Kojo Kankam (born 20 January 1997), better known by his stage name Novelist, is an English grime MC and 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. He has been called the "new face of grime" and was described as "the poster child for the first generation of real grime kids" by DJ Logan Sama.
Novelist performing at Field Day 2016
|Birth name||Kojo Kankam|
|Also known as||Mr Tetris|
|Born||20 January 1997|
|Origin||Brockley, Lewisham, London, England|
|Associated acts||Chase & Status, Mumdance, The Square|
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. 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. 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. He recorded a song entitled "Take Time" in a studio session with experimental producer Mumdance in October 2013, which was later signed to Rinse and released as a single in the summer of 2014.
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, he featured on Cable's Sixty Minutes mix again later that year recording a second guest set with the Square. In late 2013 Novelist began working with No Hats No Hoods. In mid-2014, the label signed his crew the Square, their first release on the label The Formula came out in August 2014. 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. In September 2014, Novelist received a MOBO nomination in the Best Grime Act category. 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. The EP, entitled 1 Sec was released on 20 January 2015, the same day he turned 18.
On 1 September 2015, Novelist left the Square with the stated intention of furthering his solo career. 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. 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. 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.
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." In May 2017, Novelist wrote an essay endorsing Labour Party leader Jeremy 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; he speaks plainly and in a way that everyone can understand."
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|1 Sec EP||
|Be Blessed EP||
|Reload King EP||
With the SquareEdit
|"New Path"||2017||Non-album singles|
|"No Weapons / See Me"||2018|
|"Nov Wait Stop Wait"||Novelist Guy|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
(Mumdance featuring Novelist)
|—||—||Monki & Friends EP Vol. 2|
|"One and Only"
|"Bigger Man Sound"
(Chase & Status featuring Novelist)
|2015||—||—||London Bars Vol. IV|
(Baauer feat. Novelist and Leikeli47)
(Skepta featuring Novelist)
|"Can't Tell Me Nothing"
(Nick Hook featuring Novelist)
|2017||—||—||Can't Tell Me Nothing EP|
(Chase & Status featuring Novelist)
- Fraser, Tomás (5 November 2015). "Novelist: Next Generation". Crack Mag.
- "Novelist on launching new label: 'I like to help the people around me' - NME". 6 November 2016.
- Hannah Ellis-Petersen. "Mobo awards 2014: Sam Smith and Krept and Konan lead nominations". the Guardian.
- "RA Reviews: Mumdance - Take Time on Rinse Recordings (Single)". Resident Advisor.
- "Mixmag - TIP: MUMDANCE & NOVELIST". mixmag.net.
- "Daily Discovery: Meet Novelist, the Young Grime MC Who's Already Worked With Jamie xx". Pigeons & Planes.
- "Interview: Novelist, Grch 2013".
- "BBC Radio 1Xtra - BBC Radio 1Xtra's Stories, Grime Mums". BBC.
- "Mixmag - DUBSTEP & GRIME: FEBRUARY". mixmag.net.
- "RA Reviews: Novelist - Sniper EP on Oil Gang (Single)". Resident Advisor.
- "18 record labels to watch in 2013". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music.
- Dummy. "Mumdance introduces Novelist". dummymag.com.
- "BBC Radio 1Xtra - MistaJam, Angel is Inbox:FRESH!". BBC.
- "BBC Radio 1Xtra - MistaJam, 20/08/2014". BBC.
- "Life At 140: No Hats No Hoods Special". Clash Magazine.
- "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.
- Joseph JP Patterson. "Premiere: Listen to Novelist's "10 Out Of 10"". Complex UK.
- "The MOBO Awards finally introduce a grime category: Big Narstie, JME, Novelist and more nominated". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music.
- "XLRecordings - Novelist x Mumdance - Listen To Shook". xlrecordings.com.
- Pattison, Louis (16 January 2015). "Underage against the machine: why labels are desperate to sign teens". theguardian.com. The Guardian.
- "Novelist Has Left The Square, and Dropped a Heavy New Freestyle". Noisey.
- "Novelist joins Labour Party, backs Jeremy Corbyn". NME. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
- Simpson, Fiona (22 May 2017). "Novelist pens powerful essay on the importance of voting, backs Jeremy Corbyn". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Novelist announces debut album details". The Fader. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- "Listen: Murlo x Novelist - 'Flavour'". Clash Magazine.