EP Review | Noveliss – Metal Face Hokage

This extended play was released on May 21st this year. If you read my review of the latest Clear Soul Forces album, you know that I think very highly of Noveliss. He’s my favorite member of the group. Since listening to Still, I’ve gone back and listened to all of Noveliss’ solo material. He doesn’t have a single project that I don’t like. My favorite project from him is either Toonami Tsunamis, Mic Swordz or Kenjutsu Under the Moonlight. As you can probably tell from the titles of those projects along with the cover art for this EP, Noveliss is a total fuckin’ weeb. I hate anime, but I’m familiar enough with it to understand his references. Despite my aversion to Japanese animation, for whatever reason whenever it’s blended with Hip Hop it’s really dope to me. One other thing that I really like about Noveliss’ solo work is that most of his extended plays are tributes to specific artists. He’s done tributes for DJ Premier, J Dilla and Nujabes. This one that I’m reviewing now is obviously a tribute to MF DOOM. I’ll be shocked if I don’t end up enjoying this project. It’s possible that it won’t be one of my favorite projects Noveliss has released, but I think it’s gonna be dope. Every single track is produced by Def Dee. On Still, there was a track called Diamond Rhymin’. It was produced by someone named Dom Sicily. It’s the same nigga. I mean, Dom Sicily is an alias of Def Dee. I didn’t know that at the time though. So uh… Yeah…

1. The Mask featuring DJ Odilon

This track starts with an audio clip from Naruto. I hate that show. I mean, I hate all the characters, aside from Rock Lee. Rock Lee was that nigga. Naruto annoyed the shit outta me. I hate his voice so much. I think I only ever saw the first few episodes of that shit when it first started airing on Cartoon Network. That was back when I was in elementary school I think. I didn’t know what the fuck a “hokage” was, so I just googled it. Apparently it’s some made up word from Naruto. I’m glad I didn’t look into it enough to find out what it’s actually supposed to mean. Anyway, this beat from Def Dee is really great. The first few lines contain a lot of Naruto references. He name dropped a lot of characters I don’t know about. I had to google them to even know that they were from Naruto. Thankfully the rest of the verse isn’t filled with shit I can’t understand. It’s really dope.

This the sound of resilience, one story out of a million
A genius crumbling building and rebuild it to the ceiling
With the image of Emmett Till in the form of a Basquiat
Hanging on the wall to remind us all
That we haven’t come as far as we probably thought

The DOOM sample that DJ Odilon scratched for the hook sounds great. The second verse was really nice too. It ended with a supervillain reference that I didn’t get since I’m not really into superheroes. I haven’t seen any of those Marvel movies aside from Black Panther. I had to Google who Corvus Glaive was and what the Black Order is. I get it now though. Once again, I was able to enjoy the verse. It’s not like everything was going over my head.

Powerbomb MCs through tables that’s periodic; I’m never out of my element

I think this is a really good song. The beat is great, the scratches from DJ Odilon are nice, and Noveliss rapped his ass off as always. This shit is dope.

2. Train of Thought

The previous track segues into this one really nicely. The MF DOOM style influences are more prominent on this track than they were on the previous one. Noveliss is rapping in third person just like DOOM does. That first verse was awesome. Those lines about police brutality were really great. I feel like whenever I see that someone is rapping about police brutality I expect to hear some cliché shit that everyone’s already said. Noveliss thankfully said what he had to say in an interesting way though.

Hoodie or no hoodie, they still mistakin’ your wallet
For a paid vacation and time away from the office

He continues rapping about it on the second verse, and it’s pretty goddamn depressing.

If the color of your skin is viewed as an actual weapon
You will never be considered unarmed, the darkest lesson

That’s so dope. I mean, it’s super sad and unfortunate since it’s true. It’s worded really well though. The entire song is really well written. It’s got a unique structure too. The incorporation of that Q-Tip sample was cool, and the actual beat from Def Dee is good too. Of course all the verses from Noveliss are great. That Star Wars reference was really cool. This is an awesome song to be honest. I don’t have any issues with it. This shit is dope af.

3. Ninja Scroll

The beat on this track is a bit more uh… Hmm… I don’t know if “upbeat” is the right word to use. I guess “lighthearted” makes more sense. Anyway, the first verse on this track is really dope.

Self doubt poisons my mind like Loki’s scepter
Pull myself out of depression by makin’ records
I’m Bruce Banner pulling himself out of the Hulk for a quick second
To get a good look at his reflection

The hook on this track is pretty cool. I like how he said his book of rhymes looks like a ninja scroll. The second verse was nice too. I appreciated the Legend of Zelda references. This is another good song. It’s a pretty straightforward track. There are only two verses. I enjoyed it though. The audio from what sounds like a Marvel movie or cartoon that was included at the end of the song sounded cool too. I don’t know why, but superhero shit seems way less nerdy to me than anime. It doesn’t matter though. This song is dope.

4. Two Birds

The beat on this track is pretty solid. The first verse was cool, but it doesn’t really stand out much. I mean, it’s better than an average verse from any other rapper. It’s not that impressive coming from Noveliss though. It’s sufficient though. It was still good. The hook is nothing special, but it works. The second verse was pretty good. Some of the shit he was rapping about was pretty interesting. He had a line about how “our realities fabricated.” If I heard this song while I was in the psych ward it would’ve fucked my mind even more. Anyway, I enjoyed this song. It’s probably my least favorite song so far, but it’s still pretty good. Nothing about it is particularly bad. It just doesn’t really stand out that much. I do like it though. It’s good.

5. Traveling Man

The beat on this track is pretty good. In terms of the production, this project isn’t really any different from most of Noveliss’ other shit. It’s got that same smooth, laidback aesthetic that almost all his other stuff has. The first verse on this track is pretty good. As you could probably surmise from the title, this song is basically about Noveliss being a nomad. The second verse on this track is even better than the first one in my opinion.

The victory flawless
MC’s sweat the technique until it drip through they coffin
Ayo, no days off; I’ve been exhausted
But still see the light through the dark like Brian Dawkins

I like how he ended the verse by highlighting how shitty that nomadic lifestyle can be. This is a pretty good track. It’s not amazing or anything, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. This one is dope.

6. Vultures featuring Illadope

I’m not really familiar with Illadope. The only thing I know about him is that he’s a DJ from North Carolina. I assumed he was from Detroit at first since he works with CSF, but according to his bandcamp page he’s from Jacksonville. Anyway, the beat on this track is pretty nice. The way Def Dee flipped this Soul sample is cool. This beat actually sounds different from what Noveliss typically rhymes over. The first verse was dope. I think the second one was better though.

Humanity been cut by the blade they draw the line with
It don’t matter how you feeling inside, they prey on silence
Divide and conquer they filling the morgue
Social class, race, religion and more
Just the tip of the sword

I think Illadope is responsible for some of the crossfade effects on the beat. It sounds pretty good. I don’t really have any substantial gripes with this song. Again, it’s not a mindblowing track. I enjoyed it quite a bit though. This one is dope.

7. Megazord

The beat on this track is great. It’s more of the same chill shit Noveliss always raps over. It’s really good though. The first verse on this song is really dope. I loved that Rock Lee reference. When I read the title of this track I assumed there would be a lot of Power Rangers references, but I don’t think there were any in either of the verses. The hook is very simplistic, but it gets the job done. I like how the song ended. The instrumental outro was really great. Honestly, this is one of the best tracks on the project in my opinion. I really like the production, and both of the verses from Noveliss were great. I don’t have any real issues with the song. I think it’s dope af.

8. Vultures Remix featuring Illadope

Hmm… This “remix” seems to be exactly the same as the original song. I assumed the beat would be different, but it’s actually not. Well, actually that’s not true. I think Illadope’s performance is what changed. This remix definitely has some scratching on the outro that was absent from the original song. It’s not really a noticeable difference, but if I had to choose a version that I preferred, I’d probably go with this one. Record scratches are always a good addition for me. This is a good song. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel unnecessary though. I feel like they should’ve just chosen between the two versions they have because they’re almost identical. Including both of them just makes it feel redundant, especially since they’re so close together in the tracklist. I’m nitpicking though. The song is still dope.


This is another great extended play. If you’re familiar with Noveliss you should pretty much know what to expect because this really isn’t that different from his other material in my opinion. The production is very similar to that of his other work, and it’s not too different lyrically either. I kinda feel like this is just one of those projects that’s meant to hold the fans over. However, this came out less than half a year after the latest Clear Soul Forces album, so I don’t know. It’s really just more of the same from Noveliss. That’s not really a bad thing though. It’s a great project. It’s just not really gonna be a super memorable release since it doesn’t stand out from the rest of his material. I did enjoy it a lot though. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: Megazord
Least Favorite Song: Two Birds

81

80-89
Grade: B+

Tell me if I'm trippin'

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s