Mez has been spitting for at least six years, coming to prominence alongside Jammz, AJ Tracey, Big Zuu and MicTy at a time where it seemed as though emcees were on the radio every night. His style is an all-encompassing one, engulfing every corner of the track like a tsunami, waves of lyrics crashing down with pinpoint precision. Largely riffing on the big personality aspect of grime, arguably perfected by the likes of D Double E and Flirta D, he’s managed to carve out his version by peppering his tracks with out-there catchphrases that he often repeats over various tracks.
Shades of dancehall run through the core of his work, too. This isn’t new for any grime artist, as the two genres share an intrinsic link. But where emcees like Riko Dan and Flowdan choose to make the patois delivery and dread-out lyrics central to their sound, Mez takes the immediate energy of a stage show artist and blends the Jamaican dialect into the motion blur of his dizzying bars, switching from his usual Nottingham accent to a patois accent whenever he sees fit.
His latest track Babylon Can’t Roll – created with frequent collaborator Grandmixxer – a key part of his output as an artist, is a masterclass in bridging the gap between grime and dancehall music. The track kicks off with minimal percussion before launching into viscous stabs, laying down a bed for Mez to sing-jay the verse. The Nottingham MC catches a melody that, combined with the warbled sounds on the beat, creates all sorts of atonal goodness. When Mez and Grandmixxer collaborate, they create grime music with a freedom. One that’s exemplified at 1:25, where for around ten seconds, space-age echo and wet reverb take over and send both the vocal and instrumental into the cosmos.
Overall, ‘Babylon Can’t Roll’ shows two artists who have fine-tuned a creative process and are positively building on it with each release. Grime’s relevance with the masses has been called into question for the first and surely not the last time in 2020 – but with tracks like ‘Babylon Can’t Roll’, it’s quite clear that both the inventive and political power of the music are alive and well in the new decade.