Novelist on how grime can be “a great catalyst” in tackling violence: “I feel like people can get revelation from art”

His new single 'No Weapons' highlights the issue of crime amongst young people

Novelist has spoken out on how grime music can be “a great catalyst” in tackling the rise in gun and knife violence in the UK.

The Lewisham MC recently released his powerful new single, ‘No Weapons’, which highlights how these crimes can affect young people and their communities. Appearing on ITV News, the rapper was asked what he hopes his audience will take from the track.

“I feel like people can get revelation from art,” Novelist said. “I remember when I was young my mum said to me something profound. She said, ‘You can learn from other people’s mistakes’. So I feel like sometimes when you see something in a way that’s realistic to your environment – but it’s still kinda cinematic – it can give you an insight on something before you decide to take action.”

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Asked how he thinks grime music can be a positive factor in influencing young people to step away from violence, he replied: “In my life [music] always gave me something to do, personally as a musician. But I feel like when you see the ‘cool guy’ on the screen and he’s influential, you wanna be like that dude.

“I personally feel like I have a responsibility [to be a positive role model], but not everyone does.”

Novelist went on to explain that he experienced “all sorts of walks of life” while growing up in the London borough of Lewisham, which ultimately influenced his art.

“I just feel like I’ve seen so much; I’ve got stories to tell and it would be a shame if I didn’t,” he added. “My name’s Novelist, do you know what I mean?”

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Pressed on whether more could be done to tackle this sort of crime, the rapper said: “I mean there are so many different factors as to why people fight against each other. But at the same time, you can conquer mentalities before you can conquer anything tangible.

“So if you can get into someone’s head that there’s a right way of doing things – music is a great catalyst of doing that with – then I feel like someone may think twice.”

Last year, Novelist opened up about the diversity of his album after being shortlisted for 2018’s Mercury Music Prize.

The Skepta collaborator’s long-awaited and acclaimed debut ‘Novelist Guy‘ made the shortlist for last year’s prize alongside the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Jorja Smith, Lily Allen, Wolf Alice, Nadine Shah and more.

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