Big up all the artists this month. There were so many great records released in March, I had to split this article into two parts. Covering all the bases here, over the two articles there’s vocal grime by spitters with different things to say, melodic grime, 8bar grime, super-dark grime and grime at higher tempo’s. Keep your eye out for part two which will be dropping on Tuesday. Anyway, enough waffling from me, keep scrolling for the article.

Razor – The Sharp One

Razor‘s latest project “The Sharp One” is his third and most complete sounding record to date. His vocal tone, guttural and thick, envelopes every instrumental on the record. Sometimes it’s direct, like when he issues lyrical take-downs that leave any potential rivals in the middle of the firing line. Other times, it expands.“OverThinking” hammers down the fourth wall, its piano-led backing giving space for Razor to deliver a soliloquy about mental health and the pressures of real life. No grime extended play would be complete without the bangers, and there’s a shed-load here. The live drums and stadium rock guitars of ‘Beware’ sound alive; while the riffs of ‘Standby’ are irresistible. Elsewhere, ‘Claims’, ‘Run’, ‘The Sharp One’ and ‘Holding It Down’ are pure sound system killers, ready to turn over a rave at a moments notice. “The Sharp One” is grime at its best: brevity leaking from the pen, words translated to audio by an emcee with a clear focus behind his lyrics.

Mez – Babylon Can’t Roll EP

“Babylon Can’t Roll” is the latest EP from Mez, a grime emcee who’s been building a wild catalogue of music unconcerned with mainstream affection. The second track “Modern Warfare” demands its listeners’ attention. Mez and P Money furiously pile phrase upon phrase, disengaging their bars onto a beat full of dirty bass and faded vocal samples. Like the best grime music, it’s intense, imparting a tidal-wave of quick-fire energy upon its listener. Mez manipulates words to full effect on “Alien”, spelling out the words of every verse. The stand-out comes when he spells out the initials of a legendary grime emcee, then re-arranges the letters to make the bar into a diss that could go in anyone’s direction. Final track ‘Nastiest’ gets rid of structure for a truly weird beat, and Mez finds the pockets with his choppy flow. “Babylon Can’t Roll” is grime music for the clubs; made to vibrate rib-cages and bend the mind in all the best ways.

Iceboy Violet & Ur III – Bloch

Iceboy Violet is a co-founder of Mutualism, a record label, party and collective that operate in Manchester. Iceboy’s work spans noise, performance art and club music. For “Bloch”, a record created with Ur III, the focus is on grime. The beats on “Bloch” are icy and abrasive, as Ur III takes inspiration from the nosiest corners of electronic music, streamlining them into something you can move your body to. Iceboy Violet contorts their vocal, dragging it around like a digital waveform, up, down and from side to side. On the third track ‘Dext’, this vocal play intensifies the message in the bars. Closing track ‘Glyph’ would sound at home in a grime set, nearly three minutes of potent lyricism crunching through a heavy beat. Overall “Bloch” explores the outer regions of grime, never straying from the dance-music core of the genre.

Kayes Mensah – Memorabilia

Kayes Mensah is an emcee and producer from North London. On his latest project “Memorabilia”, he tells the story of his life so far over five tracks. Whereas the last few projects in the article are mainly comprised of high-energy grime, “Memorabilia” takes a reflective approach to the sound. ‘The Lanes’ documents Kayes’ youth: he bars over soft melodies and rolling percussion, the elements broken up by a dreamy hook from Ben Ume. “Homecoming” re-purposes grainy hip-hop sounds into a booming grime cut, providing the launchpad for Kayes to flex his lyrical ability with ease. Overall, “Memorabilia” shows an artist with the ability to put the quiet moments into words, producing a selection of great beats in the process.

Febem, Fleezus, CESRV – BRIME!

The grime scene in Brazil has been growing steadily thanks to the radio show, events and collaborations with artists from over here. Febem, Fleezus and CESRV are a few of the leading names of the scene, their latest project is a six-track EP titled “BRIME!” Rather than make carbon copies of the tracks from the U.K., “BRIME!” takes as much influence from baile funk, garage and rap as it does grime, creating a sound that’s unique to the people that make it. Opening track “RADDIM” uses baile funk style percussion as its anchor, mixing it with warped eski-clicks and bass sounds you’d expect to hear on a grime tune from Britain. ‘TERCEIRO MUNDO’ is a full-throttle garage cut; while ‘SOHO’ leans into a speaker-friendly, smooth rap style. The way Febem, Fleezus and CESRV fluidly mix grime with the genres they grew up on makes “BRIME!” a great listen, and you should watch out for the music they release in the future.

Various Artists – 1FGRM005

Leeds based record label and party 1FORTY have been releasing EP’s that bring together various artists from different underground genres. Their latest is “1FGRM005”, a record that brings together YGG and Jhuttz and Logan and 9Trane for vocal collaborations, with Hamdi and Mango providing an instrumental cut each. All the tracks are hard, but the stand out is “Evil Side” by Logan and 9Trane, the former deploying his now trademark patois flow over a beat that lives up to its title. Logan is carrying on a long-standing tradition of overt dancehall influence in grime music, here he nails the style, mixing just the right amount of dread-out lyrics with extended bursts of technical lyricism.

PK Brako – Bible / Sega

PK Brako’s previous few releases have been very melodic, and “Bible / Sega” is no different. Opening track “Noah’s Ark” features lots of deft moving parts, delicate synths and intricate passages. But the structuring is key, made evident at just over the minute mark when he lets the end of the melody ring out before driving back into the main motif so it can further develop. Standout track “My Boat’ll Do Your Boat” draws for the same technique. PK Brako makes you wait for more than a minute for the head-crushing sonics, then retracts them for something a little more low-key. That middle passage, where the lead-lines sound like laser beams, could be looped for a full track and it wouldn’t be a problem. But the structure around them is what gives the impact, meaning that they wouldn’t be as forceful without the prior build-up. Overall, “Bible / Sega” is grime for the headphones, featuring synths sounds that you could live inside on a rainy day.

B:Thorough x JT The Goon – Calm Levz

B:Thorough makes melodic instrumental grime. “Calm Levz” is the first release on his brand new label Textured and is a collaboration between himself and JT The Goon, a link-up which makes sense when you listen to their individual styles. Stand out track ‘Grimey Sat’ kicks off with plush melodies, adding a darker undercurrent of synths in the next set of bars to add a foreboding mood to the track. “Calm Levz” is a record that would sound great in the club and on the headphones, a testament to B:Thorough and JT’s ability to craft melodies that don’t wander off into aimless loops.

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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