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.
P Money & Blacks – Blacks & 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.