D Power Diesle – Graphene, Vol.2

D Power Diesle is a grime stalwart. Known mainly as an emcee and a member of East Connection, he was also responsible for putting the likes of Meridian Crew, Ruff Sqwad and more on Deja Vu back in the genre’s early days. His latest record — “Graphene, Vol.2” — is the follow up to 2020’s “Graphene, Vol.2” and has a prestigious cast of featured artists. The tape has zero filler, so there are a few stand-out tracks, but ‘Dead Now’ is my pick thanks to high-level barring from D Power, Footsie and Stogie, and the cosmic beat underneath them. ‘Alone’ is up there too, with Diesle and Big Narstie putting some of their more challenging times on record.

Footsie – King Original, Vol.6

On “King Original, Vol.6”, Footsie shows how varied the grime template can be. He arms ‘Big Steppa’ with winding basslines, dissonant melodies and impactful one-shots, the latter of which evoking the sound of an industrial machine gobbling up crushed steel. Echo, delay and spaced-out riffs give ‘Blue Ones’, ‘Convo’ and ‘Grade and Grabba’ a dubwise flavour, while ‘Summer Run’ and ‘Sweaty Betty’ are tranquil in approach, defined by their lush melodies and crisp bass patterns. Footsie covers a lot of ground in thirty minutes, making “King Original, Vol.6” essential if you like grime instrumentals with flair and finesse.

Jammz – Free Up The Riddims, Volume 4

Jammz enters the new year with the fourth instalment of his “Free Up the Riddims” series. Rich sax samples and melodic keys are mixed with roughneck bass and drum patterns for ‘Searching’, while ‘The Show’ is spiky, minimal, and primed for the dancefloor. The stand-out is undoubtedly ‘Back 2 Reality’, a grimey take on an R&B classic, complete with stabs and chopped up vocals. Elsewhere, the extended version of ‘Text Me Back’ pops with vigour and vitality, and the tape sees Jammz release the instrumental versions of ‘So Wait’ and ‘Dark & Light’. “Free Up the Riddims Volume 4” is a lean and mean collection of instrumental grime.

Lean Streets – Flavas, Vol.2

Lean Streets, the sister label to weapons-grade grime imprint Mean Streets Recordings, comes through with an eight-track compilation of melody-driven grime beats. Trends opens “Flavas, Vol.2” with an edit of Jay-Z’s ‘Show Me What You Got’, which smothers echoed brass riffs over rapid percussion, while D.O.K’s ‘Flava’ throbs with low-end chugs. Felix Dubs’ ‘2 Closer’ leads with nimble synths, Trends turns ‘Tudo Que Voce’ into a thumping club joint, and Silas transforms South Korean electronica into drill with a flip of ‘ABC’. The stand-out track goes to P Jam’s ‘Knucklehead’, a rubbery funk flip made for the dance. “Flavas, Vol.2” benefits from the wide-ranging approach, a tape where grime, drill, funk and other club sounds can sound great and co-exist.

Slick – Shape Delay

Slick debuts on Kenyon Sound with “Shape Delay”. Title track ‘Shape Delay’ leads with creeping arpeggios and kinetic drum programming, while ‘It Hurts’ has the kind of moody synths that make you crack a screwface while sitting at home. Both tunes are engaging enough on their own but could accommodate a quality emcee spitting grime or drill flows. Stand out track goes to ‘Blacklight’, and that’s down to the main melody riff, which sounds as sharp as a samurai’s blade. That deft percussion is on show again, too, which can only mean one thing: instant gun fingers. If Slick’s later ideas are vivid as his debut, then I can’t wait to hear what comes next. 

Iceboy Violet – The Vanity Project

Manchester’s Iceboy Violet isn’t a grime emcee per se, but the sound makes up one part of their wide-ranging influences. The tracks on “The Vanity Project” come in short, sharp bursts, hitting the body with jolts of energy, as Iceboy tells their stories in a few different delivery patterns. There’s the well-spaced haze of ‘Are U Connected’, and, ‘VANITY’, a tour-de-force microphone performance where melodies peek from Iceboy’s vocals every so often. Elsewhere, ‘Antiskeptic’ and ‘Lilith’ feature breathless flows and heavyweight beats. “The Vanity Project” is a striking record from an up-and-coming artist who has a crystal-clear vision.

J Beatz – 6 Flavours

J Beatz returns with “6 Flavours”. The concept is simple: six beats that fuse grime with garage, drill and dancehall. ‘Escapade’ leads with hard-hitting stabs, ‘Merengue’ has a lovely, plucked string riff running throughout, and ‘Contexture’ features space-age pads. Elsewhere, there are more plucked string sounds on ‘Pinar’, while ‘Submerge’ blasts the speakers with screwface inducing bass. Rhythm ties everything together. J Beatz’ percussion lines are loud, proud and cranked high in the mix, making each track on “6 Flavours” danceable, full of energy and a lot of fun to listen to.

Boylan – Cursed

More heat from the Mean Streets / Lean Streets axis: Boylan’s latest EP, titled “Cursed”. Title track ‘Cursed’ is full of massive deposits of bass, while ‘Grid’ is defined by its tight drum programming as much as its clawing low-end. On the flip, ‘Operation Grand Slam’ chugs away at the speaker, and the Trends featuring ‘Germs’ is as dirty as the title suggests. Four tracks of delightfully dark soundsystem killers.

Lemzly Dale – Ryūjin / Saviour

I’d never heard ‘Ryūjin’ before spotting this release on Lemzly Dale’s Bandcamp, but it’s easy to see why so many people have been after it. The brass sample flourishes, recalling the type of dramatic, horseback gunslingers strutting through the desert scenes you’d find in a modern western film. ‘Saviour’ is full of upbeat synths, rounding out “Ryūjin / Saviour” on a melodic tip. Grimey sample flipping at its finest.

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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