Queenie ft Lioness & Stush – This One
Queenie has been consistent this year. She’s been releasing a steady flow of tracks, videos and freestyles on her YouTube channel, each contributing to a growing back catalogue. Her style is straight forward: grab the mic and go hard. It works because she has the lyrical ability to do so, and you get the feeling she’s at home crafting complex wordplay over dark beats.
Her latest track – titled ‘This One’ – sees her collaborate with two stalwarts of UK music in Lioness and Stush. The three juggle bars, sending out shots to any sub-par emcee that might get in their way, with Lioness delivering the great reload bar “cause now some boys wanna hate out of the blue, like some gender reveal” which I have to say, might top the bar about DSTRKT from the DBT Remix. As the track unfolds Queenie flexes her lyrical skill and comes true on her claim she’s “the best you’ve never heard of” earlier on in the song; while Stush notes the importance of blocking out the competition and focusing on yourself. The chemistry that Queenie, Lioness and Stush have is in full effect on ‘This One’ as they juggle bars with ease to come through with an all round explosive grime track.
Travis T ft Lyrical Strally – Borrow & Lend
Travis T is a grime DJ and producer best known for his work with YGG. ‘Borrow & Lend’ is the first release from his brand new label Street Frequency, pooling in Lyrical Strally to vocal the beat. The track previewed on Twitter a few weeks ago and I’ve been playing the one minute clip ever since, so I’m glad to say that the whole track lives up to the early hype that was teased on the timeline.
Fans of clashing will be excited to try and figure out whether Strally is sending for someone in particular or simply letting off bars in any direction, but the real strength of this track is the mood. The synths sound as though they could soundtrack the darkest future war scene in a Terminator film, while the percussion lines are pure speaker-breaking business. Strally finds the pockets effortlessly, dismissing the musical thief in question to a cat desperate for a toy to grab a hold of. ‘Borrow & Lend’ is one of those tracks to drop at about 1am in the rave, when the party is really gearing up and all you want to hear is a song that will give you the maddest screw face.
Maxsta – Locked In
Maxsta learnt to produce beats a couple of years back and then released two really strong grime projects in ‘MAXTAPE 2‘ and ‘Electric 001‘. The beats on those projects took the stripped back, melodic essence of early grime, updating the sound so the music sounded as high definition as possible. Couple strong production with a mix of insightful lyrics and a healthy dose of chest-puffing and you get a reinvigorated emcee and loads of great grime music.
He’s gone quiet on the music front for the last year or so to seemingly spend time to build up the catalogue and ‘Locked In’ is his first drop of 2020. The production kicks off with choppy strings runs and rolling percussion in the intro, eventually morphing into raw bass, rugged snares and a creeping melody. Maxsta flexes in the verses, recounting stories of meeting girls in flashy cars and lurking in the later hours of the night.
Mayday – The Pimple
Mayday is an up-coming emcee from Birmingham. He’s managed to achieve a fair bit over a short time, racking up shows in Japan and releasing material with strong beats. His latest track – titled “The Pimple” – gives an insight into the area he grew up in as a kid. Over the course of the track he recounts the good and the bad, giving a balanced take on how the place has shaped his life over the years. The bars are sharp and brisk, leaving the speakers at a whirlwind pace. The beat comes from Trooh Hippi, who blends thundering bass and sharp melodies that are slowly becoming a trademark of his music. This track is Mayday’s best one to date: he’s tightened up the flow, kept tangible lyrical content at the forefront and crafted a grime tune primed to tear up a rave.
Big Zuu, Kamakaze, Eyez & Capo Lee – On Fire
This one is pretty special. Single track collaborations are common in grime but it’s rare we get an extended project from two people, so four feels like a treat. Each of these emcees have been releasing consistent work over the past few years and done collaborations with each other in different forms, so the feeling is that this was a very natural link up.
‘On Fire’ is the first drop from “Royal Rumble” and it’s produced by Crafty 893. The instrumental mixes drill-esque basslines with the type of heavy stabs you’d hear in a grime track, while all four emcees go all the way in. No hook, just straight fire and hype on this one.