Music is a conduit for expression and grime is no different. In fact, I’d wager that ninety per cent of the joy and satisfaction that the genre can bring is when an emcee transmits a feeling from their bars. Whether it’s pulling back the curtain with fourth-wall-breaking realness, getting off a technical set of bars or just simply spraying the maddest and most ridiculous lyric for a reload, grime emcees up and down the country have and continue to grace the headphones with feeling and the world is better off for it.
K9 is an emcee from West London and expression is a key part of his work. Not the type of spitter to contort the brain with complex double-meanings, his lyrics excel in impact, as evidenced on his version of ‘Shottas Riddim‘ where simple wordplay about wrestling and the Joker hit like sprawling pieces of metal on an otherwise unassuming ground.
That track shows he has the requisite hype needed for a grime emcees thing to work, but the other element, and one that he seems very comfortable with, is a cathartic expression which looms over lots of his output. Take ‘Stress‘ – a track from 2014’s “Mad In The Cut” – where he puts into words the unimaginable grief of losing his closest friend, recounting the events that lead up to it and the grieving process after the fact.
His latest track – titled ‘Realness’ – tows the same cathartic line as the work previously mentioned. It’s produced by Silencer, who has had nothing short of a victory lap when it comes to production in the first quarter of the year.
The track hones in on K9’s past life experiences, documenting a time spent on the road and putting up the reality of that life with the way he was brought up as a kid. As the track unfolds, he talks about burying friends too early, noting the pressure of having to bottle up the effects that such a thing would have on your mindset. The bars are capped with a coarse delivery, a way for K9 to express his feelings on the matter, careful not to shroud the subject matter in a robe of glamour.
Here, K9 is the person that has been through a life lived this way and knows the risks that come with it. Rather than use the experiences as fodder for the next reload bar, he comes across as someone that wants to use the music as a place to let go of the pain, hopefully reminding a young person in the same position he once was that it isn’t a glamorous route to take. Overall, ‘Realness’ is a strong track from an emcee who is one of the sharpest around when he’s on top form.