Tag Archives: grime

Review: D Double E – Bluku! Bluku! EP

D Double EBluku! Bluku! EP (2011) [Dirtee Stank] // Grade: B

D Double E has been in the grime game for over a decade, first as part of the N.A.S.T.Y. Crew and then with the Newham Generals. The man behind last year’s nostalgic “Street Fighter Riddim” returns with his first solo EP, Bluku! Bluku! Released on Dizzee Rascal’s vanity label Dirtee Stank, the EP finds D Double E making his mark, mostly on the strength of its title track.

“Bluku! Bluku!” is everything that’s right about the grime resurgence, matching upstart producer S-X with two MCs vicious enough to take one his lethal beats for a ride. D Double’s rallying cry “bluku bluku” is an anthem onto itself. A revitalized Dizzee Rascal, with his first true grime bars in years, returns from the electro-rap wilderness and can’t help but stealing the spotlight (from one of his idols, no less).

D Double E has the irreverence of a battle-ready freestyler and a distinct, nearly nasal voice. His couplets are simultaneously (and paradoxically) carefully articulated and chewed and spit out. Yet the remainder of the EP has trouble matching the infectious nature of the title track.

D Double’s grime swagger dominates the lyrics. On “Lyrical Farda,” he challenges the listener to “name an MC that spit harder;” on “Put Your Money On It” he’s a “lyrical heavyweight like an elephant.” The latter pumps out some critical sub-bass waves, but lacks a hook. The same problem plagues “Let It Blow,” nearly wasting its death rattle synths.

“Be Like Me” dips its toe in the crossover pool, without sacrificing its grimey urgency. Fueled by a sparse dubstep click track, the song features Dirtee Stank prodigy Smurfie Syco on the auto-tuned hook. The lush, throwback jungle of the Toddla T-produced “Flava” is a surprisingly good pairing for a D Double lust song, but it’s not as surprising as the brutal D-n-B breakdown where lust gets a little rapey (“wanna cock back and pull my trigger / get straight up in her liver”).

The EP closes with the pure dubstep of the run-from-the-cops “Catch Me If You Can,” a track that proves D Double E can slow down and tell stories, too. As the final “catch me if you can” rings out, it’s evident that it’s not just a chorus – it’s a challenge to every grime MC in the UK.

Buy D Double E’s Bluku! Bluku! EP Over at iTunes Now!

Originally posted on the Mishka Bloglin.

Mishka Presents Keep Watch Vol. XXVIII: Spooky

Grime is riot music. But as England burns, reactionaries who try to blame music for the violence have the cause and effect backwards. Grime is vicious because youth life in poor boroughs is vicious, not the other way around. That’s why grime has an energy and urgency like nothing else.

Fittingly, the latest entry in the Keep Watch series is Mishka’s first grime mix. Curated by East London producer Spooky, the mix is an unrelenting mix that captures the spirit of the resurgent sound. Spooky (not to be confused with the house duo or trip hop DJ of the same name) started DJing at 13, breaking out in 2006 when his bashment riddim “Joyride” became a surprise grime hit.

Since then, he’s produced and remixed tunes for a grime who’s-who that includes Slew Dem, OG’s, Skepta, Kele Le Roc, Family Tree, Teddy, Rude Kid, Infared, Brick & Lace and Mark Morrison. In addition to playing gigs all over London, he holds down three weekly radio shows and runs his Ghost House label. In 2010, Spooky scored another grime hit, the “300”-quoting “Spartan,” a banger reminiscent of those by Alias and J-Sweet. He’s also released tracks on the label that’s spearheading the grime renaissance, Oil Gang Records.

For his Keep Watch mix, Spooky lives up to his name, kicking off with a refix of Faze Miyake’s “Take Off” and never looking back. For nearly an hour, Spooky drops sawtooth bass, rumbling beats and verses from grime heavyeights P-Money, Blacks, Tempa T and D Double E with a turntablist’s touch. In the UK, grime is the soundtrack this week. And when the riots end, Spooky will keep starting fires.

Originally posted on the Mishka Bloglin.

S-X drops Swagged Out Grime on the "5000 Followers EP"

Love him or hate him, Lex Luger is running the hip-hop beat game right now. Sure, his Fruity Loops tend towards the repetitive, but you can’t argue with facts: “Hard in da Paint,” “B.M.F.” “H.A.M.” and “Grove St. Party” have dominated hip-hop playlists for a reason – and the dude’s only 20!

Looking for the next Lex Luger? Cast your eyes to the UK, where rising grime producer S-X has been the man behind some of the most hyped tracks in recent memory. His “Woooo Riddim,” “Bricks,” and “100 Bags” instrumentals have backed grime freestyles from heavyweights Blacks, P-Money, and Dot Rotten, among others. And while he might not have Luger’s chart positions, the young Sam Gumbley literally just turned 19.

To commemorate his 5,000 Twitter follower (as he did at the 3,000 mark), S-X dropped the 5000 Followers EP for free. Over nine tracks, S-X presents trunk rattlers that owe as much to Girl Unit as they do to Luger. While the tracks are formulaic – S-X combines orchestral strings, rat-a-tat hi-hats and a deep low-end every time – they’re never boring. His synth lines go from trancey and melodic on “Mask” to towering and brutal on “G Shock.”

Along with revised versions of “Bricks” and “100 Bags,” S-X also includes mellow grooves with “Ambience,” “Expensive Talk” and “Guidance.” The best bet for grime freestyles, however, is the very vogue “Swag Bitch Swag.” With beats like these, S-X better ready a 50,000 Followers EP.

Review: Mz. Bratt – Elements

Mz. BrattElements (2011) [Self-Released] // Grade: B

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.

Download Mz. Bratt’s Elements For Free (Click Here)

Originally posted on the Mishka Bloglin.

Faze Miyake Brings the Dogs to the Trap (via Mishka)

The DJ drop is nothing new, a Pavlovian bell that lets you know who’s behind the boards. These little signals serve as trademarks on a producer’s work: Lex Luger’s metallic drummer boy synth, or Terror Danjah’s gremlin laugh. But rising grime producer Faze Miyake is taking this type of branding to another level, lacing his tracks with a steady stream of barking dogs. Not since DMX have I seen someone so obsessed with canines, but Faze’s Take Off EP (on the appropriately-named Woofer Music) makes it work.

Take Off does just that with a pair of beats that wouldn’t be out of place in the trap house. As of late, the title track has been the instrumental of choice for grime spitters; Boy Better Know laid it down viciously on Rinse. Its raucous horn melody and boom-bap rhythm make this a perfect track for war. “Bawse” continues in the same vein, adding machine gun hi-hats and dramatic sweeps to a slab of trap hop (Frisco and Skepta got their boss on over this one).

Faze hasn’t forgotten about the club, either, dropping a few tracks with their fair share of rave influences. “Jump” rides break beats and scratches; “Blackberry” wobbles with diva-ish cooing. Before closing the EP with a dubstep remix of “Bawse,” Faze includes the unrelenting “Screwdriver V.I.P.” And the barking continues.

In grime, the symbiosis between beatmakers and MCs is self-evident: the grimiest beat still needs some verbal venom on top of it, and vice versa. Take Off is incomplete in that sense, but it’s clear that Faze Miyake is a producer to keep an eye on. These tracks don’t just bark – they bite hard.

Originally posted on the Mishka Bloglin.

Review: P Money & Blacks – Blacks and P (via Mishka)

P Money & BlacksBlacks & P (2011) [Self-Released] // Grade: B+

In American hip-hop, “OG” signifies “original gangster:” an old head who has roots and credibility in the rap game, the streets, or both. The same is true in UK grime (UKG), but in that country’s underground scene it has a dual meaning. “OG” is also Organised Grime, a rising South London crew who embody the same ideals of US OGs. Headlining Organised Grime are MCs P Money (who appeared on Starkey’s street bass masterpiece Ear Drums and Black Holes) and Blacks, a duo who recently released the Blacks and P mixtape.

From the first pulses of the Darq E Freaker produced title track, it’s evident that this is pure grime: symbiosis between unforgiving dubstep beats and hyped-up MCs who spit more than they flow. The tape’s behind-the-boards talent is as impressive as its vocalists; producers like Royal-T and Teddy Music are grime heavyweights. For fans of heavy, aggressive dubstep – with its sinister melodies, midrange wobble and all that bass – Blacks and P is over an hour of fire-starting battle tracks.

Along with original compositions, the duo refreshes some major, classic tunes (it is a mixtape, after all). Blacks freestyles over Nero’s luvstepper “This Way,” saving his ammo for the wobble-heavy verses and letting the female vocals breathe. “Saxon” by Chase and Status is the perfect soundscape for Blacks and P-Money to go hard over, as they do on “Timid.” For grime OGs in the audience, they even remix the recent update of Lethal Bizzle’s anthem “Pow” (a song so brutal and violence-inciting that it was infamously banned in several UK clubs).

A highlight of the mixtape arrives relatively early on in the form of “Effing OG.” The theatrical Lex Luger-meets-Girl Unit trunk rattler is an edit of 18-year old producer S-X’s “Bricks.” The chorus is more mission statement than hook (I stepped in like “Who runs this town?” / We can do this thing like it’s a Western shoot out / They’re looking at my face like “who the hell is he?” / Do your research, I’m a fucking OG), and the song features one of P-Money’s wittiest punchlines: “these rugrats are worse than Angelica.”

The question of grime’s mainstream appeal has been a source of contention since Dizzee Rascal’s 2003 breakout. But while an artist like Tinie Tempah partners with Kelly Rowland and Ellie Goulding for a top ten record, P Money and Blacks stay true to UKG’s namesake griminess rather than attempting a crossover. These OGs wouldn’t have it any other way.

Buy P Money & Black’s Blacks and P Over at iTunes Now!

Originally posted on the Mishka Bloglin.

Future Grooves: Terror Danjah

Dubstep is a fascinating ouroboros, constantly re-creating itself in the image of its forebears. One of those ancestors is grime, the similarly bass-heavy, dancehall and hip-hop influenced genre that was sound of the streets of early 2000s London. While Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Lady Sovereign and the Streets became familiar names in and out of the scene, producer Terror Danjah has forged a path from grime into dubstep.

Stateside, a Terror Danjah production is literally the first grime track we heard. Kicking off the seminal Run the Road compilation, “Cock Back” – in true grime style – is a handgun-sampling banger with West Indian flavored rhyming over a shuffling, two-step beat.

Since then, Danjah has stayed busy, with an ever-evolving sound that is now firmly in the dubstep camp. He has released material on Hyperdub, Butterz and Planet Mu, including last week’s double EP Power Grid. Power Grid is a striking achievement, mixing Danjah’s grime roots with funky, minimal and future bass to create orchestral dubstep. Imagine Joker’s purple dubstep with Hudson Mohawke’s sprawling aquacrunk: music that moves and attacks with both force and precision.

Power Grid is instrumental, but like Danjah’s grime tracks, there is a great opportunity for rappers to utilize these beats. Dot Rotten did just that over album closer “Ride 4 Me,” using the pulsing banger for grimey rapping and an R & B hook.

Similarly, Danjah’s remix of Rox’s “My Baby Left Me” is a bubbling cross-over ballad. Leaving the Ronson-esque melody intact, he adds a gurgle of bass during the verses that goes to full jump-up mode during the chorus. It’s getting play on BBC Radio 1, and for good reason.

Before there was dubstep there was grime, and if it’s up to Terror Danjah, there will be grime after dubstep.