At the risk of sounding really, really pretentious, I’m going to kick this one off with a reference to the most acclaimed book nobody’s read: James Joyce’s Ulysses (I made it 150 pages before my brain gave out). If Booth-acclaimed jack-of-all-trades Novel were a character from a novel, he might be Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus, a young, talented artist torn between questions of love, money and authenticity—to paraphrase a famous line, the music industry’s a nightmare from which he’s trying to wake up. Though label politics have left the ATL native feeling like he’s stuck in Suspended Animation, these frustrations only seem to have strengthened his artistic vision. The title track (and first official leak) off his forthcoming mixtape finds him mining his disillusionment with the game for inspiration, delivering rapped verses and a sung hook over his own densely-layered blend of fingerpicked guitar, synth arpeggios, and soulful backing vocals. Complete with an equally insightful guest verse by Virginia Beach rapper/producer Ced Hughes, this thought-provoking cut is sure to strike a chord with Booth readers—and if all the material on the Novel’s forthcoming mixtape (due out July 4th) is this strong, it’s a good bet that his story will soon take a turn for the better.