22 In 22: The Canvas

A new year, a new canvas. The canvas of the year just past is completely saturated, there’s no more space for anything else to be crammed onto it, the surface area totally covered by an array of colours, tones, emotions, feelings and the blood, sweat & tears shed across the last year. Now it’s time to put the old canvas away and start afresh, now is the time to think of new ideas and dream of new adventures to scribble onto the new canvas which is as white as the clouds in the deep blue sky. The possibilities are endless as to what will end up on the canvas, a whole year to come up with splashes of brilliance to decorate the clean slate, all the misdemeanours from the past forgotten, all the hurt cast away, all the disappointment eradicated but then you suddenly think that those negative experiences weren’t as crushing as you thought, those experiences although hard made you a better person, they made you wiser and now with the knowledge of hindsight, you can right the wrongs and make this particular canvas a brighter one than the one that preceded it. One year to decorate the canvas. One year to complete a project full of ups & downs. Let the work begin.

Procrastination

The hardest thing about starting something new is actually starting it in the first place.

New Theme

As you might have noticed, I’ve decided to change the theme for my blog. I’ve had the Writr theme as my blog’s theme ever since I first started blogging here on WordPress. It’s definitely served me well but it was about time I freshen the blog up. I’m now using the Twenty Sixteen theme and so far, after tweaking a few things, I like it. I feel like I’ve moved house, putting all my belongings inside the new house from the old one. I’ll miss the Writr theme but I’m enjoying my new surroundings.

Shellerz 2015 (Part 2)

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.

Shellerz 2015 (Part 1)

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.