So after trialing it, I’ve decided to do Grimey Mondays again. I trialed it last year not knowing what to expect from doing it so I just went with the flow, featuring an old school riddim every Monday. This time around though, not only am I going to still be featuring tracks from grime’s archives, I’ll be spotlighting those who are popping in the genre as well as talking about some of the new music that have really got my attention. Before I did Grimey Mondays on a weekly basis but because of the way I want to structure each post, I’ll be doing posts on a monthly basis instead.
Chipmunk & Ice Kid’s Freestyle For Tim Westwood (2007)
So for this post’s trip down memory lane, I decided that it had to involve a guy that only last month came out of hiding. After coming out as a guest act for Taylor Gang during the Red Bull Culture Clash last month, Ice Kid has marked his return first by laying down some bars for the track ‘A.T.M’, then he laid down even more bars alongside Chip for the track appropriately named ‘Where’s Ice Kid At’ and most recently, Ice Kid dropped his 11 EP, a 9 track project that I’m sure will excite the fans who remember him from his younger years. Ice Kid wasn’t always so enigmatic as here in this freestyle alongside an equally young Chipmunk as he was called then on the Tim Westwood show with Wiley bringing the young MCs through, bouncing around in the background like a proud dad.
Big John & Reece West – Invincibles
Londoners Big John & Reece West have both been consistently hitting up radio this year, jumping on sets on the likes of Radar, Mode, Reprezent and more recently, appearing on Sir Spyro’s Grime Show on Rinse, Reece even has his own radio slot on Radar. The two talented MCs have come together to channel their inner strikers to put out a joint EP called ‘Invincibles’. With 2 tracks with them together as well as 2 others with them on individual tracks, the EP which is a free download has the hard-hitting bars you’d expect from a pair of hungry, up & coming MCs. With that invincible feeling, it’s no wonder with a mic in their hands, they’re feeling like Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry in their prime.
J Beatz – Chestplate
Mode FM’s J Beatz is releasing a new EP on his Crown Jules label called ‘Chestplate’. The lead track on this EP has already had plenty of air time with a positive reception among DJs who have spun it. The vocal track on here features the combined flows of Nico Lindsay, Capo Lee, Merky ACE and Blay with each MC flexing their lyrical prowess on the booming riddim. Add in the strong sounds from both Dartford and the Audio Slugs remix of Drunk and you have a secure yet versatile project.
The Bug – Box/Iceman
The Bug here with his latest release on the Ninja Tune label. This release consists of two tracks, the first being a jumpy, lively riddim accompanied by the bars and flows of the legendary Newham General D Double E, ‘Box’ is the sort of track that will definitely provoke a reaction in the clubs, it’s experimental nature and DEE’s array of bars, perfectly in sync with the beat work well together. The second track however is a far more aggressive animal with the vocals of the London City Warlord himself Riko Dan, ‘Iceman’ is more cutthroat than ‘Box’, it’s more intense and boy does it punch an almighty punch. The Bug showing here how to push the boundaries, merging elements of different genres to create these hybrid sounds that seem to just sound epic. Follow the link below if you want to purchase this release via Bandcamp.
Vicky Grout – AAA Exhibition
Grime photographer Vicky Grout had an exhibition at the Hoxton Gallery this month showcasing her collection of photographs she’s taken from the last two years. I went to the gallery to see the exhibition for myself and it’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed.
Merky ACE aka Splurt Diablo Mix
Big news in the producer scene, Family Tree and Tizzy Gang’s Merky ACE has outed himself to be the producer Splurt Diablo, confirming the rumours that the two aliases belonged to the same person. In an interview he did for Complex, he said he felt he reached a point where he felt both identities were developed and stood strong alone. Now the revelation is out that he is Splurt Diablo, Merky has provided Complex with a mix, including a bunch a riddims that he’s feeling. With Tizzy Gang’s album on the horizon, this looks like it could be an exciting change to the career path of both the MC and the producer.
Ruff Sound – Spotlight
Finishing off this Grimey Mondays post, I’ve gone with the emergence of the Ruff Sound movement pioneered by South Londoner Novelist who refers to himself as a producer who MCs as well. He’s responsible for championing this new sound alongside the likes of Vision Crew, a South London collective and DJ Grandmixxer with the aim of pushing Ruff Sound to the fore and so far, the movement has been gathering pace this year. This new sound has a grimey yet junglist feel to it; set at about 152-160 BPM, MCing to Ruff Sound requires fast flows but lyrical content, the bars come out fast almost as if MCs are spraying bars to drum & bass but the skippy nature of the sound means finding a rhythm is crucial to be able to spit bars properly, Novelist even has a definition for Ruff Sound posted on his Instagram. The jury’s still out as to whether the movement will continue to grow or not but there’s been plenty of air time for Ruff Sound, particularly on Rinse FM. With Novelist recently announcing he’s started his own independent label, the 19 year old seems to be in total control of his own music making process, perhaps setting the foundations for the Ruff Sound movement to flourish.