Jarred Douglas AKA Noveliss from Detroit's Hip Hop quartet Clear Soul Forces (I was able to interview L.A.Z last year) is an athlete and lyricist who like the group, has received glowing reviews for his brand of high-level pop culture infused metaphors.
Noveliss seamlessly blends references to Anime, Film, and Professional Wrestling (one of his favorite pastimes) into his rhyme schemes setting him apart from many other contemporary rappers. After his phenomenal solo EPs, he along with the other members of CSF are obtaining the recognition they all deserve.
It's with great pleasure that I can now say I have interviewed half of one of Detroit's most electrifying acts.
Prox: Take us back to the beginning. What was life like for you as kid, how exactly did you go from basketball to rapping, and what were some albums that impacted you when you began to pursue music?
Noveliss: I grew up a huge wrestling fan, playing sports. I actually got into hip hop because I used to steal my cousin Jason's tapes when he babysat me and my brother. I grew up listening to a lot of Slim, so like The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP impacted me big early. My group (CSF) was blowing up while I was still playing ball in college so there were times where I'd be traveling with the team then get back to school and have to miss more class to travel with the group. But it was dope because all my professors and Coaches knew and understood. So balancing my life when I was in college was bananas lol.
Prox: As an athlete and martial artist, have you ever consciously thought about how athletics (or the philosophies typically taught within the martial arts) have contributed to your musical discipline?
Noveliss: Of course. Martial Arts have definitely taught me a lot about energy and how to channel that energy. I feel like my training has somewhat shown me the gateway to that creative side and that energy I need for my writing. I come from a full life of being an athlete so that alone has embedded this discipline in me to not settle on these rhymes and try to be the absolute best.
Prox: I asked L.A.Z this same question during the interview we did but I feel like it’s important to hear your opinion as well. What does each individual member of the group bring to the table to make CSF such a powerful collective?
Noveliss: Umm, Ilajide is the engine, he makes us go. He's a creative ball of energy and it rubs off on everybody not to mention he's like a genius; musically and not musically.
If we're talking Marvel heroes, he's Spiderman. He can also rap his ass off. E-Fav is like, the brain. If you are into comics, on some Marvel shit once again, E-Fav is T'Challa aka Black Panther, mad intelligent with a very lethal skill set. He can also rap his ass off. L.A.Z. is the heart, he's Wolverine. He'll pop off on us if we're not handling business like we should. Everybody saw Cyclops as the leader of the X-Men but Wolverine was the leader behind the scenes to me, led by example, that's L.A.Z. and he can rap his ass off.
Prox: What do you want to accomplish and say with the group? Are you and the gang just having fun or do you have a calculated message you’d like the audience to understand?
Noveliss: I know I want to live off music, period. My whole life I've truly felt like I don't belong in this time period. I went to college and graduated but I didn’t agree with it and that’s the societal norm for people growing up. We want to quit our jobs and live off of what we love like every other dreamer ever. I also want to just inspire people, if I can inspire than I’m doing my job.
Prox: Why do you think anime has had such an impact on so many musicians from our generation? What is it about shows like Samurai Champloo that have become such a popular phenomenon amongst indie artists?
Noveliss: Umm, I just think anime and hip hop go together very well. Underground hip hop and anime are just these two very concrete worlds that aren't necessarily visible to the naked eye or ear. Seek and you shall find, you have to seek both of these worlds out but finding and loving them will change your life.
Prox: Can you tell us about some low key things that influence your writing? Are there any special routines that you follow before you play around with ideas?
Noveliss: I rarely ever sit down and tell myself I'm going to write, it just happens. I just listen to beats like all day. I write most of my rhymes at the gym, or in the driveway sitting in my truck, or in the shower. I never force the issue.
Prox: Who are some of your favorite artists, business people, creatives or intellectuals?
Noveliss: My top 5 favorite rappers of all time are Black Thought, Eminem, Nas, MF DOOM and Redman. Currently I listen to Thundercat a lot. I'm the biggest Michael Jackson fan ever, Bruce Lee and Donnie Yen are my favorite Martial Artists of all time. AJ Styles and Rob Van Dam are my favorite wrestlers of all time. My top 5 favorite anime characters ever are Kakashi, Future Trunks, Gon, Minato, and Jin from Samurai Champloo. I listen to a ton of Roy Ayers and Donald Byrd. There I guess lol.
Prox: Favorite Hobbies?
Noveliss: Training, playing basketball and football, I collect Action Figures, watching anime, playing with my kids.
Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?
Noveliss: Always be yourself and put yourself in your art.
Prox: Information on upcoming projects and releases?
Noveliss: I’m working on an album but I'm dropping a EP called "Dilla Instinct" rapping over all J Dilla beats for the first time very soon.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
Noveliss: Sweet questions, fuck fascism, fuck Donald Trump, fuck racism, fuck sexism, fuck homophobia, equality for all, peace and love, we all need it.
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