HHM: When did you first realize that a career in Hip Hop is what you wanted to do in life?
NOVA: When I was younger, it was the only place I could be completely honest and say exactly what I felt, unapologetically and just be 1000% real with my feelings and thoughts. Music is the only real honest place we can run to on earth and hip hop just happens to be my resting spot.
HHM: Where did the NOVA moniker come from?
NOVA: My friend Zach Kumer, and I were making music as kids, and he came up with this name for me and him as a group from this little map he had on his wall. He said “NOVA” is a star and “TRIBE” is a family, and so we ran with “NOVATRIBE” as to mean “a family of stars”. I used to go by the name MSR, but my brother told me that sh*t was stupid and I needed something shorter. So, in homage to the first person who ever believed in my music….Zach….I decided I would go by the name NOVA.
HHM: What do you think are some of the biggest stumbling blocks coming up in the “rap game”?
NOVA: Stupid f*cking people man. People that can’t think for themselves and decide for themselves. People stuck on ‘being cool’ and being followers man. I came up in the era of Spike Lee, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, PIONEERS MAN….Legends….people that LED….and said f*ck what you guys are talkin….THIS is what the people need man. Rap ain’t goin nowhere and we gotta get back to why the f*ck we started this in the first place. RELEASE. Freedom of a trapped spirit. Derived from the ghettos and hoods. The only thing we could do was release. Gotta get that back in this.
HHM: What were some of your biggest influences musically?
NOVA: LL COOL J, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, and I always always say my friend Zach Kumer. Were it not for him, would I have recorded this long in my life? Would I have the same passion and desire? Would I be so ‘open’ to different cultures and sounds?….probably not.
HHM: Did you have any sort of mentor that show you the ropes or helped you along the way?
NOVA: I’d say my sister Felicia was really dope and important to me in being somebody that guided me out to perform live and get me out in front of the people. From a mentor standpoint, I can’t say anybody has really guided me musically or shown me any ropes….it’s been all fly by the seat of my pants. GOD man……GOD guides like a beast. I follow that.
HHM: Was there any key advice that you received while you were coming up that really stuck with you?
NOVA: I’d say not advice given to me, but watching Wiz Khalifa blow up after performing with him for a while and seeing how that happened has provided me with mad useful info you know what I’m sayin? Like….easily I figured out 90% of what I need to know just by watching THAT happen. What a storyline that was….and I can’t lie….it was absolutely AMAZING to watch. Heartwarming coming from the city we come from.
HHM: You have been putting out records since like 2006….all which have done pretty well. Does the writing process just seem to come natural to you?
NOVA: It does come natural. There are times I hit writers block, but I’m f*cking talented man. I think the sad part is guys like myself and a lot of other guys I know NEVER get heard and that sucks man. Very talented and very hard workers get lost in the muck of all these ‘i woke up yesterday and decided to make music’ motherf*cks that get in the way man. I’m of the soul. I’m from this. I DO THIS. Have since I was 10 years old. I’m tired sometimes from putting in all this work….but it just comes naturally. I can’t help but spend 12 hours a day in a studio to make ONE song. I can’t help but make all these records. I’m naturally gifted and guided. I just wish sometimes it was appreciated more.
HHM: How much do you think you have progressed as an artist since those earlier years?
NOVA: I’ve learned how to reach deep and write from a place that is so many layers inside of me…peel the onion. Speak on that stuff that its hard to look in the mirror and say some of what I’m feeling. When I get on a record….THAT is the place i can say EXACTLY what i’m feeling or thinking….regardless of how it’s taken…or thought. That’s a real place for me. I’ve learned how to endure and ENJOY that real place. No matter how dark, no matter how shallow, no matter how deep….just go to that place and let it out. Release…..what hip hop IS to a lot of black youth. How it started man.
HHM: Do you look forward to being in the studio more or playing live in front of a crowd?
NOVA: Hell yeah man I LIKE BEING THE STUDIO WAY MORE! I look forward to the GENUINE honesty of being in the studio more than I do the entertainment aspect of being on the stage. Though I’ve loved both here and there………right now the biggest gripe I have with being on stage…..at this point in my career…is that it’s 99% OF THE TIME just a “impress me now” fest…….i don’t do music to ‘impress’ nobody. I do it because it’s f*ckin real man…its from a real ass place, inside of me. Unfortunately when you are in a room of strangers that’s all it is dude…..gotta impress somebody…….i don’t wanna impress you. I don’t. Listen and love it or not. I can’t stand that aspect right now. I pray for the day I can translate what it feels like in the studio, on a stage.
HHM: You’re currently working on a new record…how are things coming along and when do you think you’ll be releasing the first single?
NOVA: I’m working on my new album called “ME” right now. The first single is out called “So What” you can download it free audiomack.com/novatribe! The second single is called “Eye On The Prize” should be out by the time anybody reads this, and my final single will be released on June 3rd! The album is really dope and just primal. Primal emotion. Primal spirit. Primal vibe. I wanted a bottom line theory to this album. What do you want? To be a better person…….do you want a car….do you want women….do you want to excel??? That’s ME….i just want what I want….desire what I want. Translating that to album form has been real dope. Trying new vibes and emotions on this project from a real place. The album releases on June 11th, 2013.
HHM: What was it like getting to rap for Big Sean? Was it a bit intimidating at first?
NOVA: Naw not really, I kind of was nervous, but I think that’s because in my head I wanted to not seem like an as*hole that does this all the time, and I also didn’t know what it could ACTUALLY mean to my career. I saw him come in and he wasn’t talking to anybody so I walk up to him and I’m like “Hey, what’s up man, how ya been” because I actually met him a few months before that. He was real cool and just down to earth. I told him his project is dope and everything and I was like “Hey man, can I ask you a favor” and I was thinking he wouldn’t do it, but he’s like “yeah, what’s up”….and I said “man, give me 15 seconds to rap for you yo”. Right there on the spot, he was like ‘aiight, go ahead, right now’…and I was like…aw man….i can’t right now you gotta do the interview and all that. He was like “aight, we can do it after”. He was ALL ABOUT IT. So the time comes and I walk with em, and he tells me to come with em downstairs cause their going to the elevator. I almost chickened out, but my friend was like “what the f*ck are you doin’ man…get over there”! So I did it man. Rest is on youtube now! Lol! Could be good, could be nothing….and that was running through my mind at the time. That chapter in my story isn’t closed though. Who knows….maybe he’ll remember one day. Maybe….he already has. 😉
HHM: Besides working on your latest record, what else can you share with the readers that they can look forward to?
NOVA: People can look forward to the new album “ME” dropping on June 11th, 2013 and working on some other cool things on the low…but that’s all that matters. THAT NEW ALBUM…”ME”….June 11th, 2013….FREE to download! Follow me on twitter @iamnovatribe and facebook.com/novatribe and stay posted wit the latest! Ya dig me!?
Interview by DaveHHM
The guy is a 6’4″, 135 pound, rail-thin rapper soaking wet. Has the sex appeal of a giraffe, and the adams apple of an anorexic teenager who swallowed a tic tac…..but by golly….he makes one HELL of a good rapper!
Often his rap style is described as “bouncy”, “explosive” and “colorful”. GO Magazine calls him “One of those all-too-rare musicians who understands the difference between playing a gig and delivering a show”. His sharp delivery, smooth wordplay and amiable stage presence is what makes him a vibrant experience to see and hear. “NOVA molds catchy, commercial hip-hop with intricate lyrics to produce an appealing sound” says essentialpop.com
The self-proclaimed “Tall Slimmy” has rocked the stage with some of the best having opened for artist such as Wiz Khalifa, Flo-Rida, Lil Jon, Roscoe Dash, Travis Porter, Ryan Leslie, Marcus Houston, D-12, and The Artifacts. He is a Pittsburgh Hip Hop Award winner, MySpace Music Feature Artist, and sort of a viral sensation with his “Periodic Table Rap” reaching over 250,000 views. A man of the people; he lovingly refers to his supporters and fans as the “Novatribe”.
NOVA is currently staying in Atlanta, GA working on his next project for 2013 called “ME”. Free to download on June 11th.
Detemination of an Underground Rapper LP – 2006
Ambition of an Underground Rapper LP – 2007
Dreams of an Underground Rapper LP – 2008
The Atlanta Projekt LP – 2009
No Map To Kansas LP – 2010
The Tall Slimmy LP – 2011
Supernova LP – 2012
For More Information on NOVA:
Follow him online at facebook.com/novatribe