I’m not sure how many people read the top part of these posts, but if you can consider donating to the memorial fund for George Floyd. RIP.
These are a collection of grime tunes that have been released this month, some came out today. Buy them, stream them, show them to your friends and play them loud.
M.I.C & PK Brako – Witchclart
M.I.C uses grime as a template, mixing in his other influences to aid him in developing his sound. For ‘Witchclart’ & ‘Night Raid’, it’s shoegaze and dream pop. ‘Witchclart’ best sums up his approach: irreverence toward those that have wronged him and his friends, but making sure you can scream along to the catharsis with him. It’s perhaps the more accessible of the two sound wise, backed by rolling percussion, palatial synths and warped samples produced by PK Brako. ‘Night Raid’ is a self-produced cut that re-appropriates the conventions of shoegaze, from the whispered vocal all the way to the crackling feedback and distorted guitar on the instrumental. There’s a brief switch, a flicker of melody among the wall of sound, before M.I.C’s voice becomes an instrument in itself and blends into the beat. ‘Night Raid’ is about heartbreak, but encapsulates the mundanity of riding the wave of late night and early morning insomnia. When an artist can distil their wider influences into something accessible, you simply have to pay attention.
Luciferian – Hashshashin (prod. by Zgjim)
It’s not every day you hear grime emcees choose ancient history as their subject matter, so this one caught my ear. The Hashshashin – said to be the original assassins – operated in Persia, Syria and Turkey, eventually spreading to the rest of the Middle East. Their aim? To take down political rivals that stood in their way. I like this one because Luciferian could’ve easily been weighed down by the scope of the content, and the tune could’ve ended up sounding as though he’d thrown up an encyclopedia on the beat. Instead, he turns the track into a quasi-story told through the perspective of an assassin. The standard grime “I’m better than you” lines are replaced with bars about scoping out the enemy and taking off their head with a huge sword, so there’s some continuity between what you’d normally hear in a grime tune and what you hear in ‘Hashshashin’. The beat helps, too, as Zgjim puts together a mix of ominous melodies and hard claps. Overall, it’s a sick track and is available to grab on Bandcamp for a name your price fee.
Chowerman – Giddy Up (prod. by Trooh Hippi)
Chowerman is one of many emcees coming through from Essex, and he’s released a mix of tunes that cover wide subject matter. He can tell a story – go listen to ‘Bengali Freestyle‘ and ‘London City‘ to hear that side of his work – but he’s equally adept at being in his laid-back bag and making tunes that make you want to have fun. On ‘Giddy Up’ he’s chatting about smoking, meeting girls and putting in work over a Trooh Hippi beat. Sometimes it’s all about the way an emcee rides the instrumental, and Chowerman’s raps on ‘Giddy Up’ come quick and fast with plenty of style and finesse.
D Double E – Frontline (Prod. by Big E-D)
Frontline is one of the Newham General’s defining tracks, and in true grime fashion, there’s a few different versions floating around on the internet. This one is D Double E‘s version, remastered and released on DSP’s for the modern audience. The track is essentially a collection of his most recognisable bars, and he glides through each line like he’s walking on water, emphasising the back end of certain words to make the lyrics pop as though they’re coming to life. It’s pretty mind-bending to hear Double spit a bar and then fluidly transition into a one line flow or start a famous bar, only to cut it off and hop onto the next set of bars. Just turn this one up loud, I reloaded it four times in one session.
Vision Crew – Gimme Dat
Vision Crew were always a solid grime collective, but their recorded output as both a crew and solo artists showed that they weren’t into sticking to rigid tempo’s. Trust me, go and listen to ‘Trees’ from Ezro’s “Me vs Me” project, a great take on crystalline sounding rap music. The crew have returned from a hiatus, their latest track seeing WhackEye and Ezro trade flows over a hazed out and spacious beat. The video is on a dark tip, too. It features the two walking around their area, inter cut with images of various artists and backdrops inverted by trippy filters.
Queenie – Don’t Play Fair
Queenie‘s last few tunes have been hard-hitting and fast, but ‘Don’t Play Fair’ switches up the style a little. There’s way more space in the beat here, which Queenie takes full advantage of by taking the time to challenge any of her competitors to draw her out and underestimate her bars. This one’s a proper head nodder, that grinding bass line just cuts straight through the noise.
Grindhouse – Video Nasty
I covered Grindhouse‘s “Welcome To The Grindhouse” EP in the Februrary edition of the grime projects round-up, which seems like ages ago. What stood out to me about that record was the film influences and the synth textures of his lead lines, the latter being something you don’t hear much in grime. ‘Video Nasty’ builds on this style by using tense string runs, dark synths and clattering percussion to create a tune fit to soundtrack the darkest of settings.
East Man ft Streema – Know Like Dat
I like East Man‘s music because he blends grime with dancehall and techno, but dosen’t paint himself as a sole innovator who dosen’t acknowledge the context of the music he’s making. He lays down the beats and the emcees tell the stories, the two coming together as a sum-of-their-parts look at working class living away from ballot boxes or parliament. ‘Know Like Dat’ is the first drop from his forthcoming record “Prole Art Threat”, and it features Streema chatting a steady vibe of lyrics over a beat that sounds like metal being twisted into angular shapes.
Shay D ft Coco – Grind (Prod. by Z Dot & Krunchie)
Shay D‘s latest grime tune is an ode to working hard. While plenty of emcees have covered this topic, what sets apart Shay D is the fact she is simply a sick rapper. She raps technically, contorts the timbre of her voice and crafts a memorable hook over the runtime of the track; while Coco‘s bars echo the topic of the tune like every good guest verse should. Overall, it’s a strong link up from two of the UK’s brightest