Grimey Mondays #6

“WELL. WELL. WELL.”

GM6. First of 2017. Let’s get into this.


Grandmixxer – Balcony Music EP

From the way I was vibzing to this in my kitchen when I heard this for the first time, I knew this EP was a percy. Grandmixxer is one of the most unique DJs and producers around at the moment. How he patterns up his sets with his trademark emotional sounding productions mean you know straight away it’s him on the deckles. When I asked him why his signature sounds are so recognisable, he described them as “his musical truth”. He also said that he doesn’t set out to make one particular sound, “my music is all emotional to me, I just get down and make it, I brought a Triton which a lot of the early grime pioneers were using so you could call my sound Triton based or grime as it was”. ‘Balcony Music’ is inspired by one of the first tunes Grandmixxer ever made which to him had all the elements that he wanted in it, to him, it was a coming of age as a producer.

The EP includes 3 tracks all of essentially the same name; ‘Balcony Music’, ‘Balcony Music 2’ and ‘Balcony Music – Angel Mix’ as well as the contrasting track, ‘Dragonball Z’. With his label, South London Space Agency launching soon and a special bonus track released to mark the EP, Grandmixxer’s not sure what other plans he has but he assured me that whatever comes in the future, it will be big. ‘Balcony Music’ is out now, click on the artwork below to listen to and buy the EP.

grandmixxer-balcony-music-extended-player


DaVinChe – #POWERS

Unless you’re new to grime, if you don’t know who DaVinChe is, you need to come out of the cave you’ve been dwelling in and hold this L. DaVinChe is an R&G don, a respected producer in the game and more importantly, he’s a guy with powers in abundance. In just 14 days, DaVinChe managed to get 32 artists together to make an album, entirely produced by himself. With this album full of singers, rappers and MCs all together, this album is pretty much like a pic-a-mix bag of sweets, there’s tracks in here that everyone can enjoy whether you want to power up or just reconnect with the feelings you were afraid to catch. There are older faces in here as well as newer ones and the combos that they pattern up on this album are pretty interesting, there are tracks that have artists together that you wouldn’t necessary think would go together but actually end up jamming together well. Considering how difficult it can be to put an album and making sure it’s as perfect as it can be, it’s extraordinary that DaVinChe made this album in just a fortnight featuring this many artists but then again, DaVinChe is a pretty extraordinary person, he’s had the #POWERS from early.

 


Eyez – Never Ever

The start of a new year presents the chance for artists under the radar to make a name for themselves and off the back of captaining Derby to victory in the final of the Red Bull Grime-A-Side, Eyez is out here starting the year on the front foot, trying to cement the momentum he made last year with the music video for his track ‘Never Ever’. Eyez’s witty wordplay, punchy bars and confident swagger are getting more and more recognition and while he’s still underrated, this year presents the opportunity for him to make an impact, he’s not an emcee to be slept on.


Big Zuu – Fire In The Booth

There’s not many in the game who have as much energy as Big Zuu, the West Londoner’s ferocious cannon-like flow allows him to dump a whole heap of bombs whenever he shells down. With bars upon bars in his lyrical arsenal, Zuu graced Charlie Sloth’s Saturday Night Rap Show to do his debut Fire In The Booth. Zuu as always shells down with at least 110% energy. Looking at his performance, it’s almost as if he’s going to explode, a lyrical combustion happening before our very eyes as he uses the power of the serious joints to burn down the booth, Big Zuu is here to stay in 2017.


Donae’O Motives

Mr. ‘Man A Wear Black’ himself is going to busy with a pair of upcoming motives. Firstly, on the 2nd of February, he’s celebrating his birthday in style at the Notting Hill Arts Club in collaboration with Pardon My Blog and Movin Anti, the night will also be raising funds for two charities as well so donations will be welcome. If that isn’t enough, Donae’O will be going in at his debut headline show at The Camden Assembly on the 16th of March. It’s mad thinking Donae’O is only having his debut headline show this year considering how long he’s been clarting down the clubs, delivering the vibes to make all the mandem & all the gyaldem move to each other during his music career but considering that he signed onto the Island Records label, cementing his first major record deal just this month, it seems appropriate to celebrate that achievement with an event that will surely mark much more to come from the talented artist. Click on the pictures below to find out more about the events including coping tickets.

 

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Slimzos Recordings.jpg

Slimzos Recordings Doing Bits

If you don’t know about Slimzos Recordings, they’re a grime record label that started during grime’s early days when grime (still without a name) was just garage’s new but darker sounding younger brother. The label is run by the iconic DJ Slimzee, a pioneer who co-founded Rinse FM and was one of the early trailblazers in the scene. Even to this day, Slimzee is still the guy when it comes to dubplate exclusives so as a producer, if he spins your stuff, know that it’s going to pop off. That same feeling existed back in the day, his sets on pirate radio the stuff of legend, his work with the likes of Rinse FM, Pay As You Go Cartel, Roll Deep and his contribution on Dizzee Rascal’s Boy In Da Corner album no doubt place him as a juggernaut in not just grime but UK underground music. Wiley may be the ‘Godfather’ when it comes to MCs but Slimzee is the ‘Godfather’ when it comes to DJs.

Unfortunately for Slimzee, he got slapped with an ASBO in 2005, meaning he was unable to place radio transmitters on top of tower blocks for pirate radio, in fact he wasn’t even allowed to go above the fifth floor of any building otherwise he’d go to jail. After that, Slimzee went quiet and left the underground music scene.

Fast forward to now and things are much different, Slimzee’s back in the game, back on Rinse and catching up on lost time. As for his label, that too hibernated when the label owner went into the shadows but this month, Trends, a DJ and producer who’s part of the Slimzos Recordings family dropped an EP on the label. ‘In The Jungle/Iron Fist’ isn’t the only activity in the label, a 4-part All Stars EP is due to drop soon featuring Stirling, Dallen, Garna and AS.IF KID. If that wasn’t enough, on the 22nd of March, the label is hosting an event called ‘Slimzos Sessions’. Slimzee is hosting the event along with the likes of Macabre Unit, J Cush, DJ Argue and more plus special guest MCs spitting bars too. The event’s taking place at The Nest in Dalston, North London from 9PM-2AM.

Slimzos Recordings. Back on the grid and looking to write new memories for a new chapter in a renewed genre.


AJ Tracey – Buster Cannon (Rapture 4D Bootleg)

There’s no doubt that when AJ Tracey released ‘Buster Cannon’ last year, the first track released off his ‘Lil Tracey’ EP that the track was just a little bit special. Canadian producer & MC Tre Mission naturally has to take a lot of credit for the single’s success seeing as he produced it, the production a perfect fit for AJ’s smooth yet striking flow.

The song definitely had a positive impact on Scottish producer Rapture 4D because he’s only gone and made a bootleg for it and made the already spacey sounding riddim sound even more out of this world. The Glasgewian already has a reputation for being a bit of a refix don and this latest instrumental from him hopefully means we’ll be seeing more work of this quality on his new Plasma Abuse label that he and fellow producer Polonis recently started. Rapture’s futuristic sounding bootleg is available for free download, check it out.


New Crown Jules EPs

You know them ones when you’re waiting for a bus to turn up and two of them show up at the same time, well anyone waiting for a “bus” to appear from Crown Jules can expect to see two of them coming together as the label has released two new EPs.

Firstly, you have the smooth ‘Ambience 2’ EP, a mellow five track collection that will make you want to put your slippers on and chill out to the ambient sounds of J Beatz as well as contributions from Juzlo and Limit. Secondly comes the ‘4 Way 3’ EP featuring a mixture of frenzied and calm riddims, a collaboration between Levlz, Limit & J Beatz, Sean D and Sware.

The EPs are out now, click on the artworks below.

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Freeza Chin’s Ghetto Gospel Mix

This year marks a landmark, it’s been ten years since Ghetts (or Ghetto as he was known before) released his second album ‘Ghetto Gospel’. To mark the occasion, Canadian DJ and Tizzy Gang representer Freeza Chin put together a special mix and premiered it on Radar Radio to mark the anniversary, the mix is packed the best of the best of Ghetts’ songs. If you’re a fan of Ghetts, I suggest you listen to this mix to either go down memory lane or embark on a musical Mecca and enlighten yourself with the sounds of one of the most influential spitters to come out of East London.


Breakage – Hard (feat. Newham Generals & David Rodigan (2009))

Ending GM6, we go down memory lane with this killer dubstep meets grime track from producer Breakage featuring the mighty Newham Generals as well as the voice of David Rodigan, a stalwart in the reggae and dancehall scene, Rodigan is certainly a man who knows his way around a dubplate clash. Footsie & D Double E have been hard from day, arguably there’s not a better pairing than those two when they’re going b2b, no surprise that they duppied this instrumental.

 

 

2016: The Rise Of The Instrumentals

2016 has been a great year for music in the grime scene. The quality of the work being made and released to the masses has been of a massively high standard. In particular, there have been plenty of outstanding instrumental releases.

But why have there been so many of them this year. What is it about an EP full of beats that have been making people go crazy, why have independent labels done so well this year and how important is the relationship between them and producers in order to create bodies of work that all parties can be proud of.

In order to answer these questions, I asked a number of people; DJs, producers, label owners and other liked-minded people to myself these same questions to see what responses I got. The best way to break the ice with all the guys I asked was to ask them which instrumental EPs were their favourites from this year. Inevitably with a question as broad as this, the responses I got were varied:

“Everything Filthy Gears has released has been quality, probably my fave producer right now so it has to be his Infinity EP from earlier in the year.” DeadStockGrime (@DeadStockGrimeT)

“Syer B – Mushrooms EP, Spooky & Boylan – Oil Gang 014, Sir Pixalot – War Time EP, Scope & J Beatz – Serato.” Argue (@dj_argue)

“This year has to be Trends – Pacman EP, Spooky feat. Trends – Discharge, Boylan & Trends – Norman Bates EP, Boxed 003.” Scope (@scope_em)

“There’s a couple this year that have been a madddddting. There’s been quite a few nang EPs this year but the ones that have ticked all boxes has to be D.O.K Grove EP & Chemist’s forthcoming Sublow Movement EP……D.O.K’s EP is just pure fury. The drum patterns he uses are mad, every tune on his EP is nuts.” Misundastood (@DJMisundastood_)

“Hard to say! So much music has come out this year, and so many incredible bodies of work. My highlights have to be Impey’s Little Havana EP on Astral Black, Sorrow’s EP on Shinigrim called Arisen, and Mala did an incredible album called Mirrors which is incredibly inspiring.” Zha (@Zhamusic)

“At the start of the year I was banging out Dullah Beatz – Ballys On. I had that going daily for a long while, a good way into the year, a good majority of anything from Oil Gang is bound to be proper! I like all the Spooky stuff from lately, a couple of the JT The Goon ones, that’s a go-to label for sure. Jammz’s Keep It Simple/The World was massive, absolutely huge. Boxed 002 has been my favourite release though, that’s an incredible release. If someone wants pure, dirty, unadulterated grime, they need that EP.” Frankos (@mfcfrankos)

This year, shout outs to the Astral Black Mobb – the FRASS FM 3 instrumental release is one I’ve went back to a lot – features a lot of the top talent in Scotland such as Dvsty, Bushido, Milktray and LVLZ brother Rapture 4D. Creep Woland’s “Observation” EP is another quality release. Other mentions this year for Polonis and his “M -Remixes” EP released on Classical Trax and again Rapture 4Ds “Mad Hing” EP – trying not to biased but can’t deny two quality releases from the weans getting a mention.” Gallus One (@GlasgowGrime)

“Jammz’s Keep It Simple / The World EP, Mischief’s Refix Champion, Gundam’s Waifu LP. Them three I copped so quick plus Filthy Gears’ The Filth Tapes Vol.1.” Mr. Krabs (@kraffulbrown)

Pretty much everything on Hardrive, Ghost House, Oil Gang & Mean Streets, they’ve had some mad releases this year. Grove EP was sick, Kaboom is one of my top 3 tunes of the year along with Terror Danjuh – Saturn and Norman Bates. Those 3 tunes have just kwenged off 2016!” Vybe1 (@Vybe1__)

Rapture 4D’s “Mad Hing”, Asa’s “Knight’s of Ren”, and JLSXND7R’s “Red State” EPs were all sick. “Ghosts in the Machine” by Boylan was another big one. Trends, Chemist RNS, Filthy Gears, and Swimful all dropped EPs I rated this year too. This question gets harder every year, I swear. Obviously a lot of people are waiting on Trends and Boylan’s “Norman Bates” EP as well.” Grime Disciple (@GrimeDisciple)

It’s clear from the EPs, producers and labels mentioned that the scene is as strong as it is ever been, the sheer scale of the output of music that has been released this year is actually pretty jaw-dropping when I think about it. There’s plenty of good music available but what makes an EP so entertaining to listen to:

“To me, it’s something that the producer or artist has taken a good amount of time to produce, something that they’ve literally put their heart and soul into because you can tell when it shines right through their work.” Rob (@MR_DRED_HIMSELF)

You can put your heart & soul into making a beat but it’s not as easy to do it again & again, how do producers maintain consistency:

“How the artist walks between consistency and variety is key. Some EPs sound kinda schizophrenic, like the producer just got lazy on a couple of tracks and put their energy into one “hit”. The best ones feel like you just got 4 amazing tunes at once.” Silverdrizzle (@silverdrizzle)

“I don’t think it’s hard if I give myself as an example. I make what I would like to hear and if other people like that as well then that’s a good thing for me as a producer.” JLSXND7RS (@JLSXN7RS)

“Nobody is consistent. Very rarely does a producer put out track after track that is incredible. Only the seasoned pros can do this, but for the rest of us, it is a case of making something you believe in and hoping it is original and different enough to be called unique.” Zha

 “Consistency is a funny subject…the key to it regarding grime riddims is the 140 bpm. Use that as a frame and get as creative as you can within that framework…on a regular basis. It’s not about songs, it’s about your catalog.” John Brown (@JohnBrownGRIME)

Consistency is an issue with no definitive way of achieving. Some producers just find a groove and stick with it while others who are more braver to experience with their sounds may take time to produce the sort of stuff that they think is good enough to listen to, it’s not easy to put out banger after banger.

As someone with a keen ear for new music in the scene, I know that if a producer can put out consistently good music, they’ll gain more popularity in places once thought as out-of-reach:

“I’ve had people from Canada, America, Eastern Europe and even Japan buying my music and also asking when I’m coming to do shows so I’m astounded my music has reached that far.” Filthy Gears (@FilthyGears)

One of the key questions I set out to answer was how important was the relationship is between independent labels and producers. I wanted to know just how strong the bond had to be between the two parties in order for their collaboration to be meaningful:

“It depends on the style of release people are going for. Personally I’m not interested in doing a one off release with an artist and never doing anything again. For releases like that you don’t need a relationship further than a shared interest in the genre of music you’re releasing.” KXVU (@CUB_KXVU)

“I feel that it’s something that often develops into a bond between both parties due to mutual respect for each others craft. One person is spending their time writing music on a computer in hope that it will see a release and the other puts their faith into an artist(s) and believes in their music enough that it is deserving of a release.” Neffa-T (@Neffa_T)

“It is important mainly for the fact labels are usually just a certain guy with money he’s willing to use to fund vinyl releases or events or promo for digital releases etc. Stuff that independent artists can’t always afford.” MistaKay (@MistaKayUK)

“From an outsiders point of view I can see exposure as the biggest positive of the relationship. Personally I feel like there are as many, if not more, unrecognised yet talented producers than there are MCs right now and that’s simply because the channels an MC can take to gain recognition are so much broader than the opportunities thrown to producers.” Nayf (@ItsNayf)

“It’s the most important thing. It’s about getting the balance right and having an understanding on both sides. The label will want to do their thing you want to do yours and if you can meet in the middle it can be wicked. I think that’s why artists stick with same labels as you build up a relationship and know what you can do together.” Policy (@policysound)

Going by what’s been said, the relationship between the two parties is indeed important, they need to be on the same wavelength in order for both parties to get what they need from each other. However as I learned, it’s not the only relationship to think about:

“Well there’s so many labels now and so many platforms to buy from that it’s not a major factor so much! I think producer-DJ relationships are more important to be honest. Spooky & his Ghost House label is a good example, he’s giving lesser known producers the chance but is able to do this from his knowledge of their music from DJ’n so knows what bangs rather than just following trends & other opinions. Oil Gang also been doing this for a while.” Bonez (@MR_B0N3Z)

“People are realising that you don’t need a big manager telling you what to make and then taking a cut from your talent. Also the internet has provided gateways for people to get themselves heard faster & by more people globally. Grime is a relatable genre, especially if you’re from a certain background/area.” JP (@jpmusicldn)

Grime is a genre with a huge underground element and as a result, it’s a very organic genre in the sense that people don’t rely on major labels or mainstream personnel to get the music out to the public. The rise in technology means now it’s even easier for artists to promote & share their work but something I’ve seen grow in 2016 is that now more people are going down the independent route, growing their own labels and creating a vision and an ethos that they truly believe in.

Independent labels are on the up and a by-product of that is the return to popularity of vinyl records but why is this happening:

“It’s got to a point where it’s music first again. It’s hard especially in this day and age to have an identity the way things move fast but I think labels are trusting in themselves more and most importantly enjoying doing what they do.” P Jam (@PJam100)

“I think since the internet and other things changed the music industry, the power is more so in the artists hands than it was before as for labels there are some really good ones out there I prefer the more niche stuff, always been a fan of underground music.” Sir Pixalot (@SIRPIXALOT_SW9)

“A lot of independent labels are putting so much work and time into making releases special for consumers whether its special artwork or hand numbering etc. I think the resurgence of vinyl has also played a part in how independent labels operate. Something that can go unnoticed is the risk of doing certain releases. A fair amount of money can go into releasing music but what’s great is that labels seem to be receiving enough support to continue releasing music which especially in early days is really important that also shows that people are supporting artists.” Neffa-T

“I think a lot of the time artists don’t realise how important cross pollination is in regards to building their fan base. Step one of that is making sure everybody involved is credited and tagged on social media platforms, it makes artists more likely to share it and then everybody benefits from that. It’s down to labels to explain this and introduce it to artists rather than get pissed off as that gets nobody involved anywhere but into pointless arguments about “why releases aren’t doing well”. Communication is the key.” KXVU

“I think there have been a lot of established producers/DJs that start their own labels and that in turn gets their fans to buy into it, then the new releases that they put out with the new producers gains and doubles the fanbase. Also services like Juno Download and Bandcamp are essential for grime instrumental EPs, it gets lost and pushed to the back on iTunes.” Benteki (@benteki_)

Thinking about it, it makes sense that the labels have done so well. If the people behind them are more willing to put out music on their terms and promote the artists that they want to give exposure to, it forms the basis of a relationship that can grow into something that hugely benefits both parties. For the fans, listening to all these different projects means they’re exposed to new labels and new producers and for some labels like Boxed & Butterz who are more business-like in their approach, touring across different places doing club nights can create a brand image that people can identify and believe in. What about the future? What potential paths lie in wait?

“Producers can go anywhere with grime…it has so many influences. Labels just have to keep doing what they’re doing and maybe even dig deeper…there’s so many producers out there that don’t get looked at.” Blitz (DJ_Blitz_3D)

“I see grime as the UK’s version of the US hip-hop. In terms of it’s not just a music genre, it’s our culture whether your from London or Glasgow. It’s the sound of the UK we grew up with jungle, garage, happy hardcore, rap. It’s got like sub-genres and different aspects to it now. Some grime nights you wont hear an MC – just sick instrumental grime.” Gallus One.

“2017 should be a interesting one for sure. Grime getting worldwide recognition is mad. Not just for the co-signs but grime’s growing over to other countries among MCs, producers, fans etc. – A good look most definitely.” Jay (@JustJayOfficial)

Instrumental music within grime has had a strong 2016. With so much potential in the scene, it’s not impossible to believe that the labels and producers can progress even more and give the DJs even more music ready to spin off the heads of any willing listeners. Right now, we’ve just gotta enjoy how well things are going, the competition’s that around will only allow for even more great music for 2017.

Rants.

 

Huey Newton

Controversial but to some, this is their reality. Wise words from Huey Newton.

22 In 22: 2 Years In The Blogosphere

Recently I hit another milestone which I am very proud to reach. The 12th of February this year marked my second year of blogging. My second anniversary feels great, I feel like from the my first anniversary to now, I’ve really started to grasp the essence of blogging, being able to make content for people to read, networking with fellow bloggers, seeing them grow and most importantly, learning from them because without them, there would be no point of blogging.

The two years seem to have flown by, when I first ventured into the blogosphere, I was still in university, trying to find a way away from my daily troubles and I have not looked back because it was a decision I made two years that for not one bit do I regret. At the same time, although I have good memories, I’m still looking to create more memories. I’m only two years into my time in the blogosphere and over the last few weeks, I’ve learned that the very best bloggers don’t get to where they are without putting years worth of dedication and consistency in growing their sites. I’m always looking to find ways to grow as a way of seeing how far I’m progressing. I have a bigger audience than I did last year, I follow many more people than I did last year and this year, I hope to grow more whilst also helping others to grow too.

I think that I have come far in the past two years. I won’t lie, they were hard, difficult years, taking me to dark places and making me question whether the path I was taking was really right for me or not. I’ve suffered, a lot at that, long did I mourn to be free of the restraints that were chaining me down, many times I worried whether I’d get to the other side, the fear of failure driving me on to finish what I started and now, here I am, graduated from university and in a better place. The depression I felt during my time in university was horrible but it’s something I look back without regret because through the depression, I worked hard enough to feel nothing but pride and elation finishing my degree and finishing what I started.

Two years down the line and I’m not anywhere near stopping yet. I have more things to write about, my mind always full of ideas and eager to get turn those ideas into something tangible, something creative, something to make me feel proud that I made that particular idea and turned it into something potentially beautiful to look at. Forwards and onwards I have to push myself to go to get to the heights which I crave to reach.

 

 

New Logos

Dr. R logo November 2015 one Dr. R logo November 2015 twoDr. R Circle November 2015 oneDr. R Circle November 2015 two

Got some new logos freshly done. Hope you like them because I have a feeling they’re going to stick around for a while.