Finding Novyon (pronounced Novee-yon) has a creative confidence that belies his name. The Minneapolis rapper is riding a wave that some never expected to arrive, on a board of booming bass lines and head turning lyricism. Citizens of the Land of 10,000 Lakes went years without seeing fame or fortune for musicians outside of an elite circle of icons, and for someone my age, the top music echelon in Minnesota did not seem real. Even the hip-hop pioneers of the late 90's and 2000's, some now MN music elder statesmen, some still plugging away, were at the helm of a movement composed of kids but led by adults. Now it's 2016, and it's the youth's time in Minnesota. The wave is getting ready to crash into commercial success, and it's more accurate to say Novyon is pulling the gravitational forces creating the wave, far from the passive rider.
Key to understanding Finding Novyon is self-sufficiency, and it goes back to the name. Once told by an ex that he should "find himself", Novyon took the advice and took it by himself. As of now, he has no team and no manager (although, he says that's on the way). Does his own PR. All music self-produced, outside frequent collaborator Travis Gorman and his work with J. KELR (Blended Babies' JP) on his projectBelieve In Minneapolis. A sound and style to call his own. In his self-described Jordan year, he put in the work and now the accolades are rolling in. Chosen for Red Bull Sound Select. Working with some of the hottest talent in the US right now, including a growing relationship with Sonny Digital. 20,000 twitter followers and counting. A debut on Soundset (Minnesota's biggest stage) and appearance on Sway In The Morning. But when it comes to pushing the Minnesotan and Midwestern culture forward, he's got plenty of help. Names like Allen Kingdom (who Novyon cites as his best friend) and Bobby Raps of the St4nd4rd broke ground in a big way, and as more artists like Novyon help push, the floodgates will start opening. Of course, there's not many artists like Novyon.
Finding Novyon's tunes have bounce, and upon listening, you won't be surprised to hear that he was heavily influenced by snap and other southern offshoots growing up. The rapper is a producer, giving his music that full circle, complete quality that multi-talent artists get when making a track. His approach to production and tempo is something that has been missing in Minnesota hip-hop, unfortunate given the funk roots of the Minneapolis Sound and the heart of its dance scene. Home of backpackers (RIP Eyedea) and freestylers, saying the vibe is never lost would be a lie. But Finding Novyon is finding Minnesota's groove, presenting a form of hip-hop uniquely his, dance-able, heady and heavy. The Minneapolis rapper has four projects out (Where's Novyon, The Food Network, Believe In Minneapolis, and Super Saiyan EP), and while each has a different vibe, the last thing you can say is they don't move. The Super Saiyan project is the standout, with a sequel on the way soon.
The energy is everything. When Novyon raps, you can hear him running out of breath, stretching and enunciating each word like they were the most important he ever said. Like the best artists, he makes it sound effortless. He makes it sound fun. You want to listen again. It's an intangible quality, but looking at his love for anime is a decent lens to see it through; bright, colorful, and sincere like the best toons were. He's the perfect Respect The Neighbors candidate, because if there's one thing valued in Chicago hip-hop right now, it's eclecticism, a quality Finding Novyon has picked up and polished until it shines. His music is complete, containing an ingredient to satisfy anyone's tastes. Production nerds, aye rap fans, solemn preservationists, party animals, all will take something from his music. Never do you hear Finding Novyon trading execution for experimentation. And he needs to be in people's ears, here, now.