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.

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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 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.

 

 

Grimey Mondays #4

Another month, another round-up. Before I start, just want to say there’s no spotlight feature included in this write-up. The feature I’m doing in particular will come out on its own and it’ll be up on here soon. Anyways, here’s what made it into Grimey Mondays this time around.


Wot Do U Call It Documentary (2003)

Starting off with going into the archives and doing something a bit different. Grime’s been through a lot, something most people will agree with. Personalities within the game have changed and perceptions of them have evolved and altered with the genre over the years. With things as prosperous as they are now, it’s important not to forget about the roots, where this whole culture started from and in this 2003 short-documentary which aired on Channel 4, we see the scene at its rawest.

Flashes from the past appear here and while the trends and struggles back then may have been different, it’s clear that the unmistakable energy that holds the genre together now emanated back to ’03 times when the energy due to the sheer novelty of it was even greater. Back then, it felt like the streets told more candid and gritty stories, before gentrification hit London’s more run down areas. The songs from this era were angry, uncompromising, ferocious in their tenacity, they were less diluted and more likely to fling a jab towards your head than the songs now; in a era when social media was a myth and pirate radio transmissions had whole blocks keeping an ear out, the music that filled the streets then was a whole new experience, something no-one at the time could work out what it was. Hence the famous name for the documentary. If not for the roots, how would the trees come to being and bare fruit.

 


JLSXND7RS – S.N.M EP

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Hailing from The Netherlands, grime DJ & producer JLSXND7RS has released his newest EP called ‘S.N.M’ on the Lowriders label which is out now. The Dutchman who is a specialist at making the sort of dark, grimey sounds that make you question your sanity (go pree his SoundCloud if you think I’m joking) has given us an extra incentive to cop the EP in the shape of 12 inch gold vinyl that would brighten up the collection of any vinyl-head.

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The EP consists of four tracks, two of them featuring the vocals of Nico Lindsay while two of them are also remixed by producer Trends who puts his usual bass-laden, hellfire twist to it. JLSXND7Rs even had a special release party held in Rotterdam on the 19th November to celebrate the EP. The vinyl release can be purchased courtesy of White Peach Records while the digital release in available via Juno. Click on the links to go and listen to the tracks.


Blay – The Vision EP

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From one producer to another, ‘The Vision’ is the mammoth-sized instrumental project courtesy of Blay. With such an array of different tones and feelings among all 15 tracks that make up this EP on the Lit City Trax label, it’s a testament to Blay that he’s managed to put such an expansive and impressive EP together. ‘The Vision’ is an EP that combines experimentation aplenty throughout all the tracks used, I don’t think there’s a single track on here that lets the EP down. With Blay’s vision influenced from the sounds of grime, trap, rap, even old-school console games, the variety in the productions in this EP is clear to hear. The EP’s out now on iTunes & all good digital vendors.


DJ Argue In The Mix For RWD Magazine

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The featured mix this month comes in from Radar Radio‘s DJ Argue as he’s put together a dubs bonanza of a mix for RWD Magazine. The DJ also does an interview for them talking about his highlights from 2016 as talking about the parallels between DJing on radio and on sets. Click the image above to find the interview in full as well as Argue’s mix.


Leicester vs. Derby – Red Bull Studios’ Grime-A-Side Final

8 cities. 4 quarter-finals. 2 semi-finals. However, it all came down to the final clash though as Leicester and Derby, the last two cities still left in the tournament clashed in the live final of the Red Bull Studios’ Grime-A-Side. Check out the final below first to find out which of the two cities came out on top and then click on the link below the video to catch-up on the other clashes that have already taken place.

http://www.redbull.com/uk/en/music/stories/1331811531940/grime-a-side-watch-all-the-matches?wtk=YTRef


Massappeals X Snowy – Do’s/Dont’s

Nottingham MC Snowy aka Lord Skatsavelli’s been busy year. From dropping both the ‘Knots’ and ‘Durt’ EPs to featuring on Eyez’s ‘Mind The Gap Anthem’, Sticky Blood’s ‘Garn Again’ and featuring on freestyles for Risky Roadz and JDZmedia. Now Snowy teams up with producer Massappeals to make the song ‘Do’s/Dont’s’ which is accompanied by what has to be one of the most trippiest videos of the year. Prepare to have your minds blown watching it! The song features as part of Massappeals’ new EP called ‘Hater Behaviour‘, pree da ting!


Teddy Music – Get Like This Remix (feat. Mercston, Ears & Capo Lee)

Earlier this year, Teddy Music (or Silencer as some will know him as) brought plenty of aggression and hunger when he dropped ‘Get Like This’ featuring P Money. Well now he’s back again with a remix bringing attitude in abundance with help from a few MCs. With Mercston, Ears (with a rather dapper looking moustache I must say) and Capo Lee laying down bars alongside Teddy, he’s sounding like this ain’t gonna be the last this time you hear him spit bars, Silencer’s on job.


Kwam X Trends – Rally EP

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Tennis and grime aren’t exactly what you would call a conventional pairing but for MC Kwam who happens to be a tennis coach, he loves nothing more than to win the game, set & match, regardless of whether he’s on a tennis court on inside a studio spitting bars. With him consistently shelling down radio this year, it seemed inevitable an EP would soon come and it has. With the production skills of Trends for the EP, ‘Rally’ is the newest release on the Mean Streets label, expect plenty of tennis inspired bars as well as the thumping bass sounds that define Trends’ sound. The EP’s out on Juno now so go listen to it.


Greg & Ed – Feed Em Freedom

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Something a little different, not necessary grimey but this has a good vibe, the sort of vibe that makes you just wanna put on a pair of fluffy slippers, slouch on a sofa, roll up a spliff or two and just cotch in your yard. Astral Black are an independent record label, one of a few labels that have caught my eye this year. They also have a monthly slot on Radar Radio, host club nights in Glasgow and London and they’ve got an impressive roster of DJs and producers on board too.

This new release off the label features the beats and bars of the simply named Greg & Ed respectively, 4 tracks with vocal and non-vocal versions with elements of hip-hop, rap and grime about them. I have to say, a release as emotive and as abstract as this may not immediately hit you straight away but rinse it for a little while and you’ll learn to appreciate the artistry at work both in the vocals and the instrumentals. ‘Feed Em Freedom’ is available to buy on Bandcamp.


 

Oil Gang New Releases

What a strong finish to the year by Oil Gang and with Christmas not far now, filling up your stockings with their new releases wouldn’t be a bad idea.

First of all, this month saw the release of both the 013 and 014 imprints on the label. 013 is a two-part EP by legendary DJ and producer Spooky, a man who knows his way round a rave or two. ‘Fiesta’ & ‘Cherry’ are the perfect sort of beats to play at a club, reloads aplenty will be drawn for using them.

014‘s a more serious affair though, it’s an EP that sees the combination of Spooky with another legend in the game in the form of Boylan. ‘Low Rider’ & ‘All Black Winter’ are more likely to liff up heads than 013, heads will be sent flying like birds in the sky. Their savageness means you have to be cautious, listening to either of those beats in a moshpit while drinking a can of Red Stripe will make you go a bit mad, God forbid if you’re backing Magnums though, you’ll end giving someone a muay thai kick to face for the culture.

If that wasn’t enough, the much anticipated Trends & Boylan collaborative EP called ‘Norman Bates’, the 015 imprint on the Oil Gang label drops next month and it’s currently available for pre-order. All three releases have brightly coloured vinyls as well to add a bit of colour to the collections of you vinyl junkies in particular. These are the sort of the EPs you don’t want to miss out listening to.

Grimey Mondays #3

Wagwan peeps, Grimey Mondays is back again for another instalment. Here’s what made it into the third of my round-ups.


Sir Spyro – Topper Top feat. Teddy Bruckshot, Lady Chann & Killa P

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‘Topper Top’ is the electrifying new release, part of the ‘Topper Top’ EP from legendary grime producer Sir Spyro. The song has been a dubplate for well over a year but now it has dropped on the Deep Medi Musik label and to mark the occasion, ‘Topper Top’ has a music video that arguably is the best one to come out of this year. The vinyl copies of the EP were so popular that not did the original batch of vinyls sold out so quickly, Deep Medi Musik had to release a repressed batch of vinyls which duly sold out as well. Featuring the enigmatic “Teddy Bruckshot”, Lady Chann and Killa P, this song instantly draws reloads wherever played, it’s a certified percy.


Darkness – Question That feat. Rocks FOE

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London-based producer Darkness collaborates with fellow Londoner Rocks FOE to create an eerie yet almost enigmatic sounding track to mark Darkness’s new Quantum Sound label. ‘Question That’ has the sort of futuristic yet dark sounds that featured heavily on the ‘Eski Thug’ EP he released last year. Add in the fiery bars of Rocks FOE which make the hairs on the back on your neck stand up in anticipation that something poignant is going down and you have a track of epic proportions. The track came on the 20th October, ready to buy via iTunes. The combination of Darkness & Rocks on this track is one that definitely bangs.


Movement DVD Freestyle (2006)

For my archive pick, it’s a freestyle from the Movement DVD featuring Wiley, Skepta, Scorcher, Wretch 32 and Ghetto (Ghetts). It’s mad to see the progression the scene has undertaken over the years, back then, the guys that are considered OGs now were up & coming MCs, grinding to get their names out there in the hope of blowing up. Although those times are in the past, the memories still remain and with this particular video having over 1 million views, those memories are still affecting the present, memories etched into the fabric of grime’s origins, that same fabric is where the very few are able to find the roots of their legacies.


P Money – Panasonic

With his debut album ‘Live & Direct’ dropping on the 25th November this year, P Money teases us with a release off his album. With the productions powers of D33CO, ‘Panasonic’ sounds like a throwback to grime’s old era, back during the times where producers were experimenting with eskibeat, novel yet unknown, the producers back then pushing boundaries that hadn’t existed before. P Money has been consistent as ever this year so if the rest of his debut album can reach the same levels as ‘Panasonic’, it might just well be the cherry on the cake for P this year.

Tickets for his album launch party on the 1st December are on sale now so if you want to roll to the launch, be quick to book your tickets before they sell out.


Beat Boss 4 Podcast

If you saw my last edition, I spoke about the Beat Boss platform, the producer clash where some of the best producers in the scene at the moment go into war, ready to lick off heads armed with dubplates as hard as concrete. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the clash has happened now and below, whether you want to listen again or catch up on what the fuss is about, you can listen to podcast of the whole clash in its entirety. Ang tite to the 8 producers who took part, the judging panel, DJ Tiatsim for curating & putting the platform together and to everyone who supported the event which at one point was trending #1 across the whole of the UK on Twitter, yes that’s right, Beat Boss 4 trended higher than X Factor!


 

Ghstly XXVII – 3310

Everyone remembers the Nokia 3310 right? The indestructible mobile phone with a battery that never seemed to run out. Well it’s the title behind this Mistakay produced track by Ghstly. The song has been absolutely rinsed with multiple DJs across different radio stations regularly giving this song airtime. If you don’t like this, slap yourself, you’re mad for not respecting this vibe.


Jammz – Warrior EP

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Radio don Jammz drops ‘Warrior’, his second EP on his I Am Grime label on the 3rd November and to mark it, not only has he released the video for the lead single which features DJ Scott Garcia on the EP called ‘It’s A London Thing’, a song that in the words of the man himself “is about the paradox of living in London”, picking up on the pros and cons of living in the city, he also managed to get a billboard promoting the EP, big moves indeed. The EP is available for pre-order via iTunes & Bandcamp with vinyls also available for pre-order. After his first Keep It Simple/The World EP release earlier this year, expect bigger and better things from the East Londoner in the future.


Jamakabi – Hot It Up (Kahn & Neek Remix)

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Ahead of their Fabric 90 EP dropping on the 18th November, heavyweight producers Kahn & Neek give us their remix to ‘Hot It Up’ by grime scene stalwart Jamakabi (remember him off Pow Forward Riddim). Kahn & Neek know how to duppy raves so I expect Fabric 90 to be full of the sort of stuff that will make people want to kick each other in the chest in for no reason, look out for this when it drops.


 

Crafty – V_V EP

‘V_V’ is the debut EP from 3rd Degree member Crafty, an MC who shells down sets on a regular. Featuring vocal tracks and self-produced instrumentals, Crafty’s debut EP which is also a free download is hard, very hard in fact. Expect to hear more from Crafty as well as fellow members Blaydes, Ramzey and DJ Blitz, 893’s the vibe, don’t be slept on it.


Sir Hiss In The Mix For Italdred

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The mix this month comes from Bristol-based producer Sir Hiss. In this mix for Italdred, Sir Hiss laces it with a load of dubplates, a refix and bootleg frenzy of riddims. When I asked him why he had so many dubs in there, he said that he likes surprising people with tunes they wouldn’t hear unless he played them. Considering how vinyl records are coming back into fashion, Sir Hiss thinks it’s a good thing, saying it’s “good to go back to the roots of cutting dubs”. With the likes of Kahn & Neek, Slimzee, Spooky and Riz La Teef all championing the dubplate game, it seems inevitably that DJs have picked up on this and given how producers and labels have stepped up their games massively this year, fans and DJs alike are enjoying this dubplate based way of making music. Listen to the mix on Italdred’s SoundCloud page to find out about the tracklist for this mix.


Indecent – Indecent 002

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Featuring an array of mucky riddims, the Indecent label presents ‘Indecent 002’. According Indecent itself, ‘Indecent 002’ is a follow up to ‘The Indecent LP’, a project released last year celebrating a year of sharing music on their SoundCloud page. From there, after a good response to the LP, that’s how 002 came about. The label functions out of the love of the music and getting artists’ works out to the world, no hidden motives as all of the music they share is available for free download while showcasing the works of some the most talented up & coming producers across the country. With regular shows on Balamii Radio to boot, Indecent care about the artists they rep, wanting to see their talent receive the recognition they deserve.

According to Luke, the man behind the label, he’s already planning ahead as to the direction Indecent takes. “I want to do a limited run on vinyl in the future. There are a lot of sick ideas in the pipeline that may come to fruition soon. Merch, launch parties, collabs etc etc.”. He then tells me that Indecent has a huge show on Balamii coming up next month including a special guest performing under an alias he hasn’t used before, to him this person is “one of the best producers out there”. Interesting news indeed, as for the 002, the 10 track instrumental project features some of the best newcomers in the producer scene so get to know their names as I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from them in the future. Be sure to check out Indecent’s SoundCloud page as well to see the rest of the stuff that they’ve been championing.


Spotlight Feature – Interview With DJ Oblig

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Oblig is on RWD.FM every Thursday from 11pm-1am GMT.

Ending this Grimey Mondays post is the spotlight feature which this time around is my chinwag with New York-based DJ Oblig. Grime is growing and right now, the scene across the pond is slowly starting to embrace the genre. For Oblig, a guy who has a regular radio slot on RWD.FM, an American independently run radio station, his aim is simple, to push grime as far as he can among New York’s underground scene. Wanting to know more, I spoke to Oblig about how he’s got to where he is as well as some other interesting things:

“I love the genre and the culture so much, and I know America is ready for it as long as they’re taught about it in the right way so my mission is to make it happen.”

Me: How did you get into grime?

O: “I got into grime from early, I’m 25 now so it was 2004 when I first went to high school and you couldn’t avoid it at that point. Having tunes on your phone and getting viruses on limewire was the in ting at the time, so I’d hear it all over the place, back of the bus, school playground etc. Then my mum starting working for Sky so I got all the music channels and got addicted to Channel U, it was a wrap from there really, I’d bang it on as soon as I got home from school until my mum came back from work and turned it off.”

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Me: How long have you been DJing for?

O: “I haven’t been DJing very long at all, had been practicing here and there for a while but the first time I ever did a show was July 2015. I threw my own grime party in New York called Low Life, and the first party we threw was actually the first time I had performed in front of people, mad nervous but it worked out and here I am.”

Me: Which artists from any genre influenced you?

O: “I grew up listening to lots of different shit; my dad is born and raised New York so I grew up being put on to bare US hip hop. I used to bang Biggie, Nas & 50 Cent mostly. But I also used to like a lot of heavy rock, I used to go to live gigs all the time, artists like: Queens of the Stone Age, Slipknot & Muse. Then grime-wise it was all about Dizzee Rascal for me, such an iconic voice and flow, almost the definition of gritty London, I loved it.”

“The DJ was just playing trap and then he dropped Giggs – Whippin Excursion out of nowhere. I asked him how he knew about the tune and he goes “come on dude, it’s Giggs!””

Me: What is your favourite event you’ve done/taken part in?

O: “My favorite set is a hard one, I had a lot of fun in Washington D.C. with AJ Tracey. I had a grime MC from New York – Bobby Moses & an MC from Baltimore – MC Twisty there with us and they passed the mic between each other, it was sick to see the three styles mix together. But I also did a show at a venue called Elvis’ Guesthouse in Manhattan, and nobody was there for grime, it was just a packed bar really, but I had them all going mad for grime when I was expected no reception at all, that was amazing to see. Not forgetting the 1 year anniversary party I threw for Low Life, we flew out Sir Spyro and AJ Tracey for it, it was a shutdown, biggest crowds we’ve had to date.”

Me: How did you end up DJing in America?

O: “I was born in New York but grew up my whole life in London, so I’m lucky enough to have dual nationality. One day I just got bored of what I was doing and decided to come here. I started thinking about what I was gonna do while I was here and I felt pushing grime was something I couldn’t ignore. I love the genre and the culture so much, and I know America is ready for it as long as they’re taught about it in the right way so my mission is to make it happen. I’ve had people all over the country listening to my radio show as well as having the chance to perform in multiples States, it’s a good look right now.”

Me: How are Americans embracing grime as a whole?

O: “Americans are really embracing it at the moment, not completely of course, but before I felt there used to be a resistance, almost like they didn’t wanna know. But people like Skepta and Stormzy have almost forced it on them to a point where they don’t wanna be out of the loop with what’s going on. The ravers love it unquestionably but I’m trying to infiltrate the trap crowds at the moment, I think it’ll work perfectly with the amount of energy at those parties. I was at a shubz in the Bronx not long ago, and the DJ was just playing trap and then he dropped Giggs – Whippin Excursion out of nowhere. I asked him how he knew about the tune and he goes “come on dude, it’s Giggs!”, that’s how far we’ve come.”

 

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Me: When are you getting the sponsorship deal with Ribena? (If you didn’t know, Oblig is a massive Ribena aficionado, even RWD.FM acknowledge him as a “Ribena addict”).

O: “I don’t know g, I think about this on a daily basis. I’ve gone from drinking Ribena like everyday to never being able to drink it, it’s actually emosh. I miss Ribena more than I miss my friends, one day I’ll make it big time and they won’t be able to deny me.”

Me: Would you ever drink Vimto?

O: “Vimto is alright, it’s just a cheap man’s Ribena though lets be real and on the subject of juice, I’d like to give a special shout out to Rubicon Mango, I miss you habibi.”

Me: Seeing as you’re a Spurs fan, where do you think Tottenham will finish in the Premier League this season? 

O: “This season I’m going for a prediction of 3rd place, we’re stronger than we were last year but we’re still young and still learning, this is the year we finish above Arsenal though, you heard it here first.”

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Me: UK or US?

O: “I think the UK is better on the whole, but as an Englishman in the US I’m having a lot more fun here, but I’ll be returning for sure, I can’t stay away too long they don’t have Ribena here.”

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I hope for his sake, Oblig keeps his focus as he goes through his Ribena and Rubicon drought. It’s good to know that from New York at least, grime is leaving its mark among the undeground music scene there. Big ups to Oblig to speaking to me and supporting and pushing the movement in the US.

Grimey Mondays #1

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.

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https://thebugmusic.bandcamp.com/album/box-iceman

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.

 

Skepta – Autopsy

Bringing the flames this week with one of the first tracks that Skepta MC’d to. Already an esteemed DJ to North London’s Meridian Crew with members such as Prez T, Big H, Bossman Birdie and his brother JME, this is one of the earliest tracks of Skepta picking up the mic and spraying bars on a riddim that he himself produced. It’s safe to say that since then, Skepta hasn’t looked back and after the stellar year he had last year which included winning a MOBO, a successful tour in America and working with the likes of Drake and Kanye West, he’ll be looking to build on that with the release of his long awaited Konnichiwa album.