Mz. Bratt first appeared on the grime radar in 2006, appearing on Mary Anne-Hobbs’ essential Warrior Dubz compilation. On Terror Danjah’s “Give It To ‘Em,” the then-15 year old established herself as a grime spitter with skills beyond her years. With a smattering of material since then, listeners have awaited a more complete release from Mz. Bratt. With the Elements mixtape, fans are even closer to seeing what Bratt has to offer.
Mixed by DJ Kayper, another female performer making waves in a male-dominated scene, Mz. Bratt offers her grimey but precise flow over beats from some of the best in the business. A member of of Wiley’s A-List Music crew, Mz. Bratt kicks off the tape with an intro from Wiley himself, who spits a bit over Lethal Bizzle’s grime anthem “Pow 2011.”
The tape starts off strong with Bratt’s single “Selecta” a Redlight-produced piece of dubstep meets bashment; Bratt’s swagger rides the breakbeat-driven track right into the Hi NRG grime of “Sidechain,” which reunites her with Terror Danjah and Wiley. Next up is a track that should be familiar to dubstep fans: first it was DJ Zinc’s “Nexx,” then it was Ms. Dynamite’s “Wile Out,” and now it’s Mz. Bratt’s “No Way Out.” “No Way Out” demonstrates Bratt’s singing talent, before it is perfectly mixed into Flux Pavilion’s massive wobbler “I Can’t Stop.”
After that non-stop start, Bratt slows it down with “Sleeping with My Memories,” a luvstep jam that features frequent grime-collaborator Ed Sheeran; Bratt is at her best with this type of evocative storytelling. The respite from bangers is a brief one: Bratt takes on Travis Porter’s “Make It Rain” with some ratatat rap.
Here’s where the tape loses focus. “Killin Em” and “Get Dark” sound like Swizz Beatz and Neptunes tracks, respectively. Bratt’s rapping is still on target, but forgoing her UK roots doesn’t do her any favors. For her pop crossover to land, it will have to be on songs like “Speeding,” which features Dot Rotten behind the boards and on the hook. The beat rolls with the energy of dancehall, before fading into a Bratt freestyle over Tinie Tempah’s crossover hit “Wonderman.”
The next generation of grime belongs to artists like Mz. Bratt: performers who do grime and pop, old and new with equal skill. Don’t sleep.