "Sniper" began to receive airplay on London underground radio stations Novelist was signed to produce an instrumental EP for influential grime imprint Oil Gang.[9][10][11] He recorded a song entitled "Take Time" in a studio session with experimental producer Mumdance in October 2013,[12] which was later signed to Rinse and released as a single in the summer of 2014.[4]

In early 2014, Novelist's music began receiving regular rotation on radio stations including BBC Radio 1Xtra and Rinse FM. He recorded a guest set for DJ Cable's "Sixty Minutes" mix, which was broadcast on MistaJam's BBC 1Xtra show on 28 May 2014,[13] he featured on Cable's Sixty Minutes mix again later that year recording a second guest set with his crew The Square.[14] In late 2013 Novelist began working with No Hats No Hoods.[15] In mid-2014, the label signed The Square, their first release on the label The Formula came out in August 2014.[16] In 2014, Novelist signed to XL Recordings and recorded a track with Jamie xx for his forthcoming release on the label, however the track was not released.[17] In September 2014, Novelist received a MOBO nomination in the Best Grime Act category.[18] In November 2014, Novelist was named on the longlist for the BBCs Sound of 2015 list and XL Recordings announced that his debut release on the label would be a collaborative EP with Mumdance.[19] The EP, entitled 1 Sec was released on 20 January 2015, the same day he turned 18.[20]

On 1 September 2015, Novelist left the Square with the stated intention of furthering his solo career.[21] On 17 October 2015, Novelist supported Major Lazer at Alexandra Palace, London, during their European tour. In early 2016, he featured on a Baauer single called "Day Ones" and appeared on Skepta's 2016 Mercury-winning album Konnichiwa with "Lyrics".

In August 2016, Novelist was dropped from XL Recordings.[22] He subsequently announced on 23 August that he is launching MMMYEH Records as his own label to release his own music along with his friends.[2] On 13 April 2018, Novelist released his debut album, Novelist Guy. The album charted on the UK iTunes Charts for a single day after its release at No. 38 and was a commercial failure, but in July 2018 was announced as a shortlisted album for the 2018 Mercury Prize, losing out to Visions of a Life by Wolf Alice.

Personal life[edit]

In June 2016, Novelist joined the Labour Party and supported Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn after a leadership challenge. He tweeted: "Been supporting but now it's official." and "@jeremycorbyn Do not resign. The mandem need you."[23] In May 2017, Novelist wrote an essay endorsing Corbyn in the 2017 UK general election. He wrote, "I'm an advocate for Jeremy Corbyn, because he is an advocate for that same message. It's not even necessarily that I care about Labour, but I know that Corbyn possesses a sense of decency that I rarely see in politicians. I relate to the things that he speaks on and how he articulates himself. He doesn't try to confuse the general public – he connects with them. There are a lot of politicians that speak purposefully to distance themselves from the average person, which helps them get away with so many things. Corbyn makes it very simple."[24]

Novelist is a supporter of Manchester United F.C.[25]

Novelist is of Antiguan and Ghanaian descent.[26]


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK Ind. Breakers[27]
Novelist Guy[28]
  • Released: 13 April 2018
  • Label: MMMYEH Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
Sniper EP
  • Released: 7 July 2014
  • Label: Oil Gang
  • Formats: Digital download, vinyl
1 Sec EP
  • Released: 20 January 2015
  • Label: XL Recordings
  • Formats: Digital download, vinyl
Yakuta EP
  • Released: 31 January 2017
  • Label: MMMYEH Records
  • Formats: Digital download, vinyl
Be Blessed EP
  • Released: 28 April 2017
  • Label: MMMYEH Records
  • Formats: Digital download
Reload King EP
  • Released: 28 June 2019
  • Label: MMMYEH Records
  • Formats: Digital download
  • Released: 20 January 2020
  • Label: MMMYEH Records
  • Formats: Digital download
  • Released: 4 April 2020
  • Label: MMMYEH Records
  • Formats: Digital download
Rain Fire
  • Released: 10 April 2020
  • Label: MMMYEH Records
  • Formats: Digital download

With the Square[edit]

Title Details
The Formula
  • Released: 25 August 2014
  • Label: No Hats No Hoods
  • Formats: Digital download
Lewisham McDeez
  • Released: 23 April 2015
  • Label: No Hats No Hoods
  • Formats: Digital download


List of solo singles, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"New Path" 2017 Non-album singles
"No Weapons / See Me" 2018
"Nov Wait Stop Wait" Novelist Guy
"Pay What Is Owed" 2020 Non-album single
"Active" Inferno EP
"Stay With Me" Non-album singles
"Dun Know (Part 1)"

Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Take Time"
(Mumdance featuring Novelist)
2014 Take Time
(with Murlo)
Monki & Friends EP Vol. 2
"One and Only"
(with Murlo)
"Bigger Man Sound"
(Chase & Status featuring Novelist)
2015 London Bars Vol. IV
"Day Ones"
(Baauer feat. Novelist and Leikeli47)
2016 Aa
(Skepta featuring Novelist)
2016 62 17 Konnichiwa
"Can't Tell Me Nothing"
(Nick Hook featuring Novelist)
2017 Can't Tell Me Nothing EP
(Chase & Status featuring Novelist)
"Serious Choices"
(Kid D featuring Novelist)
2020 Substance EP


  1. ^ Fraser, Tomás (5 November 2015). "Novelist: Next Generation". Crack Mag.
  2. ^ a b "Novelist on launching new label: 'I like to help the people around me' - NME". 6 November 2016.
  3. ^ Hannah Ellis-Petersen (23 September 2014). "Mobo awards 2014: Sam Smith and Krept and Konan lead nominations". the Guardian.
  4. ^ a b "RA Reviews: Mumdance - Take Time on Rinse Recordings (Single)". Resident Advisor.
  5. ^ "Mixmag - TIP: MUMDANCE & NOVELIST". Archived from the original on 8 July 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Daily Discovery: Meet Novelist, the Young Grime MC Who's Already Worked With Jamie xx". Pigeons & Planes.
  7. ^ "Interview: Novelist, Grch 2013".
  8. ^ "BBC Radio 1Xtra - BBC Radio 1Xtra's Stories, Grime Mums". BBC.
  9. ^ "Mixmag - DUBSTEP & GRIME: FEBRUARY". Archived from the original on 7 December 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  10. ^ "RA Reviews: Novelist - Sniper EP on Oil Gang (Single)". Resident Advisor.
  11. ^ "18 record labels to watch in 2013". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 9 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Mumdance introduces Novelist".
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 1Xtra - MistaJam, Angel is Inbox:FRESH!". BBC.
  14. ^ "BBC Radio 1Xtra - MistaJam, 20/08/2014". BBC.
  15. ^ "Life At 140: No Hats No Hoods Special". Clash Magazine.
  16. ^ "South London grime crew The Square - Novelist, Lolingo, etc - announce debut mixtape The Formula - FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 8 August 2014.
  17. ^ Joseph JP Patterson. "Premiere: Listen to Novelist's "10 Out Of 10"". Complex UK.
  18. ^ "The MOBO Awards finally introduce a grime category: Big Narstie, JME, Novelist and more nominated". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 23 September 2014.
  19. ^ "XLRecordings - Novelist x Mumdance - Listen To Shook". Archived from the original on 8 December 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  20. ^ Pattison, Louis (16 January 2015). "Underage against the machine: why labels are desperate to sign teens". The Guardian.
  21. ^ "Novelist Has Left The Square, and Dropped a Heavy New Freestyle". Noisey. September 2015.
  22. ^ "Women in Music: Scotland's Shifting Music Scene - The Skinny". Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  23. ^ "Novelist joins Labour Party, backs Jeremy Corbyn". NME. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  24. ^ Simpson, Fiona (22 May 2017). "Novelist pens powerful essay on the importance of voting, backs Jeremy Corbyn". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  25. ^ Siggs, Jack. "Issue 02: Novelist". GAFFER. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  26. ^ "Novelist interview: 'I must speak the truth, I'll die for it'". London Evening Standard. 9 July 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  27. ^ "Official Independent Album Breakers Chart Top 20 | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  28. ^ "Novelist announces debut album details". The Fader. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  29. ^ "Listen: Murlo x Novelist - 'Flavour'". Clash Magazine.