Photo by: Jun Yokoyama

Running The Art of Grime means I naturally dig for grime and grime adjacent tracks alongside my usual musical intake of soul, R&B and dub. 

Two tracks that have been on my radar throughout May and into June are ‘Warlord’ and ‘Hunger’. The former — released by Daffy, Dominus and Riko Dan — is a weighty hybrid of dubstep and UKG, the type of tune where you’re instantly transported to the last 100-500 cap, low ceiling club you were inside. Producers Daffy and Dominus load up oil-thick bass patterns that buzz the speakers, with rattling percussion adding an instantly danceable feel.

What struck me with Riko’s verse is how he’s sharpened his thematic approach over the years. The early generation of grime emcees have gone in different directions. Manga connects with his fanbase through relatable lyrics; Ghetts has gone full-blown storyteller, calling on his intense delivery when the tune needs it most; Skepta and Frisco have dabbled with rap.

Riko has travelled deeper into his dancehall influences, settling into a club-ready sound with lyrics that are instantly hype. At this point, you know a Riko track will be like a three-minute action film in sound form, but he’s perfected the art of bad man lyrics and inimitable swagger. His comfort in this style allows him to execute his A-game every time.

The latter track that caught my ear is ‘Hunger’, released by Razor and produced by Crafty893. Here, you’ve got two of grime’s brightest young talents delivering a modern take on the genre. 

The instrumental is a drill beat built around a chopped-up guitar sample, pitched-up vocal cuts and sliding 808s. It has drill’s modern sheen and grime’s dense arrangements.  Razor spits at double time the same way he would on a Pyro Radio set, lacing the beat with speedy lines about chasing the bag and growing up as a kid in London. 

Spitting grime flows over drill beats is something Razor has done a bit over the past few years. 2019’s ‘Jack Jones’ and 2022’s ‘Levitating’ — both made with Chowerman — used this idea to full effect. In a time where people argue that the genre is no longer at the forefront of creativity, the grime meets drill approach gives emcees a chance explore new avenues while remaining true to the sound, and it could prove to be a fruitful lane for the right emcee. 

It’s also a reminder that these two genres aren’t in competition. They influence and inform each other, and it’s no surprise that artists will take inspiration from what’s popular right now. After all, grime producers took a chunk of inspiration from Timbaland and Darkchild, with the music being better for it. 

Ultimately these two tracks show that the veterans are still producing fire, and the young talent is shining fruitfully. Press play on ‘Warlord’ and ‘Hunger’ for two grime tracks that put their own spin on the sound in different ways.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s