Novaakan3: The TikTok Star Ready To Take Over The Music Industry


Novaakan3 speaks on his hoop dreams, how he got poppin’ on TikTok, posting a video in the height of BLM protests, opening for BLXST, collaborating with Bino Ridaeux, his relationship with K Camp, wanting to be a school counselor and more!

Novaakan3 is here to prove he’s far more than a social media star, he’s a recording artist here to make an impact on the rap game. 

The San Diego native known for his skills on the basketball court, was highly recruited out of the junior college ranks. The rising star signed a Division 1 Scholarship to continue his career at Savannah State University. 

After college, basketball quickly became his livelihood when he became a professional by signing his first pro contract to play overseas in Europe. When he realized going to the NBA was out of the picture, Novaakan3 explored different avenues that he could thrive in and express himself.

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Novaakan3 discovered the power of TikTok and quickly grew his following from one million, to 2, to 3, to now 4.1 million followers. It was during the Black Lives Matter protests that Novaakan3 posted real life footage of being hit with tear gas, instantly going viral and sparking conversation at the height of the George Floyd movement.

While the rapid recognition has been a huge blessing both personally and financially, Novaakan3 would soon discover his true passion: music. Having only created music for a year, he unleashed his single “Best Friend” which took off on the app, accumulating over 70 million plays to date. Fast forward to today, Novaakan3 returns with his newest single titled “Love Letter,” tapping none other than Los Angeles’ own Bino Rideaux. 

To date, Novaakan3 has opened for the likes of Rubi Rose, DJ Esco, and BLXST, and continues to work hard in the lab perfecting his craft. A true multi-hyphenate, he’s also currently in school to get his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development, with an emphasis on counseling.

AllHipHop: How would you describe yourself, for those who don’t know?

Novaakan3: I’d describe myself as very passionate, down the earth, very humble, and hard-working. Those are really the attributes that describe me through my journey as an athlete, so I’m trying to use the values that I learned through sports to carry into my music career. 

AllHipHop: How good were you on that court? 

Novaakan3: I was solid, I went D1. I was among the top 5 junior college players in the United States. I played at Mesa College in San Diego, then I went to Savannah State in Georgia. Then I went overseas: I played in Australia, Bosnia and Mexico.

AllHipHop: How was that?

Novaakan3: Bosnia was a beautiful country. Although they had a war in the 90’s and it was still war torn, Sarajevo was an amazing city to live in. The people were hella dope over there, they embraced my teammate and I and made our overseas experience enjoyable.

AllHipHop: What were your hoop dreams?

Novaakan3: I wanted to play in the NBA, but things happen.. A lot of politics too, but I’m happy with what basketball has done for me. I was able to have my education paid for, travel the world, and experience different cultures. 

AllHipHop: So when did this social media thing happen?

Novaakan3: I started taking social media seriously during the pandemic. After my season ended in Australia, I came home and I was trying to figure out what was next for me. I was working part time downtown as a VIP host, at FLUXX nightclub, which enabled me to make connections and gain exposure within the nightlife scene. Amidst the pandemic, when clubs closed, I began to explore a different avenue through social media, little did I know this would change my life forever. 

AllHipHop: Did you like it?

Novaakan3: My TikTok career started when my boy said “hey man, look at this. Check out this new app, it’s called TikTok.” I’m looking like bro, TikTok is lame. It’s for kids. Everybody’s doing the TikTok dances during the pandemic, I’m like ehh. 2020, that’s when everything started to kick off, when everyone was stuck at home. I’m like hmm, let me start. I’ve always been dabbling in social media stuff, but not really heavy. I started getting into TikTok and started doing it every day. My page started growing and next thing you know I’m at 100K followers. The more videos I made, the more creative I got. I began to enjoy creating videos that my audience could enjoy as well. I stayed consistent and kept going and now we’re at 4.1 million and counting.

AllHipHop: What was your first video to go viral?

Novaakan3: During the Black Lives Matter protest I was filming my experiences in San Diego and took pride as being a creator who used my platform to spread awareness about social injustice. The video that went viral was me being tear gassed by the police, which occurred during a peaceful protest in downtown San Diego. The video reached a wide audience, and garnered over 4 million views. I gained over 100,000 followers in 48 hours. After this video, my account would grow continuously and I became known as one of the top creators in San Diego. 

AllHipHop: Did it hurt?

Novaakan3: Yes, It really hurt. I was surprised more than anything, but the structure of the peaceful protests were helpful. They had police on either side of us that could throw stuff into your eyes, like milk. Luckily I was okay and I came out of the experience with the ability to show the world that I’m actually 10 toes down with the movement. 

AllHipHop: How’s the journey been from then, to now 4 million followers?

Novaakan3: TikTok started as a way of passing time in the pandemic through comedy. Once the pandemic ended, I branched out into cemedic videos, skits, and voiceovers. One thing about me is I love to laugh. I began posting my Tiktok videos on all of my socials and received a lot of support because people weren’t aware of my sense of humor. I’m a funny person, and I like to laugh. During the pandemic, everyone was like “oh, you’re funny” and I’m like “Yeah, I’ve been funny my whole life”. I think it’s important to show people a different side of you and Tiktok allowed me to promote that. 

Once I found my nitch, a lot of people began to gravitate towards my page and bigger social media accounts such as: Sportscenter, House of highlights, and Hoodville began posting my content. I got verified by Tiktok with around 130k followers and that’s all she wrote. 

AllHipHop: How quick was that?

Novaakan3: It took me a year and a half to get to a million followers, but it took me a month to get to 2 million. One thing that made my page stand out was my following ratio. If you look at Tiktok, about 98% of the top creators only follow a handful of people. I decided to take a different approach and become “the only verified creator on Tiktok that follows back”. This gave my page a lot of attention because I took the time to follow people back and respond to comments. It was a different kind of love and people truly appreciated the engagement. I believe being authentic and genuine is what sets me apart from the rest.

AllHipHop: Are you serious?

Novaakan3: Yeah, if you look at my page I’m following over 9,000 people. I’ve been preaching on Tiktok that we are all the same. Our social status may be different due to the amount of money we have, but we all share one thing in common, we are all people. I think that’s what they like about me: me showing love, commenting on other people’s videos, responding to comments, just being normal.

AllHipHop: How’s the TikTok bag?

Novaakan3: The Tiktok bag is legit. I’ve made the most money I’ve ever had in the past year. Tiktokers make their money through sponsorships and sponsored posts. The Creator Marketplace on Tiktok allows you to collaborate with brands and create partnerships. I made over $300k alone with only one company on Tiktok. 

AllHipHop: How does that work?

Novaakan3: If a company wants to work with you they will email you and ask for a collaboration. Typically they tell you what they are looking for in a video, but want you to come up with a creative idea for it. I typically do three videos per TikTok campaign. Once I am done with the video I collect half the payment up front then we decide on a posting date. It is fairly easy and I love being able to tap in with my creative side.

AllHipHop: And you have a real fanbase that you built organically.

Novaakan3: Yes, I feel like my Tiktok fan base was built organically because of how much love I’ve shown to my followers by being genuine and supporting their creative endeavors. …

AllHipHop: You don’t think it will die out?

Novaakan3: No, I believe the app is here to stay because of how influential it is. My followers are between the ages of 13-25. The younger crowd doesn’t use instagram as much as they use TikTok. Tiktok is also the new radio station; we have artists being discovered every day on Tiktok and getting signed to major record labels. TikTok influencers such as JNR Choi who created the drill music wave on TikTok and recently signed a deal with Epic Records & Sony Music. Look at Coi Leray, how her song “No More Parties” was the #1 played a song on Tiktok which put her in a great position as a new artist. Stories like Kcamp’s Lottery went viral on the app and garnered millions of apple music and Spotify streams. 

AllHipHop: “Lottery”!

Novaakan3: Lottery was one the first songs to go viral on Tiktok. I grew up with Kcamp and was just with him in San Diego last week. I told him, I said “you are the first artist to have a song go viral on TikTok.” Lottery went crazy on TikTok, everybody was posting it. I said “you did that. You gotta embrace that. I’m not telling you to go out there and dance and do all that because that might not be who you are, but at least let it be known that you did it first. You know how Soulja Boy’s always saying “I did it first!” You did that. You opened the door for now, people are getting signed. This one dude yvngxchris

AllHipHop: I interviewed him! He got signed to Columbia.

Novaakan3: Off TikTok! He got signed off of Tiktok, and I was seeing it happen. He was doing drill music. Everybody was doing the blood on the leaves challenge and freezing into somebody else, it’s crazy. It’s the new radio.

AllHipHop: When did music start for you?

Novaakan3: Music started about a year ago. I was in the studio one day and decided to make a record. At the time I was just working out, hoping for an overseas contract and doing social media. I’ve always been a fan of music and would freestyle with my teammates all the time. Just testing out new things I told my boy Marvin Beats, he’s a producer out of San Diego, to find me a beat. He played this beat for me, I’m like “hey, I might hop on this.” I said “put her in Chanel, Fendi Prada and them Gucci.” He’s like “that sounds like a hit bro, let’s record it.” I got in the booth and recorded it then dropped my first song ever called “Groupies feat Dan Diego.”

I’m thinking like this, I enjoy music and got millions of followers, why not add to my resume and go into something that I enjoy. I also had a lot of connections from working downtown in the nightlife industry. Once I realized what having a platform could do I began to push my music on my TikTok account. My second single I dropped was called “Bestfriend feat 1Nito”. The more I pushed the song on my platform the more Spotify playlists it got added to and it began to stream organically. I had my first opportunity to perform my songs when a promoter from Bag Nation contacted my team in regards to me opening up for BLXST. 

AllHipHop: How was that opening for BLXST? Obviously, he got the streets on lock right now.

Novaakan3: He definitely is holding down California right now and providing that new sound. There are other artists such as BIno Rideaux and Kalan.Frfr who are creating that new sound of the Westcoast and paving the way for upcoming artists like myself. Opening up for BLXST was an amazing experience. It was jam packed and I was the only opener so I had the chance to let the crowd know who I am and got a lot of positive feedback. 

AllHipHop: Were you nervous?

Novaakan3: Nah, I wasn’t nervous. More excited than anything. Being able to perform on a stage like that for my first performance was eye opening cause sometimes people have to wait years for that opportunity. I am just thankful to be honest. 

AllHipHop: How did you end up opening for Rubi?

Novaakan3: I ended up being booked to open up for Rubi Rose through my relationship with the GM at Fluxx Nightclub. Like I stated before I was a VIP Host at the nightclub and had built a good relationship with the management. The GM contacted me and said “hey, I see you doing your thing. Come open up for Rubi.” It’s crazy how I went from working there to being booked to perform. 

AllHipHop: Do you think it’s hard for people to take you as an artist, given your TikTok presence?

Novaakan3: Nah I think TikTok helps me because it allows people to see a different side of me. I think a lot of artists don’t succeed because they come off as distant and people don’t get a chance to get to know them. I am a brand, I want to play in movies, be in commercials, and on television so I put myself on a stage for people to see my personality. If people see me in person they’re like “oh, Novaakan3 funny as hell and he makes good music? I f### with him, because he’s real.” TikTok helps me with that. It’ll either be “Ay yo, I f### with your music,” or “ain’t you on TikTok?”

That’s the two things that I get. [laughs]

AllHipHop: “Love Letter” with Bino Rideaux out now. How did that come about?

Novaakan3: Love Letter is a song that everyone can relate to. That feeling when you love someone and go from talking to them everyday to no communication at all. I feel like everyone has had that experience. I was in studio one and my boy had played the beat. His name is Omega Dre out of San Diego, he produced the record. I’m like “okay, I’m a call this song ‘Love Letter’.” This song is a mixture of that new Westcoast sound but the words have a significant meaning. The beat is uptempo and you can two step to it, but the overall song is about writing a love letter to someone you use to be connected to.

AllHipHop: When was this? 

Novaakan3: This was November. I’ve been listening to Bino, but I never really reached out or nothing. I followed him, I reached out like “Yo Bino, my name is Novaakan3. I’m an upcoming artist/influencer out of San Diego, really trying to take over with this music s###. I got a song I want you to hop on.” He responded, “bet that up.” Sent me his number, started connecting with him. Sent him the song, he siad “I f### with it.” I sent it to him, he sent it back. 

AllHipHop: Just like that?

Novaakan3: Just like that, and he was busy at the time too because he was on tour. He did Day N Vegas, Rolling Loud and all that. He worked on it, sent it back, and put it out. It’s crazy how stuff just happens like that.

AllHipHop: Are you guys going to shoot a music video?

Novaakan3: Yes, the music video is in the works. I plan to incorporate the support of being a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. If you look at the “Chosen” music video BLXST feat Ty Dolla $ign & Tyga, they brought in different black greek lettered fraternities such as the Kappas to step in their music video. I think that is a dope concept because we stroll to music like this all the time.

AllHipHop: Was it inspired by a female? Who’s the “Love Letter” to?

Novaakan3: [laughs] Nah, I wouldn’t say it’s inspired by a female. Everybody can relate to it. Some of the lyrics are “high school sweethearts turn to distant love…” If you’ve ever been in love, you know how you’re in love with somebody? Something happens, y’all not in love anymore. But you go from talking every day to that person to not talking to them at all? That is the feeling I am sharing in the song, basically writing a love letter to reminisce about the past and how things used to be.

AllHipHop: What inspired your name?

Novaakan3: I got my name Novaakan3 from my fraternity brothers. My name is Novian, and I am a Tre Klub so that is what the 3 stands for. I thought it was very unique so I stuck with it and made it my artist name. 

AllHipHop: I saw you say you’re getting your BA in Human Development?

Novaakan3: Yes, I am finally graduating from Cal State San Marcos in May! It has been a long journey and I am very excited to be done with my education. My degree is Human Development with an emphasis in counseling. I was thinking about pursuing a career in academic counseling for college athletes. I am currently interning with the athletic department at CSUSM and helping out with their upcoming events.


AllHipHop: What does a normal day look like?

Novaakan3: I wake up in the morning and eat breakfast. I start off my day with a workout. I have a personal trainer who I workout with for 5 days a week. After my workout, I brainstorm different ideas I have for TikTok and my other social media accounts. I typically try to post at least four videos a day, which helps my page stay relevant and on top of the algorithm. Once my social media videos are done, I like to look over beats and write music. I feel like the rap game is similar to basketball and it’s very important to get reps to improve and pick their brain on how to become successful. I’m still learning as an artist, so I like to watch different podcasts on successful people in the music industry. 

AllHipHop: Talk about your relationship with K Camp.

Novaakan3: I’ve known Kcamp since elementary school, so probably 1996/1997. My brother Dan Diego and him were best friends in second grade so our families used to hangout all the time and still do to this day. It’s crazy to see how he developed as an artist and found his own lane. I think he will continue to blossom and finally get his flowers because he’s very creative.

AllHipHop: What can we expect next music-wise?

Novaakan3: I plan on releasing a 6 song EP this summer. I am in the process of working on it as we speak. I can’t wait to show the world how much I’ve grown this past year as an artist.

AllHipHop: What other features do you have?

Novaakan3: I currently have a grammy nominated, BMW Kenny, as a feature, who went viral on TikTok with his song “Wipe It Down,” which garnered several millions of streams. The song we created is called “HOLLUP” and it has been taking off ever since. Be on the lookout for all the new features I will have on my upcoming EP.

AllHipHop: Do you have any goals for yourself?

Novaakan3: I have big goals for myself this year. I would like to partner with several commercial brands and also collaborate with different social media influencers. I look forward to building my social media presence all across the board and to connect with new people. 

AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people know?

Novaakan3: I am excited for the world to get to know me and to hear Novaakan3! My EP is coming out this summer and I plan on providing nothing but good vibes!