‘Socially Awkward’ is the latest EP from Grandmixxer & Mez. They’ve been working together for a bit, crafting a raucous live set and dropping tracks along the way, but this is the first time they’ve released something as a duo.

Grandmixxer’s goal tends to be quite straight forward: sound system obliteration. His work features all the standard grime trappings – hard line bass and militant percussion – but the melodic hooks and lead lines of his tracks are slightly different, ranging from piercing melodies (Dragonball Z VIP) to modulated screams (Screaming). His productions capture what makes so much of early grime so great: the outright weirdness. There are minimal sounds, full throttle melodies and anything you can imagine pooled in to create a truly left field soundscape. A lot of producers tend to lift the old school sounds without really capturing the essence, that essence capturing is ultimately what sets Grandmixxer apart.

Mez is an MC that has done the requisite ten thousand hours. He’d been at it beforehand, but his real exposure to the scene came in the radio boom of 2015. Though slightly separate from the usual names due to geography, he still made waves alongside other spitters from Nottingham over various sets. Flow is at the centre of his work. It snaps at the heels, jagged and staccato, piling phrase upon phrase at speed similar to a DJ mixing tunes at hare footed pace. He has his own type of charisma – not the immediate type that has made someone like AJ Tracey stand out – but one that helps him make his selection of catchphrases sound good no matter how ridiculous they seem. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone that can come up with the definition for ‘T Specialist’, but when it’s railing out of the speakers over a judgement day beat, does it even matter?

When the two collide it’s akin to hot lava bubbling from a volcano. Individually, the two put maximum intensity into their respective roles. Take ‘Real G Countdown’, the instrumental is built around a mangled orchestral one shot that bangs down like a toy hammer on a fixed mechanic. There’s little pitch change within the stab, and it’s backed by equally mangled percussion lines underneath. Thick and full of weight, it forces you to take notice. When Mez comes in, he drops bars at a concorde pace, and they crescendo on an upward curve of vigour. The track never feels like too much, though. There’s just enough space for vocal and beat to exist with synergy.

‘Go’ is similar fare. While the sounds of the previous track were full fat, this is a little more semi skimmed. The synths are spiky with hints of melody, and a vocal sample of the tracks title weaves in and out alongside the instrumental madness. For the vocal, Mez kicks off each verse with a specific word. In the first two verses, it’s ‘out’ and ‘one’, he then adds said word to the word at the end of the bar. It creates abstract rhyming schemes that don’t rhyme in the traditional way, but he fits them around with his delivery to add a potent energy to the track. His pen scatters across various subjects: from football bars, catchphrases, references to his own past tracks to scattergun disses that could be aimed at any MC. In classic grime style, each subject is raced over for maximum intensity.

Grandmixxer said on Twitter that the EP is named ‘Socially Awkward’ because him and Mez only know how to do one thing: shell. On this EP, they do that indeed. But it’s never boring, nor does it rehash old styles for pure nostalgia. The two have clear styles independently, and have found a way to meet in the middle to create something unique as a pair. Grime has a long list of esoteric spitters: think Bruza, D Double E and even Wiley at his most off key. Mez fits into that lineage, riffing on grime’s big personality aspect that a lot of MCs at the moment have dropped for pure bars. Grime at its best makes the hairs stand up, and this EP does exactly that.

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Posted by:Ryan Moss

I'm the sole founder, editor and writer for The Art Of Grime. I love grime and want to push all the sick artists doing things at the moment.

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