Novia is a hip-hop artist from Nice, in the South of France. He is one of the most popular artists in his city due to the song “Fontaine de Jouvence” (Fountain of Youth) which earned him a scandal at national level in 2012 and headlines in the media. With more than a million views on YouTube, Novia is back with a new soulful and melancholic track entitled “Le soleil ne brille plus” (The sun does not shine anymore).
It’s an interesting point in history for hip-hop. After a few years in which untalented, flowless, auto-tuned sellouts were able to flourish, talented meaningful flows and inspired choruses are making a comeback. It’s important to note that even though Novia is in style sonically, with modern rap, he isn’t making McDonald’s music. There’s some serious meat and melody on this single, as he is not sacrificing himself to cater to a fickle audience.
Novia’s wordy, down-to-earth flow cannot be doubted, as he puts together some smooth verses. None of which I can understand unfortunately, being in French. So my appreciation is based solely on tone and timbre, though I’ve come to understand from some research that the song’s theme is an ode to the pain of living.
The sense of focus in the production is also excellent as the somber soundscape captures a heavyhearted and melancholy atmosphere that matches the title.
Novia’s verses and chorus are infused with melody which keeps the songs momentum going despite the slow tempo. The rapper makes you feel as if there is no hope within the environment he raps about and after listening you will feel that too. The track makes you ponder on different aspects of life (even though you can’t understand a single word!).
And on the chorus he’s singing in a breathless whisper through a narrative that’s going to take you a few listens to piece together. It sounds like Novia is bringing a deeper exploration of internal conflict to the table. It’s an austere, gelid sound that fit its numbed vibe, which can also be savored in the song’s accompanying video.
Novia’s cinematic mindset transfers to his music on “Le soleil ne brille plus” like never before, while the beat gives extra gravity to lines the artist is rapping. It’s a reminder that Novia is most comfortable when removed from mainstream expectations and industry trends. There’s certainly nothing watered-down about this song musically, and I only wish I could understand the lyrics for extra pleasure!