After his interview on Not For The Radio, I decided to go into the Godfather Of Grime’s archives again and found this. This is about as old school as you can get, in fact, this is an example of a sub-genre of grime Wiley pioneered called eskibeat. Speaking his mind has never been a problem for Wiley and as divisive and controversial as he has been in his career, with tracks like Ice Rink and Bow E3, he’s a pioneer in underground music.
Ashley Thomas, better know as Bashy is behind this week’s track for Grimey Mondays, a track that lyrically cuts deep and is the sort of track that makes all the black boys and black men listening to it proud to be black. This was the track that gave Bashy momentum in his career, before making Black Boys, he had worked as a postman and as a bus driver while later on Bashy, he turned his hand to acting. Black Boys was somewhat controversial as some idiots (I mean people) thought it was racist with more idiots (I mean racists) shouting abuse at black people because of the song. However, Bashy received universal support from the general public, people of all races got behing him and track. Long story short, racism should never been tolerated for any reason at all.
The final part of Shellerz.
Bonkaz – We Run The Block
If there’s one tune that Bonkaz owes to his rise this year, this is undoubtedly the one. It’s a big tune with the video production on point too. This tune was so big, it’s even got its own set of remixes and recently, Bonkaz collaborated with drum & bass dons, Chase & Status for their London Bars series with the song “Wha Gwarn?”
CASISDEAD – What’s My Name (Remix) (feat. Giggs)
One of grime most enigmatic and mysterious characters, CAS is grime’s answer to The Stig. No-one really knows much about the guy behind the mask, very few people actually know what he looks like. There’s no doubt that CAS’s unique wordplay and punchlines make an impact and with the additional food for thought coming from Giggs, What’s My Name is the perfect irony to the man with the mask, just who is he!
Lil Nasty – Hear That A Lot (feat. Grim Sickers, Mez, So Large & Roachee)
Nasty Crew representative Lil Nasty with this banger, a sick beat accompanied by a bunch of other MCs all spraying like rifles in automatic mode. This is a track that’s in top gear from the first second until the last with the hype levels high throughout. A wavey beat requires wavey energy and wavey energy makes wavey flows and wavey flows produce wavey vibes and when there’s wavey vibes, the repeat button gets a workout.
Ghetts X Rude Kid – One Take
Coming from their 653 EP, Ghetts & Rude Kid joined forces here to make a track as impressive as the whole EP itself, 653 (six tracks, five days, three videos) might have been put together quickly but the quality in it can’t be denied. Ghetts is a veteran in grime, a MC who’s evolved over the years and Rude Kid is one of the top producers in grime, making bangers for fun, he’s that good & judging from their EP launch event in the video, a lot of people respect their levels.
Safone – She Wants A Man From Brum (feat. Trilla, Pressure0121 & Bomma B)
As the song implies, She Wants A Man From Brum. To the ladies, men from Birmingham are trendy and you’d be silly if you didn’t try to bag yourself one. Definitely one of the biggest tunes to come out of Birmingham this year so the mandem from Stay Fresh have repped the city fully. Next year, where will the ladies want the men to be from……
Rocks FOE – Hold That (L)
Another one of the new guys from 2015, someone not in the slightest nervous when it comes to picking up a mic. His Legion EP is a madness, Rocks has levels and I’m sure those levels will get higher next year. Not only does he spit bars on his EP, he produced all the tracks on there too, he’s talented alright.
Nasty Jack X Grim Sickers – Jack Sickers 2
Gundam on production with a remix of Sir Spyro’s Mizuno beat used for Side-By-Side, the beat sets the levels and Jack & Sickers don’t dissapoint, no punches were pulled at any part during this song. This is song has punch to it, it’s in your face, it’s aggresive but that’s only because Jack & Sickers are releasing the maddest energies like radiation.
Solo 45 – Feed Them To The Lions
Be careful when you talk to Solo 45, say the wrong thing and he’ll give you a Muay Thai Kick To Face and then he’ll feed you to the lions. Boy Better Know’s resident hype man, Solo 45 is responsible for turning moshpits at events into a frenzy where anything goes, if you were to drop-kick someone next to you, no-one would be bothered, not even the poor person you drop-kicked. This is a club favourite and with a hook as simple as this, everyone in the club can get involved.
Jammer – Royal Rumble (feat. Hitman Hyper, D Double E, Lethal Bizzle, Bruza, Royal, 2 Face, Jendor, Footsie, Shorty, Discarda, Blacks & Ears)
Another Boy Better Know member and founder of Lord Of The Mics, Jammer brings together a posse of guys from grime’s old school to create a Royal Rumble. One of the key elements of grime’s rise has been Lord Of The Mics, it’s birthed many a MC who’s gone on to achieve better things for themselves in their careers. To have this many artists all on one track is impressive, to get them all to go in with some of their classic bars is legendary.
Stormzy – Shut Up
Closing out the Shellerz playlist is the guy who’s made the biggest strides out of all the new faces who emerged this year. This has been an unforgettable year for the Croydon local and Adidas’s unoffical sales representative, Stormzy’s success at the MOBOs this year as well as a sell-out tour and managing to get Shut Up inside the UK’s top 10 during the Christmas period. For grime, this is not big, this is massive and to have a guy from grime to have such standout mainstream success is positive for the scene.
So there we go, 30 tracks, 3 parts, one year, a great one at that. 2016 has a lot to live up to.
Here’s part two of Shellerz.
Sir Spyro – Side By Side (feat. Big H, Bossman Birdie & Prez T)
As I always say, producers in grime are the real MVPs because without them, the scene wouldn’t be banging as it is now. Sir Spyro is one of the top dons in the world of producing for grime and on his Mizuno beat, Bloodline representatives Big H, Bossman Birdie & Prez T do their thing while the video for this song for me is my favourite of 2015.
Skepta – Shutdown
Arguably grime’s official spokesman for 2015, Skepta has set the scene alight this year and it’s what he’s being doing in front of the mic that has made the biggest impact this year, it’s what he’s done away from the mic. Networking with the likes of Drake, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West this year, Skepta has made big strides in his career. Shutdown played a huge part in his success this year, it really sums up the vibe grime’s coming of age has had this year.
Novelist – Endz
From one of the main men in the present to someone who I think will be a main man for the future. Novelist is definitely one to look at next year, someone who really respects the old era of grime and trying to implement it for the present generation. Endz definitely has that old school feel to it, even the video looks old school, back in the days of the VCR, Sky+ didn’t exist back then.
I couldn’t put a playlist about grime together without The Godfather. His status as a grime don enhanced this year after receiving a Paving The Way award from the MOBOs and getting a plaque dedicated to him outside of his secondary school. As for his #8 EP, it shows Wiley still has gas in the tank, while the younger MCs having been making waves, he’s made sure he hasn’t gone underneath them. Wiley is wicked MC, perhaps the wickedest of them all.
Newham Generals – Frontline (feat. Monkstar)
The best duo in the grime, hands down, Newham Generals rep Newham and rep it well. D Double E & Footsie back to back on a set is about as wavey as the way Jamie Vardy & Riyad Mahrez have been playing for Leicester City this season. With former General, Monkstar on board, the Generals touch up a classic, their original Frontline track from 2006. This 2015 edition ain’t too shabby.
Mic Ty – Knewham
Another East Londoner, the influence from there is strong in grime, always has, always will. Mic Ty is part of the new wave of MCs coming through. With Plastician on the buttons, Knewham shows that Mic Ty (Ty, not Tyrone) is about this life. Lock up your wives!
Big Zuu – Trying
From East London to West London now, another talented MC that made noise this year. Everyone loves a trier & Big Zuu’s been putting in the work, his joint project with Mic Ty (Mic Ty x Big Zuu) was when I really started to pay attention him. On set, Zuu might be young in years but sounds like a he’s been barring for years.
Jammz – Warrior
A lyrical skeng, a master of barring, no hooks, no breaks, just bar upon bar upon bar, all those things are stuff associated with Jammz. This guys spits crud on a regular, nothing but the purest fire comes out of this guy’s mouth. Jammz is levels alright and next year, I see him reaching even higher levels, the levels of a Warrior & just like Novelist, not only can he MC, he can make wavey beats too, a double threat.
Capo Lee – Liff
Capo Lee is another one of the mandem making waves. It feels like I’m saying the same stuff over and over again but if these guys are this good now, imagine what they’ll be like next year. For Capo, Liff is the tune that has put him in the spotlight, with Mystry (responsible for Pulse 8, the instrument that got grime popping in 2015) on production, Liff is merky and flow-wise, Capo has that nailed down. The future’s bright in grime.
Going to Birmingham now, Dapz On The Map responsible for this. Not exactly family friendly when the hook on this involves Dapz’s daughter singing Murdah but I can’t lie, that don’t matter in the slightest, content-wise, Dapz is on point as well as On The Map. It’s easy to forget that grime isn’t just a London thing, it’s a UK thing, part of the urban culture that’s growing, gaining acceptance but importantly, allowing artists to express themselves towards an ever expanding audience.
Keep your eyes peeled for part three, the final part of Shellerz.
So 2015 is almost over but what a year it has been and for grime, this has been a year full of positives. 2015 has been a year where the MCs have raised the bar for work-rate and setting the levels at raves, sets or on mixtapes. With the sheer number of MCs that have come through this year, the impact that they have all collectively made to the genre has been nothing short of unbelievable.
So to celebrate grime’s coming of age this year, I’ve put together Shellerz, a playlist full of my favourite MCs from this year dropping shells all over the place in their tracks. Expect to hear from both the experienced OGs in the game and the hunger of the new school who all did their part to make 2015 such a great year for grime.
If it wasn’t for the new faces coming through this year, this year might have been very, very different. A lot of the tracks that I picked are by guys who have had breakthroughs this year and these are the same guys who I expect to really kick on in 2016.
The playlist wasn’t easy to put together considering all the great tracks made this year. In the end, I’ve decided that putting all the selected tracks in one post would be too much, there would be too many shells fired and with the amount of lyrical skeng that would flying about, I don’t wanna be responsible for someone passing out because the vibes were too strong from them to handle.
So for now, here’s the first instalment of my playlist.
Kano – Garage Skank
I had to start this playlist off with an OG, Kano’s being killing it for over a decade and I’m not gonna lie, when I heard this for the first time, true to the name of the song, I skanked a little bit vibzing to it. Like I said, there are fans of grime all over the world and as you can see from the video, Kano had a large amount of help with it from people from well, all over the world. With Zeph Ellis on production, Garage Skank is definitely go-to song to get you out of bed, ready for the day or at night, get you in the zone for a night out.
Frisco – Fire Hydrant
Another OG and for me, one of the most underrated artists in the scene. While Skepta & JME gather the most attention from Boy Better Know, Frisco’s been quietly going about his business this year and on this classic instrumental produced by Wiley (who’s also a BBK member by the way), Frisco delivers the lyrical fire that makes him dangerous to underestimate.
The Heavytrackerz – TRKRZ (featuring Newham Generals, P Money, Stormzy, Big Narstie, Flirta D, Youngs Teflon & Desperado)
A bag of guys on this track but when The Heavytrackerz are on production, I know the song’s gonna be good, very good in fact. The flow between one MC to another is effortless and when one guy is going in, the others follow suit. The video for this isn’t too shabby either.
AJ Tracey – Spirit Bomb
For West London’s AJ Tracey, with his new Alex Moran EP out and a string of sets on pirate radio this year, this guy is the real deal, a certified showerman on the mic. For me, it’s good to see the future of grime is in safe hands. Spirit Bomb is three and a half minutes of pepper!
Izzie Gibbs – Swear Down
Another guy who’s the real deal, Izzie Gibbs sprays lyrical skeng. Signing onto the Dice Recordings label this year, the same label as Big Narstie (the guy next to Izzie wearing the bucket hat in the video), Izzie has certainly repped Northampton this year. Izzie’s all about high energy and high tempo and I can Swear Down, this one will have vibzing whatever time it is in the day or night.
Merky Ace – El P
If I could rate this track by the gas marks you see on an oven, I’d rate this at gas mark 9……thousand! Merky Ace is seriously underrated and you’d be foolish to underestimate him. Part of the Family Tree collective from London, Merky sprays bars of fire on a full-time basis. Here he’s not holding anything back, an in-your-face tune that riles up the inner roadman in any person.
Mez – Old School
Hailing from Nottingham, Mez might only be 18 but he’s got a big future ahead of him. Winner of Radio 1Xtra’s Next In Grime competition hosted by DJ Cameo earlier this year, Mez already has the flow of someone years ahead of him. Another one of the guys to look to in terms of high energy, high tempo grime, at times I’ve wondered how many cans of Red Bull this guy has taken before doing sets, he’s that hyper!
Dirty Danger – Badman (feat. Frisco, Roachee & D Double E)
This is a BMT, a big man ting of a tune. The beat is on point, the video is on point, the bars are on point, the old school dons on here know how to make a banger or two and this definitely classes as a banger. Elements of Ruff Sqwad, Boy Better Know, Roll Deep and The Newham Generals coming together to make one sick track.
Blacks – Study The Game (feat. P Money, Kozzie & Jammz)
To Study The Game takes skill and doing that means being able to handle a mic properly and shutting it down on a regular basis. For Blacks, the studying paid off and the same can be said for P Money, Kozzie & Jammz. See kids, Study The Game a bit harder and you’ll make it to the top one day.
Big Narstie X Show N Prove – Hello Hi
A wavey combination of the Brixton base farda and the catchy vibes of the Edinburgh producer on the buttons, Big Narstie & Show N Prove came together to make this tune. For the Base Defence League President, 2015 has treated Narstie well, performing at Glastonbury for the first time in his career and even managed to make a second career for himself as a part-time zookeeper the events he’s been at. All I can say is be prepared to take a few blows if you’re in a moshpit when he’s on the mic.
Look out for part two dropping soon.