Life teaches us certain things about gratitude that we may be challenged in one day. With that in context, you surely would be able to applaud the effort of one Novacain. Blind, not defeated the Baltimore-born, Virginia-based MC is the founder of Novacain LLC a management and promotions company that handles not only his development but a roster of talent as well. Incomparable his journey that is outside of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performers Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, he has turned this setback into motivation and hopefully milestones to come like garnering major numbers in online streams of his singles "Snapchat Party", and "I Should Have Went to College". His latest single "Ray Charles Is Back" will surely continue the trend.
“The core of my brand is the blind culture and the blind community. I’m representing that community with my voice,” he explains. “Some of the things I was able to do being blind are crazy…Blindness was the best route for me. It saved me and so many other people around me.”
Pure strength. Born Mario Nelson, Novacain went blind at 17 years of age which in his own account was the least of his worries. A victim of child abuse at the hands of a mother who battled victimization herself - a product of incest rape by her brother.
. “As a kid, I was confused. I didn’t really understand what was going on. I was like ‘what did I do?’” he recalls. “It was confusing, challenging and emotionally draining. But it toughened the hell out of me. And I ended up being really aggressive towards people.”
At 13 years old he called for an end to the abuse by a stern warning to his mother that he was too old for the treatment, and he would not let it happen anymore. The consequence, if you will, was being placed in a group home in Norfolk, Virginia where he spent the next five years as a ward of the state shuffled from home to home. He learned to be strong, aggressive, defensive and confrontational. To balance that residential staff prescribed lithium, not knowing his trait for neurological disorder known as Leber's. Once the gene was activated, his sight was gone.
An occurrence not many could handle. From that point forward, life and his strength took on a different meaning. "What I had already been through toughened my skin; by the time I went blind, it didn't really bother me. I had already been through so much in my life I felt like 'what the hell is blindness' " After losing a role model in his stepdad who had succumbed to his battle with diabetes, Novacain looked to Hip-Hop and a career as a rapper for refuge. At age 22, his mom died. At that time he formed a group called Paranormal Gang which featured his brother who had also migrated to Evansville, Indiana. After a few years of successful releases and acclaim regionally the group disbanded. By 2015 Novacain resurfaced as a solo act with Jukebox. His follow up "Snapchat Party" and "I Should have gone to college" sent his brand through the roof. Outside of his resilience fans are in favor of Novacain's ability to create music without profanities, a lost art.
“I do clean rap. All my music is clean, but I’m not a gospel rapper or a conscious rapper, “I just keep the roots of hip hop alive. I do club songs and stripper songs that don’t have one disrespectful word. The music is so good that people don’t even notice that it’s clean…Where I’m at now looked impossible to me when I was 18. It looked like a fairy tale.”