I decided to go a bit deeper with this one. There’s a lot of really good releases both vocal and instrumental from the UK and beyond. Vocals on page one, instrumentals on page two. No French Montana riddim in this one, because there’ll be a wider piece on that coming soon. Hope you enjoy.

Yodaman – Gioco Sporco

As grime has become one of the UK’s biggest cultural exports, the sound has also travelled worldwide: Japan, Brazil, Australia, The Czech Republic and South Korea all boast their own grime soldiers, pushing the sound in pockets of the world the forefathers and fans could only dream of back when gnarly basslines were pulsating from a pirate radio broadcast. The grind has been reciprocated. Japanese grime emcees have collaborated with Elijah & Skilliam, Smack has made appearances on Rinse FM, Oblig recently invited some of the Brazilian controllers on radio and Royal-T released a globe trotting version excursion record not too long back. Those are just a few, but it’s cool to see people bonding over a shared love of such a potent mode of expression.

Yodaman hails from Naples and Gioco Sporco – which translates to ‘Dirty Move’ – is his debut album. Beats wise, The production isn’t too different to what you’d here over here: Macabre Unit front-loads bass, hard stabs and effects laden leads for opening track ‘Niente Di Vero’. ‘Senza Controllo’ garnishes a crunchy instrumental with a boat load of eski clicks, the essence of the sound coursing through the track. It’s not all straight-forward grime, though. ‘Monumentale’ – a crew cut with a who’s who of Italian mic men and women – is packed with the type of plucked melodies you’d hear in a sino-grime riddim, perfect for the MCs to do their dirt over.

The bars are spat mostly in Italian, save for a few references to grime royalty and idioms that won’t have a direct translation – you’ll hear them when you listen. The cadences, vocal idiosyncrasies and flows are all familiar: ‘Ring Di Alarm’ has that half-whispered, lyrical build-up before the madness ensues on the drop, and halfway through the track Yodaman ever so slightly keeps the emphasis on his words while the beat changes in structure. There are D Double E samples throughout, which is amazing, because the idea of D Double E’s vocal mutations travelling all the way to Italy proves the power of the grime form.

Overall, Yodaman’s debut album is a win. He’s an artist that clearly knows the grime sound, putting his own spin on it in the process.

Ecko Bazz – Kyusa Embela

Keeping on the international tip for a minute is the latest EP from Ecko Bazz. It’s called ‘Kyusa Embela’ and is released via Hakuna Kulala, a record label based in Kampala that release underground sounds from East Africa and Congo. Ecko Bazz’ last record was released on the label, too. Titled ‘Tuli Banyo‘, it saw him and fellow MC Bigga Yut go back to back over a waved off grime riddim with plenty of low end bop and intense back masked synths. The instrumental for that one was produced by pq, the release being rounded out by a full tilt rave mix by Ekhe.

Kyusa Embela is the title track of the EP. Kicking off with weaponised percussion and dissonant samples, Ecko Bazz makes his entrance on the track with guttural flow, emphasising the lower end of his vocal range. It’s a flow not to dissimilar to Flowdan’s Fat Mac 90 flow, crossing over into spoken word style of delivery. The beat is a jolt of organised chaos, with Ecko complimenting that by changing his flow at will. It’s a display of microphone tekkers: he starts the track in that spoken word style, and as the beat builds in intensity he’s letting out flows at breakneck speed.

‘Nightmare Song’ is hype from start to finish, a hard-bodied rave banger that will surely cause maximum damage. Ecko Bazz contorts his voice, stretching it out into different tonal avenues to give the track some real life. The beat lives up to the song name, with thick slabs of bass never holding back. Overall, it’s a sick release, vocal and instrumentals combine to create two rowdy grime cuts and a remix. We love it.

Capo Lee – Heart of a Champ

Capo Lee’s rise from graveyard shift barrer to name brand grime MC has been really good to watch. When you invest in an artist from their entry into a scene – or re-entry, as he was a DJ and rapper beforehand – it feels like you’re winning with them when they make positive moves for their career. Capo’s been on a hot run in 2019: whether it’s the rave destroying ‘Nando’s Riddim‘ or the ‘Style & Swag‘ remix for Chelsea, the bangers have been on a steady drip.

At this point, Capo has a tried and tested lyrical formula, tending to mix the classic grime hype chat with references to his past and entertaining adlibs. This is by no means a bad thing. On the Spyro produced ‘Pray For Me’ he starts to pull back the curtain on his experiences growing up and his experiences in jail, all alongside tales of lost friends and the importance of a positive mindset. The beat is a saccharine, quasi UK Garage instrumental, a continuation of the natural synergy Capo & Spyro have when they build tracks together.

‘Sunday’ is one of the best tracks on the album. Here, Capo approaches the beat like a swiss army knife: he blends shorter, one line flow type lyrics early on in the track, then switches it up to more traditional, drawn out lyricism in the middle of the track. The beat is vintage Silencer, blending the apocalyptic low end he’s well known for with flashes of tripped out synths to give things a bit of colour. ‘Therapy Room’ breaks the fourth wall even further, as we get an insight into what Capo’s life has been like over the years. A track like this is a good example of why grime can benefit from longer length projects: away from the rave, reloads and glamour of being an MC, we can hear artists letting us in that little bit more, ultimately strengthening the bond between fan and artist.

‘Patterns’ & ‘All 4 U’ embrace UK Garage styles to their full extent, produced by the up and coming Izco. Capo hits the beat with the right amount of blasé cheekiness and swagger, keeping the lyrics light for maximum vibes. Things go a bit left toward the end of the project: tracks like ‘Circles’ and ‘Grateful’ seem to have one eye on the Link Up TV & GRM market, and feel kind of tacked on. Fortunately, the final track is saved due to the bars – which dig pretty deep into his journey, and the hook genuinely compliments the track. Overall, it’s a strong project from Capo, broadening his horizons as an artist.

Pinch & Kahn ft Killa’s Army – Crossing The Line / Send Out

The genres of grime & dubstep share a cousin type relationship: born from the back end of the same genres, just springing up in two different parts of London, with the background nuances taken from different places. In grime’s case, it’s dancehall; and in dubstep’s case, the clue is at the start of the word. That’s a very simple descriptor, but the two have shared an intertwining history over the years, and when these types of collaborations drop it’s like a treat for us listeners.

For ‘Crossing the Line’, Killa’s Army are on the mic. They’re a loose collective made up of Killa P, Irah and Long Range; three MCs that fly the dancehall flag within the scene. There’s a fluidity to this track: Pinch & Kahn keep leave enough space for the emcees to do dirt in the opening, then drop spine tingling bass in the verses for maximum rumble. The vocal deliveries are as symbiotic as the instrumental: Long Range rifles off clips toward waste MCs and fake bad men in the opening, passing the baton for Killa to wade in with world ending flows. Irah’s up next, cartwheeling through the beat with a deep low end, still managing to display a wide range of tonal control over his voice. There’s a slight respite in the bridge – maybe Kahn & Pinch thought it good to give us a break from screwfacing – then it’s back to standard procedure, all three emcees going hell for leather until the end. ‘Send Out’ is the second track, a war zone of sound that feels like it would be ringing out while the future war from the Terminator films takes place.

‘Crossing The Line / Send Out’ is a sick release, as always with these types of collaborations, forward thinking enough to stand out but never compromising on making sure it pops off on the system.

Melvillous – Last Born

Melvillous is an artist that has grime at the core of his sound, but isn’t afraid to mix it up with other genres. It’s another example of an artist growing up, taking in the UK music heavyweights we all love and eventually mixing that with US influences and the contemporary styles of say: rap or drill. Faith is very important to him, and he laces his lyrics with religion and positive messages to his fans. For an artist that aims to set up a direct line to his supporters, it makes total sense. Why shouldn’t an artist speak on the values they deem important? It’s better than fronting, and strengthens the bond between artist and supporter.

The standout track is ‘Tinchy Stryder’. It’s got the chassis of drill and paint job of grime, decorated by classic eski samples. Melvillous crafts wordplay with the names of your favourite grime emcees in a jet plane flow. All in all, flow, feature and samples come together to create a link between grime and drill. ‘What’s Real?’ sees Melvillous charting his come up, chronicling the work an independent artist has to put in, showing us where the journey has taken him up to now. Later on in the track, he muses on his aim to uplift the young people of today, giving real time anecdotes of situations that have taken him to his thought process. ‘Confidently’ does as the title says, with the MC pitting himself in the same space as a heavyweight champion. He flips things midway through, ultimately putting his self doubts and perceived mishaps up against his self confidence. ‘Last Born’ shows an emcee with fresh ideas, and watching Melvillous’ journey will surely be an interesting one.

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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