Friday, 25 December 2009

Skepta - Been There Done That

Merry Christmas grime fans.

Perhaps it's a sad indictment of my life currently that I'm typing this instead of being buried in beer down the boozer. But some thoughts were circulating about Skepta's next release late last night, so I reasoned that I may as well channel them so I can eat turkey, unwrap yet more toiletries, and just basically get on with my day.

I think Skepta is one of the more interesting characters in the scene - his back-catalogue and topboy status, the see-saw of his two albums, and his direction over the last few years with sights at commercial coinage.

'Greatest Hits' wasn't quite what we were expecting, but it was a fair effort and, with the added luxury of hindsight, there were bangers and an exploration of concepts that boded well for future releases.

This year's 'Microphone Champion' arguably had more bangers, but thrown into the mix were conspicuous singles. It seemed to me to be unsure of what it was - Sweet Mother and Blood Sweat and Tears was the past and road rap features the here and now; Ed Hardy Party clashed with Look Out. Like his first CD, there wasn't any middle-ground.

Basically, I reckon Skepta has a really good album in him - in terms of production and lyrics - but he hasn't done it yet after a debut that hinted the right way. In some places, he took a big step back.

But for now we have a mixtape interlude and, despite the tracklist for 'Been There Done That' not being finalised yet, you're looking at something like this:

1. Been There Done That
2. Spit Big Bars
3. Blow My Own Trumpet
4. All Over The House (Feat. Shorty & Majestic)
5. Over The Top 2 (Feat. Bloodline)
6. English Breakfast
7. We Don't Give A Fuck (Feat. Juelz Santana)
8. B O Double S (Feat. Fem Fel & Julie)
9. Solo's Back (Feat. BBK)
10. Stupid (Feat. Wiley)
11. Nokia Charger Wire
12. No Love For The Other Side

Bonus Instrumentals

13. Private Caller 2
14. UFO
15. Autopsy
16. Red Bull Academy

A good tracklist, this is mostly an organic collection of tracks over time that concentrates on and caters for us. Underground bangers and big riddims? While 'Greatest Hits' and Microphone Champion' were questionable, you can't argue with this one - he has been there, done that.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Rapid - Go Rapid Video

What's good grime fans.

I love grime, but I can't lie - from time to time, my faith in the music is tested. The seeming given that music should pay; artists altering their styles but not doing themselves justice.

In the troughs I appreciate grime's few sources of inspiration. Rapid is one of them.

Rapid - Go Rapid Video

The chase in this simple yet highly polished video provides the story, but it's also a symbolic sprint. 'Go Rapid' is an upbeat yet hard-hitting statement of intent, a move away from Stuck On My Mind, I Wanna Let You Know and other bits. But these tracks can be viewed collectively:

'You've gotta have different tactics if you wanna reach out to the masses'

And, for once, the tactics used have integrity. In an underground shrouded by the 'commercial' miasma, 'Go Rapid' is just the latest experiment from one of grime's most eminent producers that really can't be too far off the desired result.

In terms of making the sound more palatable for a wider audience - and doing it credibly - Rapid is running away from the others. And provided he has enough puff - just like in 'Go Rapid' - there's no reason why he can't win the race.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Free Download: Scorcher (Feat. Terminator) - Spartan Gang

Twitter has been splurting and burping updates all year from grime's fraternity. Copious consumption of updates has contracted in the channels; a peristalsis in which morsels of beef and e-warriordom have plopped out to my considerable entertainment.

Free music has also squirmed through the system. Dot Rotten and the fifty free beats, Rinse FM exclusives, and now Scorcher is the latest to oblige.

He's given away Spartan Gang for free.

Download: Spartan Gang

One of the best grime tracks this year, Myspace as an outlet for music is being set to one side. Expect Twitter to throw up a couple more bangers in the not too distant future.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Boy Better Know - Goin' In Video

Mistajam only played Goin' In for the first time the other week. It's an episode that I'll personally remember for the invaluable contribution from DJ Cameo:

Cameo just rang me moaning about him not playing GOING IN exclusive. I told him "MAXIMUM IS MY DJ. AND HE AINT MOANING" man needs to grow up
3:58 PM Oct 24th from Tweetie

But from Cameo's enquiries, the process has been quick. The video is here already, with the track available for digital download on 14 December.

Boy Better Know - Goin' In Video

Despite his abundant locks I nearly missed Logan's feature. But Jammer looms over all, the rasta's central role giving the video a comic feel that shouldn't do the track any harm.

You can catch additional Jammer japery, Goin' In background and Donatella's cleavage in Grime Daily's exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Roll Deep - Eskimo Vocal Mix Download

Scratchy looking a bit like Death - picture from FACT magazine

Roll Deep's Street Anthems is out now, a compilation of various tracks and styles from their weighty history. The opening Eskimo Vocal Mix stands out; an unreleased track that slowly sunk and plopped on grime's bed, its memories were slyly washed away as other tunes made waves.

It's now been reclaimed.

Download: Roll Deep - Eskimo Vocal Mix

Minimal, avant-garde street music at its very best? It's banger.

I only planned to buy Street Anthems for the Eskimo Vocal Mix really. But since FACT magazine have put it up for free, fellow cheap-skates be proud and unite - you have seven days until it vanishes again.

Sorry Target.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The Adventures Of.. A Few Words With Manga

After whispers of his debut mixtape From 'There to Here' - only for a subsequent hush - Manga is back making noise with his solo project, 'The Adventures Of...'

With production from the likes of Wiley, Bless Beats and Danny Weed, Manga skippedy-skips over the beats on offer and, with clips from his pirate radio archive, The Adventures Of... gives the promo format fresh vitality.

Download: Manga - The Adventures Of...

I had to make sure Manga releasing something wasn't a hoax, so I had a few quick words with the man himself to dun any doubts.

So why the title The Adventures Of?

Well that title kinda just sprung to mind. I go a lot of places, I'm not the type of person who just stays in my area and sits down - I've done a lot of different things in my time in the scene that people don't know about, so they're like my little adventures. I thought it's time to share them.

The promo seems full and well-rounded; the radio clips give a sense of history and complement the newer styles of production here - it's different from any promo I've heard. Did you consciously look at what was out there before you released yours?

No. I've never looked at no-one else's promo - I had a clear idea of how I wanted mine to sound. The first idea for the promo was just to have my features and radio clips, simply because I've done a lot of Roll Deep work that people haven't heard. I've also been doing a lot of radio since I joined as well. But a lot of the younger listeners never knew any of that, so I wanted to show that I have been here for a while but at the same time I'm still fresh and relevant. So I done a few tracks and freestyles into the mix and now we have "The Adventures Of.."

The mixtape 'From There to Here' has been in the pipeline for a while - why Adventures Of now? Did you decide to just put something out there, or is the promo part of a plan that will incorporate the mixtape?

Yeah I had to put something out - everyone kept moaning at me! It got to the point where everyone in studio, on bookings and road kept asking where's the CD! I've started From There To Here about four times, but I've had a lot of trouble doing it. Two years ago I nearly finished it, but then the studio got closed down (so I lost all the stuff). I've even been recording my CD and the studio got robbed while I was in it, so I've had a bit of bad luck! Also Roll Deep has its own studio, but as you know there's a lot of us trying to do work at the same time and a lot of the time work gets merged or not finished. So I done the promo so there is something out in the world with my name on it before my CD's out.

Is the general sound of the promo similar to what the listeners can expect from the mixtape? When's From There to Here landing?

My first release won't sound like the promo. Not the fact it's mainly grime, just that I'm going to put a lot more thought into every track and the whole sound of the CD. The title "From There to Here" itself means a lot - it represents my journey from the first time I starting spitting to now (and everything in between), so I need to make sure it gives off the message I want it to. The way you make people feel with your music is way more important than what you say. I see my first release as my first words, so I need to make sure I get my points across properly from early. I'm in the studio most days now, so I'm getting more into a working motion. I'm not sure when it's gonna be out, but I'm working on it now.

While the promo is your time, what's the situation with Roll Deep? 'Street Anthems' has just landed but members seem to be on individual projects - will new Roll Deep material be heard any time soon?

Yeah Street Anthems is out now, 'Aim High: The Revolution' and 'Original Dan' are out at the end of the month and 'Wake Up' EP is out now. I think everyone's just found their stride now - it kinda got lost for a bit. We're working on a new album as well, and I think this one will be a lot better because everyone has become their artist. We're more of a unit of indviduals now, which I think is why people were attracted to Roll Deep in the first place.

If you want more having heard the promo, then you can always catch up with the very latest of Manga's adventures on Twitter.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Free Download: Riton and Primary 1 - Who's There? (Feat. Wiley)

Good day grime fans.

A few days ago, it came to my attention that Wiley featured on a synth-pop track. Will's now done another collabo that my pitiful music knowledge doesn't cater for, so I'm blindly copying someone who's already labelled the track 'House/Nu Disco'.



Download: Riton and Primary 1 - Who's There (Feat. Wiley)

Primary 1 in a leonine hat/mask combo. Mudniss. (Picture from

Who's There? evokes the fears that, looking back, you would have thought your conscious mind might have had the decency to suppress - ghosts hovering about on the landing, monsters creaking up the stairs. And all the shit that, in good time, you can perhaps laugh about with your buddies logic and rationalism.

Wiley is at his inadvertent-comic best here: half-sticking to the subject-matter, he's had enough by the end of four bars and, gates opened, he's 'been a genius since elementary' and all of that good stuff.

...knocking at the door with a different stylie

I was gonna say a little something about Wiley's content, and mainly that - despite the reception for 'Race Against Time' - lyrically it was far from Wiley's best. But hey. Here, Wiley's delivery has the presence and conveys the world-vision that nicely contrasts with all the paranormal wackiness.

I like Wiley on these tracks. I can get a bit more general music knowledge at the expense of the grime addiction for one thing. And it's so much better than all this 'commercial' bollocks.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Jammer Signs with Big Dada

Greetings grime fans.

After rumours about signs on dotted lines with Dirtee Stank, Jammer has signed a three album deal with Big Dada. The hip-hop label, an imprint of Ninja Tune which has released The Bug's collaborations with Flow Dan and Killa P, released Wiley's 'Playtime is Over' in 2007.

According to Big Dada HQ:

"Jammer nearly signed with Big Dada two years ago (and actually played at our 10th Anniversary party), so everyone here is very pleased to have finally persuaded him! After a series of acclaimed mixtapes, Jammer's first full-length album is scheduled for May 2010. First single, 'Party Animal', will be released later this year."

Perhaps errors were made with the promotion for 'Playtime is Over', but the album had grime integrity. In a deal that offers security, hopefully Jammer's will offer the same. The first of the three looks like it will be titled ''Return of the Merkle Man'.

Jammer has worked hard and deserves his chance. Good on him.

Monday, 21 September 2009

JME - Over Me

Over me, right this minute, is a white ceiling. There's also a hench spider, dangling about and crouched in a different position every time I look up; I don't really fancy it.

Quick ones today.

I hoped the wow bass of Silencer's remix for JME's Over Me would make its legs quiver, beating a hasty retreat into the corner. No luck so far, but I can always replay the tune. I have a few times already - I rate this.

JME - Over Me (Silencer Remix)

After the release of his debut album 'Famous?', JME has said:

"...this time around I'm focusing on releasing grime singles with class. Loads of them, each with their own video and strong theme so they are remembered. When I do my live show I will have lots of material to work with and after I've done 5-10 big grime tracks, then I will think about an album."

JME's approach is hardly novel but, given the overwhelming album/mixtape/free promo approach in grime currently, stripping down to singles gives quality more of a chance in its unremitting battle with quantity. Furthermore, by focussing on singles, the problem of picking singles from albums is made near-redundant, and the songs themselves are more likely to be stronger.

The issue of piracy is hardly novel either; it can't be stopped, music is more free than ever before. But piracy is back in the spotlight after Lily Allen started a blog rallying against file-sharing. James Blunt also threw in his 2p, so the Pirate Bay et al. should be expecting unprecedented traffic any time soon. But with good radio play and videos, consumers know what they're getting for their mere 79p and singles give artists more of a chance. Costs less than putting a mixtape together as well.

Perhaps a grime MC should try and get on that blog - it damages grime more than the mainstream artists because, even if they lose more money, at least they're still shifting some decent units.

Anyway, my eight-legged friend is getting closer. It looks like I'm gonna beat the hasty retreat.

JME - Over Me is now available on iTunes,, Amazon and all of those good places.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Dizzee Rascal on Wiley & Roll Deep

What's good grime fans.

I've just seen that Dizzee was on Radio 1 today. His album is out shortly and Jo Whiley went to the Dirtee Stank HQ to chat and that.

I don't know how but, as is usually the case when Rascal's the topic, Wiley was lingering. I heard him on a track called Tupac Robot Club Rock by the Filthy Dukes. Nope, I've never heard of them either, but Wikipedia cites they're a 'synthopop' band. Granted, Wikipedia isn't the most trustworthy source but, then again, I'm in a rush.

Tupac Robot Club Rock

I could well be quite late on this, but still I thought the track was pretty decent. There wasn't time to properly gauge opinion though since Dizzee talked straight after (about 1h 10 mins) about Kate Moss, Kanye West, and a deluded girl asking whether he's single at the moment. Christopher Reeve apparently once said that 'once you choose hope, anything's possible' and - fair enough - he did go on to become Superman, but a pint of cold realism for the lady over there please.

A chap from Gloucester asked if Dizzee would ever make a grime album again:

'Grime to me in the first place was me just putting all the types of music I like together, and I'm still doing that.'

There's a few grime-heads out there holding onto Reevesian hope. But to all intents and purposes, that looks like a no.

Why did Dizzee leave Roll Deep?

'The fact that I'd already made an album and that everyone was dilly-dallying around...the fact that wherever Wiley got his album (was) because of me'.

Wiley did alright on Tupac Rock Club. And he's a grown man now, making his own way. People would call him bitter and childish.

I wouldn't mind a war-dub though.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Flow Dan - Original Dan

G'day grime fans.

As we're all very well aware, Flow Dan is a legend. After personally waiting for years, and years, and years, he's finally releasing his own mixtape.

Finally having something to call his own, as well as bringing some of the back-catalogue into '09, means this is great news. But, looking at the tracklist, there's tunes that have featured on other projects and, going by the names of certain songs, you can almost tell what bars will be sprayed on them.

As Flow Dan is one of the old-guard, in the immediate aftermath of 'Original Dan' I expect to hear hushed whispers of 'legacy'. If Crazy Titch released a CD, it could have ruined his legacy. At the time, 'The Best of Newham Generals Volume 1' damaged the Gen's legacy. Grime artists dabbling in pop can ruin their underground legacy.

Despite the various radio sets and beats and vocals now lost, grime's history is more recorded than ever before - Grimepedia, Grimetapes. Boy, even Roll Deep are releasing their Eskimo vocal mix next month. CDs are ever becoming an ever-greater part of grime's history but, just because they're unified, physical products, they're not grime's treasure chests in which legacies are found. Which is why, even if 'Original Dan' sounds like a cat being fed through a mangle, Flow Dan will still be a legend.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Lethal Bizzle - Go Hard

I've always liked Lethal B. Recent evidence for my hunch is that he's one of the most entertaining people on Twitter, despite very strong, recent competition from Marcus Nasty.

In the grime-bubble, I suppose Lethal floats on the filmy edge; not quite in the insular, underground circle and not fully in the wider conscience - a touring and NME middle-ground. He's also between the two worlds of Country and City, as Jammer and Fumin have reminded him in recent wars of words. Then again, he seems to know as well:

Been woken up by a cat trying to eat a bird! Then bare birds come to save the bird! Bare noise ! Madness ! Countryside activities kmt !
6:10 AM Aug 7th from TwitterBerry

Sippin on some sizzurp! I no I'm late! I had to drive to the hood to get it! They don't even sale alize in the sticks! Kmt
3:11 PM Aug 11th from TwitterBerry

Just got back to my crib after a long ass day and there's a power cut! My gate not opening so I had to jump over and i ripped my hoodie kmft
10:14 PM Sep 11th from TwitterBerry

There's still more anticipated releases this year but, given Lethal and his foot in each camp, maybe his upcoming CD, 'Go Hard', has been overlooked by the underground. Out on 5 October, it's a crux in Lethal's career:

Real talk! My 4th album is gonna be pop! Chippy, tinchy, ironik and dizze.. That's the way forward! My 3rd album will be my last hard album
3:05 PM Jul 19th from TwitterBerry

As he edges towards the precipice, 'Go Hard' could well have some highlights. Along with the two Donaeo collaborations on Go Hard and
Flap Your Wings, there's production from Dexplicit and the Silencer track, Don't Run It Up:

Lethal Bizzle - Don't Run It Up

Just finished making one pop rap electro tune, decent still.... I gotta get used to this pop shit! Daaaam things have changed
8:28 PM Aug 17th from TwitterBerry

Indeed they have. If in a couple of years he's not referred to as the 'UK grime star', he would have done alright for himself. But I don't really mind what music he makes - as long as he keeps going strong with the twitter updates.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Hammer - Hurricane City (The Drama)

Greetings grime fans.

I'm done and dusted with education. No more books covered in wrapping paper, no more forgetting pens, no more all-nighters. At quite a few points I resented it but, now the academic road has suddenly stopped, I'm bored shitless.

Looking back, it's all very distant from the Goosebumps days. With classics like 'Tick, Tock: You're Dead!' and Shop Til You Drop...Dead!', you could choose your own contrived fate in a death-of-the-author-power-to-the-prepubescent revolution:

'If you want to wait for your mom to get back, stay here. If you want to go into Dr. Eeks lab, tinker with some volatile liquids and then have an arm-wrestle with the scientist that looks a bit like a ravaging, raping serial-killer, go to page 284.'

Hammer has stemmed my boredom for now by bringing viewer interactivity to his new video series. Best of all, I don't have to skip any pages. 'The Drama' is a very good idea, and really quite unique and out of the box. Check it out.

His 'Hurricane City EP' is out next week. You can look out for updates from Hammer's blog and twitter.

And lastly, Silencer is doing alright for himself at the minute. But just in case it all comes on top for him, at least he has a future as a comic actor.

The guy is genuinely hilarious.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Just an Observation

What's going on grime fans.

You get some fucking annoying people on trains nowadays.

Unfortunately I had to get on one the other day and, while there were some nice trees lurking about, on the whole it was pretty terrible. Kids ran around screaming with socks half-hanging off while being lured by fat parents with packs of Starburst, and one guy just kept strolling to the buffet car in bare feet.

This isn't your front room fam.

In addition, a ten-minute minute stop-off at Birmingham New Street has given me enough incentive never to go there again.


Sitting still, about to spiral into a moment of reflection, an anonymous woman takes it upon herself to talk a bag of shit which is mostly indecipherable. When you can finally make her out, the babble is either just irrelevant or, instead:

'the bar is now open, serving a selection of hot drinks and alcoholic beverages.'

Oh fuck off.

But while time was unfortunately on my side, in that shitty seat I came to a couple conclusions:

Best mixtape release in the last two years - 'Tinchy Stryder Vs Maniac'
Best grime track to listen to with a criminal lack of sleep - E3 Shank Shank

And E3 Shank Shank has one of the best hooks in grime.

E3 Shank Shank

I don't want to sound curt, but that's all really.


Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Westwood 1Xtra Rap Show

Felicitations grime fans.

The word on the road internet is that Tim Westwood's 1Xtra Rap Show, every Sunday night from 10-12, kicking off real legendary, bringing some of that UK heat and just, you know, holding it up real strong for the UK, is now floating with the fishes.

The show has been drowned out by the BBC after a bit of in-house 'cleaning'. Valid claims have been made about the beeb not fulfilling their remit and, given the success in '09 of grime artists in the charts, the move isn't very representative at all.

But what's done is done. There's no question that grime will manage, cope - like a battered housewife it always has done. But what from here?

First off, I think the main legacy of Westwood's show has been the accompanying visuals via his YouTube channel. The technology and dedicated individuals were already there and grime was going to embrace visuals widely eventually, but Westwood's show initially highlighted the gaping gap in the market and everyone universally clocked on.

But while the Rap Show gave impetus to the influx in grime's online visuals, there are things that I won't miss. Given his status and personality, Westwood seemed to impose on his show in a manner that differed from the more deferential and probing Sama, and the quality of artists on Westwood's show descended into the realm of hit-and-miss. Yes, the show gave opportunities to upcomers, but when it came to the point that grime fans hadn't heard of the guests something was going wrong.

Radio was in decline when Westwood started his 1Xtra stint, but five minutes spitting bars and a nice little video out of it with thousands of views - why pay to get on the pirates?

I can't really say I was an avid Westwood listener - Karnage is that guy.

Picture by Lee Brasco -

But, given his proximity with grime over the last 18 months, Westwood seems like an amusing bloke. I think the main question that was asked before he started - whether he was hosting grime for the right reasons - has been categorically answered.

Letting grime MCs into your house and making a beautifully-bassy racket, freshly-delivered for the neighbours, is a gesture and means of promotion that he didn't have to engage in. The Crib Sessions has no reason not to go from strength-to-strength, and the big dawg also seems to have a genuine camaraderie with grime artists that can lend to help, guidance and contacts.

Westwood's dalliance with grime isn't over yet. But, as the Rap Show slips away, here's some personal highlights.

Wiley Freestyle

Griminal & Lil Nars Freestyle

Revolver - Cruel Intentions (Free Download)

'Right now it's Cruel Intentions...nothing nice.'

So says Revolver as he introduces In For the Kill. He seems to be flowing with his own sound and style currently, not too long after his mixtape 'Grime's Son'. If you enjoyed that release then 'Cruel Intentions' is for you.

Expect a bag of greaze, big production from the likes of Wiley and Scorcher and assured features from Devlin and Deeperman.


1) Intro
2) Madness
3) Blood Money Drug Money
4) Not Gangsters
5) Wanna Pull The Strap
6) In For The Kill
7) Freestyle
8) The Game
9) Exposure
10) Conclusion Mix

You can download the promo from:


Expect an album and a dubstep project from Revolver in the near-future but, with the new promo, catch the boats of rapt-looking locals on the Tim and Barry TV set if you missed it.

DJ Spyro (Feat. Revolver, Jonson, Terminator, Dolla, Badness & Ghetts)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Dizzee Rascal - Tongue N Cheek

Greetings grime fans.

I'm currently stifling the laughter and cringing embarrassment provided courtesy of England's moral pillar, the Daily Mail.

'One went to the most exclusive public school in the land, the other was expelled from four schools in as many years.

So common ground between the two 24-year-olds Prince Harry and Dizzee Rascal was always going to be hard to find.

Unfortunately, the prince's attempts to bridge the divide ended in toe-curling embarrassment - and the danger of being punched by the rap star.'

Don't talk to me about karate - might see in the party drinking champagne dressed as a Nazi

If the substandard, unoriginal and cliche opening wasn't enough, the paper's Middle England cohort have assumed some sort of crusade that, painfully for them, doesn't exist.

'Colleen' only received a mere 34 votes for her invaluable time with this witty gem:

Ha ha,guess what Dizzee,you wouldn't have dared,big talk,pathetic.

Steve Goodwin, the conscience of Leeds, seems to be flag-bearer in the readers' cyber-assault, chirping up with:

So Dizzee's immediate response to something he didn't like would have been violence. Well there's a surprise.

Thanks for your input, Steve.

Unfortunately I don't think any of these are tongue in cheek, but Dizzee's fourth album is. Due for release on September 21st, the good folks at Drowned in Sound have enjoyed a cursory listen already. Read their thoughts here.

Your tracklist looks like this:

1) Bonkers
2) Road Rage
3) Dance Wiv Me
4) Freaky Freaky
5) Can't Tek No More
6) Chillin' Wiv Da Man Dem
7) Dirtee Cash
8) Money Money Money
9) Leisure
10) Holiday

The bonus track is reported to be Bad Behaviour, with Tiësto. Dizzee is ever branching his wings but there seems to be some continiuity from 'Maths + English' - there's another collaboration with Shy FX on Can't Tek No More and more than a nod to Old Skool on Road Rage. And anything that pays homage to Adventures of Stevie V's Dirty Cash is a winner.

Dirty Cash

But still, for the first time in my life I'm a bit unsure about buying a Dizzee album. What are you lot doing?

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Tinchy Stryder Rakes in More Money & Flow-Dan Live at FWD>>

What's poppin' grime fans.

I've got a ridiculous amount of work pending and, deciding on a tactical cat-nap, I'm now crawling out of an accidental three-hour slumber. I feel very lazy; fucked in fact. Quick ones today.

Tinchy has another number one record. I would say well done but, in a scene where chart success has been sporadic at best, he just seems to be taking the piss at the minute. I like the song - it's not a great artistic achievement but hell, someone from our scene is playing the game. It's a quite a happy tune really, which makes the occasion all the better and the novelty of a grime act at number one is far from waning.

Gwarn Tinch.

I stumbled across the B-Side track It's a Problem only last night. Essentially a freestyle, the beat is banging, almost a 'Lost and Found' sound with a few '09 licks of paint and a bit of plastering for the time-withered foundations. Check it.

I've been there, right here on them Bow streets
Late nights tryna write, mum's saying 'go sleep'

Back in E3, Flow Dan seems to be edging towards a debut mixtape. Which is brilliant of course. Flow Dan's a hero so, as a parting second-hand gift, have this hour set with Flow Dan on mic and Kode 9 on deck from FWD>> vs Rinse last year. Shout-outs to Fried My Little Brain and Better Never Than Late on the heads-up - it's immense.

Yeah. I'm feeling a bit better now.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Logan Sama - Keepin' It Grimy August '09 Mix

Good day grime fans.

I haven't really been listening to grime recently. Well, not as much as usual. Leaving the house to earn money has been the main reason but, regardless of the motives for my recent lack of grime-listening, I actually feel better for it.

Grime is like cigarettes. A quick fix to function, a top-up that, once taken, you can indulge in too often.

It was my birthday yesterday so I didn't catch Logan Sama's show last night. I was getting free drinks and all but it still sounds like I missed out, Logan handing over a 20-pack-of-Superkings-bag-of-hype-injection by playing the biggest grime vocals from '09 in this mix.

Listen to it.



You can also get it here.

I believe it's Logan's birthday today. I'm a slightly bitter about this. I mean, not in a horrible way, but just that it's another 364-day wait for mine. Then again it's good not to dwell on your age after a certain point in life, so Happy Birthday Logan.

I'm gonna check the mix now. Probably with a cigarette.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Tinchy Stryder: Star in the Hood EP - Volume 2

Alright grime fans.

Tinchy has just dropped his second Star in the Hood EP. Download it here.

I'm sure track 6 will be of interest.


1) 1 of Us
2) Rate Man
3) Go Get 'Em
4) Yes Or No (Freestyle)
5) Money (Freestyle 2006)
6) Take Me Back (Maniac Remix)
7) Working for Days (Live)

The tunes didn't order themselves quite right on the journey to iTunes and, after an unexpected skip, the next thing I was hearing was Jump from 'Lost and Found'.

How times have changed.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

J2K - Wake Up EP Review

"Alright they've been waiting, let me give them something I've been saving..."

I have been waiting. 'Wake Up' is the new release from J2K and, in the current climate, an EP with ten tracks seems like a bold move. With little room for error, and on top of my own expectations, he delivers.

'Wake Up' is very consistent - consistently good. J2K limbers up for a quick statement of intent on the opening Wake Up, racing along with a slick flow that's pretty faultless throughout, swirling in and out of productions from the likes of Target, Bless Beats and Mega Mos Wanted.

On the whole the sound is quite up-beat, the jaunty brass of Big Brother, the perky droning of Talk of the Town and the chirpy Lights, Camera, Action giving the MC time and space to deliver his rhymes.

But this is the main problem. The production does give 'Wake Up' a unity of sound, but J2K is so consistent in lacing the laid-back beats that things do become slightly samey. I would love to see him vocal a few more hype beats, because he can murder them.

J2K - Barring on Snapshot 2

Barring on Ugly

The highlights are Wake Up and Kick Off Da Hinges, two of the more intense beats. Xtra is also one of the best here, as is Danger, the lead-single for the EP. J2K's flow, the vocals and, by grime standards, novel angle on the subject-matter makes the tune uniquely his own.

J2K - Danger Video

We Do is the main exception in the 'Wake Up' sound. A sombre beat with mournful vocals, J2K's lyrics are sincere and evocative, with Tex contributing to a CD which generally has good features - the underrated Manga has his flourish on Landlords, Bless Beats on Kick off da Hinges and Flow Dan, well, on everything he manages to get on.

Flow Dan's great.

And so is 'Wake Up' really, a release in which the only real weakness - its own consistency, solidity, self-assurance - sometimes holds it back from a bit more hype and few more moments of high-flown inspiration.

The 'Wake Up' EP is now available from bare places, but here's just some:

UK RecordShop
Avalanche Music Hut
Uptown Records

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Instrumental CDs - with Balistiq Beats

G'day grime fans.

A while ago I did a blog on instrumental CDs, just after the release of 'Nocstrumentals'. The instrumental CDs just keep coming and, nearly six months on, Silencer's released 'Run The CD', Swindle 'Curriculum Vitae', Dexplicit has put his 'Content' series up for digital download and arguably the most anticipated of the lot saw a physical release last Monday - Maniac's 'New Age Grime'.

To be honest, I only decided to write this after listening to Maniac's Ouch, which is just brilliant. His CD starts off with the familiar in Ugly, for me one of his best ever beats, and also finishes familiarly with Thug and Headshot, which have been all over the airwaves for the last six months. But in between are quite a few beats that have kept on a low in the run up to this release, like Boiler and Evil Dead.

Silencer's was a little different, catering to the CD crowd after releasing the first eight beats from Run The CD on vinyl and digital download previously. His Wow Base series has been a highlight in a flailing grime vinyl market, but his emphatic style of production, with bangers such as Dirtbag, Regulation and Mr. T, make this a collection of beats on CD copy.

Swindle's Cirriculum Vitae exhibits the producer's trademark - a mellow, 'musical' sound, which seems to give the CD more of a flow in relation to the others. While Swindle's productions get played by the likes of Spyro and other radio DJs, his beats here are more recognisable from their vocals. With different moods on here, from the down-and-out feel of The Rat to the bubbly Swaggeristic, Curriculum Vitae is a well-rounded release that provides something different within the scene.

Dexplicit continues to clear the cupboards, his latest volume of 'Content' having tunes such as Fireboy, Steamtrain and its VIP version. With other editions having beats like Hench and the Bizzle-vocalled Blood Nine, 'Content' is a series of bangers that anticipates his album 'Digikenesis', which should be about soon.

With Maniac set to release another CD, Dot Rotten's next batch of 'Rotten Riddims' forthcoming and Dexplicit planning to release five instalments with ten beats each in his 'Content' series, instrumental releases are a growing trend. Yet as back-catalogues become more available and the archives are cleared, the resultant blanker canvas allows the instrumental CD to adopt a new position.

Production duo Balistiq Beats, fresh off the back of their Power Cut Riddim with vocals from the likes of Shizzle, Badness, Riko, Doctor and Trim, as well as collaborations with Jammer on Make a Hit and Wiley with Headbanger, have an instrumental album waiting in the wings that could take the format into a direction that hasn't yet been fully realised.

Andrew, one half of the duo, explains:

To be honest, both of us just decided that would be the direction we'll take for our own release. There are a lot of good CDs out there but we just feel like the majority of them are just a mish-mash of tunes with no real thought behind them.

And from Ryan:

It has to be a musical journey, otherwise, why is it an album in the first place? Albums, to me, should be concept-based (and) because this will be instrumental, the music will have to speak for itself. Therefore it will have to be more expressive on its own.

So perhaps this could herald a new chapter for the instrumental CD in grime?

Ryan: Grime is HUGE, look at the charts, look at YouTubes top viewed videos. Now is the time to show what we're all about, from every angle. So, regarding the future of instrumental albums, it's nothing new - look at Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, Massive Attack, Prodigy, Calvin Harris, Chase n Status etc - the majority is music based. Granted they do have some vocals (which is just an instrument anyway), but they let their music be the forefront, which is how it should be if you decide to do an album. What we're doing is bringing that same angle to the Balistiq brand. Compositions, arrangements, sections, key changes.. listen to George Benson's Breezin', Miles Davis playing Michael Jackson's Human Nature or any Joe Hisaishi composition. It takes you to another place - let the music move you!

Andrew: When proper albums are made you can listen to them from top to bottom and feel the continuity as you go along. Obviously within the grime scene it's more of a mixtape thing and the target audience just wanna hear bangers so that's probably why CDs come out the way they do. Big up everyone who's doing this ting though, because they're all good in their own way. Everyone is different, they got different ideas so with our one this is the direction we wanna take.

As the instrumental CD becomes a more permanent fixtre in grime, perhaps producers may feel more obliged to release these products now and in the future?

Andrew: It's not even a feeling of obligation that's making us do this. We've done stuff in the past with a number of MCs and a lot of other work outside of the grime scene, but now this is gonna be about us. We're aiming to make this something you can put on your iPod and on your way to college/uni/work listen to the whole ting from start to finish and just appreciate the music for what it is. We're known mostly for our grime productions and we'll always be a part of that scene, but this CD will reach out to people outside of that - people who know of us for different reasons, who've heard the other side of our work.

Ryan: We've worked with so many people in many different genres so it'll be good to showcase our diversity. We have actually built our music so we have no obligations, making it so we have free will to do whatever we want, when we want - it's not a job, it's a passion. That's something we will make sure gets through.

Right now, it's the producer's time.

Balistiq Beats Myspace
Balistiq Beats Twitter

Monday, 6 July 2009

Come Grime With Me

So DJ Manara likes Come Dine With Me. With fellow Night Slugs residents Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990, Donaeo and Warrior Queen also popped round.

'Come Grime With Me' was born.

There's not the token wanker that usually slips into the average Come Dine With Me here but, like the original, the highlight is the narration. Provided by no less than Jammer, there's some absolute gems from him in this little video so have a watch.

Come Grime With Me video

Boxfresh presents ... Come Grime With Me! from Boxfresh International on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Around Bow with Lee Brasco - Part 3

This is the third part of a little tour around E3 with Lee Brasco. You can catch the first instalment here and the second here.

But for now the talk of radio filters out, and we go through Lanfranc estate. Over one of the walls, looking towards Roman Road, we can just see the top of the sign.

rhythm division Pictures, Images and Photos

The sun shines, and the tees in the window look so much better than on the internet thumbnails or Myspace albums where I usually see the designs. Hoodstars, SN1 and Boy Better Know are the main ones on show.

There's no customers, so we just have a look around. It's the sort of place that you step into and wish you were a DJ. It's not the biggest shop, but funky vinyl is stacked all along the back wall, behind the steel-topped counter with decks sitting on top. But it's on the oppposite wall where all of the grime CDs are, complemented by a smaller stack of road rap CDs on the right.

If you could only get five CDs from here right now, which ones would you get?

Brasco takes time to think.

LB: Race against Time, Trim's mixtape, Back 2 Da Lab 3, Down Volume 2 and Tinchy’s Star in the Hood. But if Tinchy’s album ain't there then Wretchrospective.

The guy out the back is sitting in the office.

LB: What's going on boss?

The man comes up to the front and stands behind the counter, giving us the low-down on the shop.

MrRD: Rhythm started about twelve years ago, and I’ve been here for about seven years.

How's Rhythm doing at the moment, given the recession and stuff?

MrRD: We haven't been doing too badly to tell you the truth, because-

Because Rhythm's a specialist shop?

MrRD: Yeah exactly. We're a specialist shop, so people will still spend their money here. Obviously we get in a lot of DJs and collectors as well as fans so, even if they're bruck-up, they'll still spend money on music because it's a hobby. And also, in these times, music is something that's fun and which gives entertainment.

I still think about his seven years. He must have remembered a few notable customers from back in the day. Dizzee?

His face lights up.

MrRD: Ah yeah, I remember Dizzee coming in here back in the day, course. He would make a tune at home on his computer, press it up round the corner and come straight down here, boxes and boxes of vinyl he would bring in to us. Around I Luv U times we would buy boxes and boxes off him, knowing that we would easily sell them all.

Dizzee was on the main stage at Glastonbury last week. His new song Holiday looks like another chart-topper.

MrRD: See some people might say that Dizzee has sold out, but there's a part of his music that's still E3.

What? Like in his delivery?

MrRD: I dunno but, to me, I just think he still brings a little bit of Bow E3 to the mainstream.

LB: Yeah man, Dizzee still reps for E3 - I'm not even gonna say he don't.

MrRD: Like I would say that grime was born in E3, and in that sense Rhythm is the lifeblood for the music here.

LB: When I came in here, I used to think that, one day, I wanna get on that wall.

Brasco almost says it as an aside, but it still shows that this isn't just a place to buy records. It's a shop with a history, and one of the cornerstones of a culture. I didn't quite realise Rhythm's significance only half an hour before.

LB: There was another shop that opened in Mile End called Allstar Records, but that closed as soon as it started.

MrRD: Yeah, I remember that. Rhythm was already more established, and they had nothing that we didn't already.

tinchy picture 2003 Pictures, Images and Photos

So are you - well maybe it's the wrong word - but like kinda 'proud' of Tinchy, Dizzee and Wiley, coming from here and now seeing them having such success?
MrRD: Yeah of course, definitely. I remember Tinchy coming in here.

He puts his forearm across his body, just above his waist.

MrRD: He must have come up to about here, you couldn't see him on the other side of the counter. I saw him and I was like 'what!? This guy can MC?'. But he was merking raves, 'tingz in boots' and all that, you know like the Eskimo Dance Top 100 reloads or whatever. Everyone in the crowd would just be going nuts.

Mr Rhythm Division fully explains by bussing gunfingers behind the counter. Brasco points at the Tinchy album on the rack.

LB: Tinchy is an original. Apart from Wiley, Tinch has probably been doing grime the longest out of all of the MCs you see on this wall - he helped pave the way.

But we change to current talk - what's the best grime-sellers in the shop at the moment?

Mr RD: Erm, a few things have been selling well. 'Microphone Champion' and 'Race against Time' have probably done the best.

But with all the June 1st hype, who has sold the most so far?

MrRD: They've both done well, but here probably Wiley.

LB: Well Wiley is from the bits, so that's kinda expected to see him sell the most here. We all support him fully.

MrRD: But the hype and publicity of releasing on the same day has worked, because what's been happening is that people having been coming in and buying both albums at the same time. Another thing is that the Skepta and Wiley albums have done a lot of units in a short space of time. Like for example what we would expect to sell in two or even three weeks, they did in just one week.

Brasco asks what has sold the most in the shop, ever. While the guy thinks, I pluck a guess at Eskimo.

MrRD: Yeah I actually think it was you know. The thing is that with vinyl, Wiley was just absolutely untouchable. A few years ago, if he had something just out the phone wouldn't stop ringing. For Eskimo, people were even driving down from Wales just so that they could get the tune.

Logan Sama's Earth 616 Maniac vinyl is there. I ask to have a look. It's green and it's Maniac and I just really want it, even without decks. How have they been doing?

MrRD: It's difficult because Logan's doing on his own what at the very least what three or four people should be doing. We only got them in last Monday but they are selling solidly. Not massive numbers, but just selling solidly.

I'm just about to ask the guy what his name is, but the phone rings again. He's picks up, and now seems a good time to leave. On the way out, near the funky vinyl, is Lee Brasco's Computer Girls, with Having a Bad Day on the B-Side.

LB: Make sure you go out and get that man, it's a good look.

We carry along down Roman Road. Brasco sees a tidy car sitting in traffic. The motor moves off but Brasco hurries, following the car down the road it just turned. We flag it down near Olga primary school.

LB: Oi, Mercs!

Mercston pops his head out of the window.

M: Ah Lee man, what's good fam? Alright - I'll pull over for a sec.

Catch the rest of the Roman sights and find out what Mercston's up to on Grime Forum tomorrow.

Follow Rhythm Division on Twitter
Brasco’s Myspace
Brasco's Blog
Brasco's Twitter

Monday, 15 June 2009

Wiley and Skepta's Barnet Beef

Afternoon grime fans.

The internet moves too quickly for me to keep up nowadays, so I'm a bit late with this story. I could have let it pass; there's plenty more fish in the sea. However, fish stocks are apparently dwindling and grime's traditional summer drought is imminent, so I thought I would dive into my renewed quest for some of that search engine optimisation.

Forgive me.

'I'm a king when I roll through anywhere, you're just a king when you roll through Barnet.'

The unassuming North London borough is enjoying a welcome return to the spotlight again, a couple years after residents started 'vandalising' road-signs by dubbing their bits 'Barnét'.

Wiley's lyric on his album track Zip It Up has caused a bit of aggro. Skepta in particular took exception, and his barnet must have raised a few millimetres after hearing Wiley's dig because, soon enough, he made his way to Barnet's Dollis Valley estate where, apparently, the kids indulge in zooming quad bikes 'dangerouly around the estate's green spaces'.

Skepta - In the Country

Wiley left his house in the country to reply.

Wiley - Barnet Dub

538 years after the Battle of Barnet in the English Civil War, admittedly quite a big precedent as far as what we'll call 'Barnet war' goes, Skepta has taken this to the blocks in 21st century urban guerilla warfare.

Skepta half-sniggering outside a house that was presented as Wiley's, as well as dubbing Wiley his 'bredrin' before it even all kicked off proper, meant this was never going to be a Wiley v Doogz, two artists that don't really seem to like each other very much.

But who won this one?

Two top MCs battling. Essentially, over a lyric that at least acknowledged one of London's most neglected places.

Yeah. Probably Barnet.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Ruff Sqwad - I Wanna Let U Know

Wow. I had no idea this single was released nearly two weeks ago.

I remember hearing the tune on Logan's show a while back, and I really quite liked the song despite some part of me saying 'how the hell can you like this'.

I Wanna Let You Know video

Yet a few months down the line I still like it - probably even more. Yeah Roachee's on it and there's a half-hearted nod to James Bond at the start, but I just really like the sound. And despite the swathes of auto-tune, it doesnt really detract from the end result. I suppose auto-tune isn't very subtle - if you're gonna use it, you might as well just go for it or don't bother.

I just think Rapid is doing it right now. Given grime's current position, and the June 1st King of Grime 'I'm gonna shift more albums than you' braggadocio, isn't the King the one who can bring the music in a credible format to a wider audience?

Tinchy is having huge success, and it looks likely to continue with his second album 'Catch 22'.


1. Never Leave You feat Amelle
2. Number 1 feat N-Dubz
3. Take Me Back feat. Taio Cruz
4. Stryderman
5. I'm Landin
6. 1 of us
7. Spotlight
8. Story Unfold
9. First Place

'Catch 22' isn't grime music but he features on I Wanna Let U Know and, given he's the nation's favourite pocket-rapper right now, he's in a good position to promote Ruff Sqwad. The single builds on Rapid's new style, and Tinchy playing a role in that, after vocals like Stuck On My Mind.

Stuck On My Mind video

Rapid's CD 'Rapid Fire' and the Ruff Sqwad album need a release as soon as possible. But now I want to hear them so I can test the waters and validate my new theory. Admittedly he needs chart success first.

But Rapid - King of Grime?

Monday, 1 June 2009

Five Reasons Why You Should Buy Microphone Champion

Skepta's 'Microphone Champion' is out today, along with Bashy's 'Catch Me If You Can' and Wiley's 'Race Against Time'.

I've finally listened to Skepta's offering, and here are five reasons why you should buy the CD:

1) Giggs is on it.

2) Are You Ready features probably the best Midlands accent by a north-Londoner I've ever heard. The competition was admittedly slim but, by possibly reviving a three-quarters dead beef in the process, multi-tasking complements the Champion's powers of imitation.

3) Skepta widens the possibilities available to grime MCs by penning a tune about transvestites. Disguise is a recipe for disaster on paper but the joyous beat is the best on the CD. A very serious-sounding Skepta is 'warning people' on a comic track, merely adding to the 'what the fuck' factor. Trust me, it's brilliant.

4) While there's been talk of 'gratuitous guest appearances', Jammer's feature on Disguise is probably one of the best grime verses I've ever heard.

'some of them girls ain't girls,
if you look properly you'll see they're guuuuyys'

5) Rolex Sweep and Sunglasses At Night are merely bonus tracks here. So if even you don't really like the CD you can still appreciate Skepta's approach. Eh grime fans?

Well maybe. Anyway that's that - if you're still not appeased then check Grime Daily for a more in-depth review later.


Sunday, 31 May 2009

BBK - Too Many Man

It's been a while since I locked in to the charts, and the days when I recorded Daniel Bedingfield's Gotta Get Thru This on cassette. I would sigh heavily when the guy hosting the show would feel the need to talk all over the start and end of the track, mocking my third-rate piracy.

But time changes. Listening religiously to the charts is now part of a hazy childhood nostalgia. Bedingfield now makes soppy ballads. In fact I don't even know if he makes music nowadays - I'm just not very interested.

I've tuned in a bit more recently though - once in a while - to see how our grime acts are faring on the other side.

Boy Better Know's Too Many Man was released this time last week. According to the iTunes store, Too Many Man is #99 in their Top 100 Songs Chart.

iTunes isn't the be-all and end-all for getting music. Fuck it, it's not even the official charts. But #99? For a song that's had wide airplay on the underground for the last three-odd months?

But I think it's a fair achievement. Chipmunk may have reached #22 in the charts independently, and Dizzee Rascal may have shat on the charts from very high above independently, but Too Many Man isn't a Chip Diddy Chip or Dance Wiv Me.

It's an independent grime track and, with its funky elements, an accurate reflection of the scene now. Skepta's Rolex Sweep, despite Busta Rhymes sweeping all over the O2 (or wherever it was) and Chris Martin wailing about glasses of champagne while tinkering the piano at a Coldplay gig, got to #92 after release in the iTunes Top 100 Songs Chart. Surely grime music, and underground music in general, can take something from that?

Added to the fact that the single was released a week before both Wiley's 'Race Against Time' and Skepta's 'Microphone Champion', and the track being on both albums, it's not too shabby is it?

Or do I need to brush up on what constitutes mainstream success? If so, I hope it doesn't mean I have to listen to the charts any time soon.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

R.I.P Esco

"Alright London, alright alright, you get me. It's Rinse 100.3 in the day-time, Christmas Day. Like I care, you get me. Like I even care what day it is."

Wiley on the day itself in 2004. Needless to say he wasn't in a great mood, with personal pot-shots already dispatched at Lethal B, Bashy and Jammer. But, just fifteen minutes later, it was seemingly easy enough for him to say this:

"Oi Es, it's Wiley - I need to hear you more Es - on the level. Don't sit back, don't sit back. I wanna hear you Esco."

We did hear more from Esco, but not as much as grime would have liked. I can't remember an MC having released so little yet commanding so much respect, and it's clear that he had abundant talent that was never fully recognised.

The story has gained wider coverage in the media, since Esco was the half-brother of Tottenham Hotspur and England striker Jermain Defoe. Still, this notable relation can't detract from Esco being an individual and having made his own mark, especially in the grime scene in which he was so highly-respected.

Esco (Jade Defoe) died last night from severe head injuries after being attacked in Leytonstone. May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Jendor - Grandmaster Review

I'm a massive Jendor fan, but I didn't know what to expect with this CD. I was pleasantly surprised.

The strong start partly provides the answer. Crayzee Banditt produces the majority of the opening songs and his almost epic, wide and expansive sound allows more than enough room for Jen to shine. Pose On Da Phone proves the point and, with strong follow-ups Architect and Get That Dough, the momentum is imposed from the start.

The Rude Kid-produced Sunshine marks a change. The content is street, but the almost uplifting beat conjures a mood that reaches its apex in the corny but infectious You're A Star. Diamonds is the now near-obligatory electro effort and, even without the amusing opening ('call her, call her... oi, man's tryna talk to you, come 'ere man'), Banditt's beat is full and rich. Such beats offset both of Insomniax's dull and forgettable productions on Desert Storm and None Of Their Guys and, with the latter being a freestyle comprising all of Jendor's biggest bars that's crying out for a hype grime or dubstep beat.

Along with Pose On Da Phone, Damn and Scarface are highlights along with Cricket Bat. Despite being well-played on radio over a year ago, it's been slept-on with time and, here, Skepta's beat is refreshing in relation to some of the more hip-hop influenced beats.

Jendor simply shines on the mic throughout and, even though more out-and-out grime beats would have been nice, he has the temperament to lace hip hop well. For a South London MC, perhaps it would be naive not to expect it. Nevertheless, this is a fair effort. In grime terms, if Jen isn't a grandmaster then he can't be far off.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Newham Generals - Generally Speaking Review

'It apparently took three years to make, but much of this debut album from Dizzee Rascal's proteges sounds as though it's been tossed off in the last three minutes.'

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but the egalitarian might of that maxim is mightily challenged by the Guardian's Paul MacInnes. I'm just happy that the album is finally here and, even after the heavy delay and an inevitable anti-climax, 'Generally Speaking' is still a very good release.

Just Movin' is the perfect start. The beat is brilliantly bold, with an opening that tingles your ears before the big biss drop. Chrome's vocals provide a loose hook, but it doesn't deter from the energy of Footsie and DEE, and the quick pace of them going back to back on the mic that makes for an uncompromising start.

The composition of the album is one of it's great strengths. Head Get Mangled picks up the baton and races away further still, with the speed complemented by DEE's hazy delivery. A slower Footsie solo, Dat's Normal, is next, which is followed by DEE's Supadupe. The way the two are juggled throughout is masterful and, as a result, both the individual qualities of the MCs as well as their clout as a collective are emphasised. Features from G-Man and Dizzee on Violence, after a united and revolving DEE and Footsie at the start, rounds everything off.

Even with the newer dancey tracks, which includes one of the highlights in Mind Is A Gun, Monkstarr gives a glimse of the Generals's past with a fitting inclusion on the album. With a wealth of older material to choose from, Things I Do slots in well, and Chrome's wistful vocals contrast to the in-your-face Bell Dem Slags. Dat's Normal had great nostalgic value, and suits the album better than the more recent solo It's Foots.

While there are high-points, Douchebag and Heard You Been Smoking don't have any star-quality, but again the way the album has been put together doesn't allow them to compromise the general tone and flow. Both songs are very short and the album, even with the bonus tracks, does seem to be over too quickly.

Some more tracks would have been nice, but this is far from a 'tossed off' CD. Generally Speaking is one of the best grime releases ever.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Boy Better Know - Too Many Man

Before you look at grime's finest in half-hearted face paint, joyfully jigging in a dark and dingy room with a pronouced absence of ladies, one thing. If you take a couple of minutes from your week to look at this blog (I love you all), then I apologise for the stand-still. Work. That's all I'm saying.

Anyway, the video. Fanfare please.

Boy Better Know - Too Many Man

I'm sure this only came out because of Microphone Champion Volume 1, and Skepta's 'too many man' lyric enjoying ridiculous reloads and a fair forum reception. I could never see the hype of the lyric (no, I'm not a homo) but, as an initial sceptic, I'm pleased to say that I actually like the tune itself. Probably thanks to hefty radio play from Scratcha, Logan and Silencer. And nearly everyone else, in fact.

I think the track actually has merit. They've taken a massive funky influence, but retained conspicuous grime characteristics. It's not funky, or house; the production is recognisably a Skepta beat, and the content throws grime and funky into sharp contrast, especially in terms of their rave scenes; there's 'no sharp shoes', 'just Nike Airs in here'. Also, the barring inverts orthodox, mellifluous female funky vocals and their narratives about the morning, of love being the only drug and pleas to just tell her 'what it is' amongst others.

I really like funky. I listen to it more than grime right now but I've dragged myself away from those drums to have a listen to OT Crew's 'Left 2 Rot', Jendor's 'Grandmaster' and Newham Generals's 'Generally Speaking'. Expect reviews next week.

Stay classy San Diego.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Wiley Interview with Ras Kwame

Ras Kwame proved the solitary soldier early on Sunday and, with an hour's less sleep, he bossed the airwaves in fair fashion given the circumstances. He probably woke up a little bit more when Wiley decided to turn up out of the blue.

Wiley Interview With Ras Kwame

Listen on iPlayer for better quality sound from about an hour and eight minutes. There's a very brief a capella, a track called Untrustworthy, and another song produced by Y.Wizz.

Given the Sunday surprise, a bit was said about Wiley's unreliability, and how he's "gotta try and get rid of that stigma." The conversation swiftly turned to music proper, and apparently Wiley has made a hit in the "last two days". Tinchy Stryder has confirmed it by lacing the track with his vocals already. Will was listening to it this morning laughing which, as well as being a hilarious image, could mean grime artists in the top 10 (again) sharpish.

I'm not going to comb over everything that was said but Wearing My Rolex, and the consequent stacks of Nike shoe-boxes full of money and a 'See Clear Now' detour, has given him the freedom to make the album the way he wants.

"You can expect to hear an album that I went to studio and enjoyed making number one... basically, I didn't have no-one in my ear, I done what I wanted to do, which I'm happy about. I spent my own money, and I'm happy bruv."

Ghetts said on Logan Sama's show a few weeks back that, wherever Sing 4 Me charted, he still benefited from the experiece, and he'll still be bigger than he would have been before the process.

Wearing My Rolex and Sing 4 Me have had better receptions than Chip Diddy Chip, but charting at Number 21 means Alwayz Recordings have a stash of cash that can be invested in other MCs on its label. Dirtee Stank has wonga after Dance Wiv Me, and the Newham Generals have musical support as well as added financial clout behind them as a result.

Commercial-focused tracks may result in turning the radio down, but it's outweighed by some much-needed cash coming into the scene and hopefully resultant stability from a firmer infrastructure, especially regarding labels.

Still, I wouldn't mind seeing Wiley and Tinchy charting high together. It would be like the good old days. Well a bit different actually. But the mentor and the pupil, originals, penning hits years down the line is special, isn't it?