Today, we’ve reached another stop on our full-speed-ahead hype train towards RL Grime’s new album. Similar to rappers Frank Ocean and Tyler the Creator, RL has released a zine in anticipation for his upcoming project. Within this zine, we can find loads of information: a letter to the fans from Henry himself, information regarding a couple of tracks from the album, loads of pictures and artwork, and what seems to be a list of cities for a potential album tour. Let’s go ahead and take a look.
Starting from the cover, we first get the title of the new album, NOVA, in a very similarly stylized font to that of his debut album, VOID. Looks like RL Grime will be taking a similar route in art direction that he took with VOID.
Onto the next page. If you didn’t know what a Nova was, RL is here to give you a quick lesson. Kind of. He literally just copy and pasted a huge chunk of the “Nova” Wikipedia page into this part of the zine. Not much to see here. We can go ahead and skip to the next page.
This next bit here is the “mission statement,” in the form of a letter to RL’s fans. Here, he describes how the music he creates, and everything that goes along with it, is part of a “greater whole.” What ties it all together is the experiences that are created during this new journey that he has named NOVA. He goes on to explain how he wants to create a space where the fans’ input will greatly influence the upcoming music and performances. It is unclear at what exactly he is getting at here, but it sounds like a cool idea. I hope he can execute it as best he can.
Moving on. For page 4, we get a list of credits for an unreleased song, “Stay For It,” featuring one of the biggest R&B singers right now, Miguel. What else can we get from these credits? Well, we do know that there is additional production by Andrew Swanson, aka Djemba Djemba. There is one unreleased track in particular that is known to be an RL Grime and DjembaX2 collab, and that just happens to be the huge future bass banger that Henry famously closed out his epic 2015 HARD SUMMER set with. Take a listen, here. As an added bonus, Americo from Boombox Cartel is on mixing duties, a known legend in that field.
Page 5 is one of the most interesting parts of the zine. This part contains a transcript of a conversation between RL Grime and Miguel, regarding their work process, the industry, and more. Not much to decode here, just a genuine conversation between two genuine dudes. I’m just picturing myself as a fly on the wall listening to them talk during their final “Stay For It” session. It fascinates me. If there’s any tidbit of information to take from this, it’s RL’s mention that he has previously played out the instrumental of “Stay For It” at festivals. This further supports the thought that it truly is the track from his HARD SUMMER ‘15 set, with Miguel’s vocals layered on top. Can’t wait to hear that.
For page 6, we get some more cryptic info, this time regarding the classic RL Grime track “Because Of U.” There’s a website, bcofu.com, which is a mostly blank site with a single link that takes us to the @becauseofu Instagram account, which looks like it was created last week. No juicy information here, just interesting to see what he’ll do with it. There’s also a number you can text, which seems to be a growing trend among some electronic artists (ZHU comes to mind). I texted the number; here’s what I got in return:
“Welcome to Nova. The journey starts here. Talk soon.
Reply ‘Stop’ at any time to stop receiving messages.”
Pages 7 to 11 are all photos and artwork. Some include pictures of Miguel and Henry in the studio. Some, I imagine, are going to be a part of the art direction behind NOVA, which could be cover art, and/or visuals that we will experience at his shows.
Finally, we reach the final page. Although there are no specific dates listed, we can safely assume that this is a list of cities that RL Grime will be heading to during an album tour. Here’s the full list so you don’t have to try and read some upside-down.
Salt Lake City