It’s me again! (*D Double E voice*)
I’m back for another instalment of Grimey Mondays and trust me, a lot has happened recently. Here’s what has made it into here.
Skepta Wins The Mercury Prize For 2016
The biggest news from the world of grime is the triumphant victory of Skepta as he won the 2016 Mercury Prize. Beating off competition from a nomination list full of acclaimed artists such as the late David Bowie, Radiohead, Laura Mvula and fellow grime MC Kano, Skepta’s album ‘Konnichiwa’ was the one chosen by the judges to receive the award. Surrounded by friends and family as he accepted the prize, the Tottenham MC whose face was one of sheer disbelief at the fact he’d won, froze for a little while looking at the award before regaining his composure to give a speech in which he thanked those who helped him put ‘Konnichiwa’ together as well as thanking his parents for giving him the motivation to chase his dreams. Although it would have been poignant to award the Mercury Prize to Bowie posthumously for his ‘Blackstar’ album, Skepta’s victory is a signal of grime’s growing prominence in the mainstream and vindication that even independent artists, those not signed onto major labels can still make successful careers for themselves.
Capo Lee – Mud
What a year it’s been for Capo Lee, from releasing his ‘Why Not’ mixtape back in January, Capo The Champ aka Cake & Custard Man hasn’t looked back. When he linked up with D Double E for the vocals & Sir Spyro on producky to do ‘Mud’, this set the ball rolling for him and with that momentum behind him, we’re graced to have the release of the ‘Mud’ EP, featuring the killer remix with Frisco and Teddy Bruckshot. With a sequel to ‘Why Not’ confirmed marked by a new tune featuring P Money called ‘Very Mad’, Capo Lee is going from strength to strength at the moment. Click to link below to go and cop the EP from iTunes.
Shell TV – Shells Season 4
Shells is the explosive showcase hosted by RD on Shell TV run by DFR. Each season, a selection of MCs will spray nothing but their hardest bars for up to 6 minutes live on Radar Radio. This season, the Shells started to rain down with the fiery bars of Jon E Clayface and Grim Sickers. Look out for more videos from season 4 to come.
Snowy Danger – The Blue (feat. Rocket, Little Dee & P Money)
Paper Aero Plane (PAP) representative Snowy Danger aka the king of Orange Fanta lays down some bars ahead of his ‘Stella Flow’ EP dropping with the track titled ‘The Blue’. The track features fellow PAP mandem Rocket (one half of production duo Splurgeboys), OGz Little Dee and P Money with Kadey James, another member of PAP on the buttons. PAP are known for their infectious energy so get them near a mic like doing a guestmix takeover on the Sian Anderson show on 1Xtra for example and fireworks are sure to explode.
Tre Mission, Merky ACE & Cadell – Steeze
With the long-awaited Tizzy Gang album ‘OppsNextDoor’ on the horizon, it was only a matter time before stuff from that project would drop and it duly has. Three of the gang, Tre Mission, Merky ACE & Cadell all appear here to lay down bars on the silky riddim titled ‘Steeze’.
Jack Dat Mix
DJ Jack Dat is a guy who definitely knows how to control two decks and a mixer. If you’re aware of Jack Dat’s work, you’ll know he packs his sets with the hardest crud with no punches pulled and in this mix, it’s full of straight greeze. If you’re not aware of Jack Dat’s work however, just press play to start the mix, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Score5ive’s Top 10 Dubplates
From one DJ to another as DJ Score5ive goes through his most prized dubplates exclusively for FACTmagazine. With both DJs Slimzee and Spooky going through their favourite dubplates for the guys at FACT already, it was the turn of Score5ive to run through the dubs he treasures the most. Watch the video to find out what dubs made the cut and then listen to the mix he does including the dubs he picked below.
Kano & Mikey J – E.T. (feat. Wiley, Wretch 32 & Scorcher (2011))
Delving into the archives, I’ve gone for something from an EP that I’ve highly rated from the moment it dropped.
‘Not 4 The A List’ is an 4-track EP jointly made by emcee Kano and long time collaborating producer Mikey J. Although it was released as a free download 5 years ago, the EP to me still sounds fresh, it has a timeless nature to it. From the gritty realness of ‘House Of Pain’ to the out of this world feel to ‘Alien’ to the almost arrogant swagger that oozed from ‘Random Antics’, the EP showcases the lyricism of one of the very best to spit bars, Kano’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ album became an instant anthem, a status it still holds today.
The track however that got me the most gassed (and still does) when I first heard this EP back in my days at sixth form was ‘E.T.’ simply because it blew my fucking mind. It was a track that ignited in me something that I hadn’t felt before. I rinsed the shit out of this tune when I was still in college, back then I was still relatively new to grime so hearing something like this was a shock but in a good way. For me, this is not just music, this is pure nostalgia.
Wallwork & Nico Lindsay – Facts
‘Facts’ is the two-track single released on the Black Acre Records label that features the combination of the lyrical powers of Nico Lindsay and the production prowess of Wallwork. Nico Lindsay is a versatile MC who’s not afraid to experiment with different genres. Wanting to find out more about how this project came together, I had a chat with Nico which was pretty useful as I learned a few things, I guess Codename Lin is wiser than he looks:
Me: How did you and Wallwork come up with the idea to work together?
NL: “A producer called Lorenzo BITW from Italy messaged me on Facebook saying he liked my stuff and wanted to collab, he told me his friend has a studio in Hackney and the friend was Wallwork so when I went there to record ‘Storm’, Wallwork & I ended up working on ‘Facts’ and ‘Fyah’.”
Me: So you did the vocals for ‘Storm’ and ‘Facts’ at the same studio? Was that the first time you met TSVI?
NL: “Yeah I did them at the same studio and that’s when I met TSVI as well.”
Me: Did you meet Nan Kole there too?
NL: “Nah his manager Craig contacted me on Facebook then we did a Rinse set that was 100% gqom music made from an artist in Durban.”
Me: What sort of genre does gqom music deal with?
NL: “That’s the title of the genre, gqom you might compare it to like Soca but its got a whole different vibe, I wouldn’t even know what genre to compare it to.”
Me: You’re a versatile MC, what are your favourite genres?
NL: “Grime and hip-hop I can’t lie, hip-hop because that was my first favourite genre period and grime because that’s what i started on in 04.”
Me: 04? So you’ve seen grime from the roots grow to what exists now. Why now is it that you’re blowing?
NL: “I think why I’m gaining more recognition now is because back then I was a kid and still understanding plus the games different now to then.”
Me: Last question, do you think it’s good for MCs to push their boundaries, to leave their comfort zones?
NL: “I think so, it’s a bit of a scary thing to do because you might jump in another genre and get judged for it but to be honest, I think less restrictions enhances your ability as long as you aren’t compromising who you are and what you like.”
Whether it’s grime, hip-hop or something in between, Nico Lindsay has an effortless flow that is equal in its eloquence. Wallwork’s mellow yet dramatic riddims suit Nico’s style perfectly, all in all, a solid project. Follow the link below to go cop the two-track single via Bandcamp.
Beat Boss – Spotlight
Beat Boss is a platform that firmly places the impetus on producers to leave their rivals’ heads mangled and dangled to the side like D Double E wears his Kangol while also earning the credit they fully deserve. The platform may only be one year old but it is growing in popularity and influence with both Beat Boss 2 and Beat Boss 3 trending #1 on Twitter across the whole of the UK. This exciting and refreshing platform is the brainchild of DJ Tiatsim of Mode FM. As a massive supporter of what the producers do for the scene and the largely unpublicised graft they do, this is a platform I firmly recommend to anyone who likes the instrumental side of grime. With all this in mind, I just had to talk to the grandmaster himself about Beat Boss & its rise in prominence, including talking about plans for the future.
After phoning him and finding out how his holiday went, we got into business. I asked him firstly how did this all begin, where did the idea of Beat Boss come from. Tiatsim said it came about due to feeling that producers were not getting the attention nor the respect they deserve and feeling like he had to do something about it. I immediately agreed with him because in his words, he says he is an “instrumentalist”, someone who prefers the sounds of beats, much like myself. Beat Boss to him was meant to only be a one-off event but now it has grown and it is thriving in an era of internet radio which captures the essence of pirate radio, it’s raw, it’s novel, it’s an unknown beast waiting to be tamed.
Now when two grimeheads chat, they’re bound to go off-topic and during this 30 minute chat, we went off-topic quite a bit. We talked about Dizzee Rascal and how his sounds were so novel back in the day, ‘Boy In Da Corner’ wasn’t so much a body of grime music, more a body of music involving sounds where people listening to it thought “what the fuck is this” and vibzing to it. We also talked about the need for grime artists to be versatile, to be able to show that there are aspects to them that make them stand out. Many MCs nowadays are able to DJ or to produce but Tiats worried about being too versatile, to be a jack of all trades but a master of none and I get what he’s saying, it’s better to focus on a few things and hone them rather than to try to be good at everything.
I then mentioned the fact that the upcoming Beat Boss 4 clash will be the first that won’t be taking place at Mode FM. Tiats assured me though that the clash will still be live streamed (cue sigh of relief) and explained to me that because so many people there during the clashes, people have to stand outside the studio because there simply isn’t enough space for all of them to fit into the studio. Now as I have been to Mode before, I already know how hot it gets in there, if you haven’t been to Mode then you need to know a few things; firstly, instead of Mode, I like to call it Sauna FM because you literally sweat buckets in there, I’m not joking! Secondly, take a drink with you while you’re in there because it’s hot and thirdly, when you come Mode, remember to bring a dressing gown and a towel (and perhaps even a fan) because if you’re there spraying bars & billing zoots, it gets humid in there so man have to wipe the sweat off their brows so sweat don’t drop on the mic whilst you’re spitting, I’m not joking when I say you come out of Mode lighter, the pounds come right off after a session in there.
Tiatsim tells me that the clash is at a place called Samurai Sound, a recording studio in West London and that he plans to let Beat Boss grow “organically”. Perplexed by what he meant, I asked him what he meant when he said this. He elaborated, telling me he hadn’t thrown a lot of money putting the platform together, it was an idea that he had simply managed to craft into life. This is something I could tell he was proud of because as the curator of all this, you do develop a sense of attachment to it, a sense of responsibility that the process of growing the platform should happen without too many constraints. One of the things I picked up on was the use of judges to decide which producers advance to later rounds and it was clear from the way Tiats was speaking to me that judges were there because they pick up on things that the listening audience don’t. The judges know their stuff, they have to otherwise they wouldn’t do a good job. Their decisions CAN AND WILL be controversial because they may not pick the popular choices.
At around this point, we went off-topic again, talking about how badly Eskimo Dance did at this year’s Red Bull Culture Clash which was won by Mixpak. Eskimo Dance simply didn’t bring the dubs that were needed to win the clash, “it was like a concert” said Tiatsim with a hint of exasperation in his voice and then he pointed out to me how well prepared Taylor Gang were for the clash, Wiz Khalifa and his crew had done their research and clearly bringing out Ice Kid was a real shock to the other crews, Chip in particular seemed affected seeing Ice Kid in the flesh. We came to the conclusion that dubs win wars in any soundclash hence why Mixpak won but Taylor Gang came more than prepared and left the clash with their reputations enhanced.
Going back to Beat Boss, I asked him what his favourite clash out of all 3 of the previous Beat Bosses. Put simply, he said DOK versus Spooky which happens to be my favourite clash too. The final of Beat Boss 2 was so close that both producers had to run extra dubs because the judges could not initially separate them. In the end after that bonus round, DOK prevailed and now, he’s part of the hall of fame of previous winners, with Familiar Face winning Beat Boss 1 and Sir Pixalot winning Beat Boss 3, a title he will hope he can defend.
I asked Tiats one last question which was what were his future plans. His utimate goal? To have Beat Boss 9 where all 8 competitors are all previous winners. Sounds like a sick idea to me!
All in all, Beat Boss definitely has its own niche in the market and there’s plenty of potential for it to grow in the months to come. After the amount of interest in the qualifying round that took place earlier this year where Huffy beat Beanzo, Westy and MistaKay to booking a slot in the final 8, this upcoming clash looks like it will be what it normally is, a bloodbath! The draw for the clash happening on the 8th October 2016 has already been made and from the initial pairings, heads are due fi get liff up in the clash.
UPDATE: AS IF KID had to pull out of the clash. His place has been taken up by MistaKay.
Large up Tiatsim for putting this platform together and chatting with me about it. Good luck to the 8 producers taking part. Always remember that the certified warmongers all move stiff inna war. Pioneered by DOK, the war stance is guaranteed to protect you from clarts flying across the room like birds in the sky. Better practice the stance before the clash starts.