Dukus – Going Nowhere

Following up from his previous project Alpha, Dukus continues to blend the flavours, dropping his new track, letting you know he isn’t Going Nowhere..

An incredibly talented producer, Dukus has supplied the vibes for top tracks within the country, and in the past couple years looked to establish himself as an artist in his own right. After the moderate success, both in front and especially behind the boards, he has been steadily working away, and since releases Going Nowhere, an inspiring, mid-tempo statement of a track, combining his abilities as a producer and vocalist, asserting not only his mindset but intentions as he looks to continue the hard work and further develop as a staple in music today.

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RIP Stormin

Not the news I wanted to wake up to, but found out that Stormin had passed away.

For some time now he had been battling with Cancer, through his own social media he had expressed his pain, suffering and determination to defeat it, and at times it would seem like he was on the path to recovery and then there would be another setback, however he remained strong in the face of adversity. Today, we learn that he is at peace though no longer with us.

I have only met him in passing, but well aware that he is a pioneer, not just for our scene, but for British music in general. I remember a recent facebook post where his pain was evident, the sadness in his voice was clear, and it got to me. It was difficult to see, let alone experience, and like so many, prayed for his health, but whilst it was tough to witness, his constant fight was nothing short of inspirational. I think even this post is less about his past but more so to honour the soldier and legend that he is.

As I continue to pray for his soul, my condolences to his family and friends, though no words of mine can make a difference, may they further be a testament of not only his importance to us but his influence.

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Calley – No Days Off ft. Young Spray & Shef

Calley, better known as Calibars, has always been praised for his lyricism, however at a time where there was not much light shone on Rap, his style and music struggled to fully connect with audiences. Sometimes, the artist might just be too good with the words and it goes over people’s heads, which was the case a lot of times with him. So now in a new space and a new name, Calley looks to realign himself with the best, and he’s taking no days off..

No Days Off is the motive, regardless of the hustle, the grind doesn’t stop, and after his return with last month’s Doner Rap, Calley’s new track is sentiment to just that (featuring Mr RTM himself..Young Spray and up and comer Shef), as he looks to keep his foot on the pedal. While Doner Rap was straight bars to digest, No Days Off is more of a structured track, with it’s melodic hook and choice of features. Calley himself is rapping with that signature flow that we’ve come to appreciate from him, and though Doner Rap might have been more captivating, this flow blends well with the distinct tone of Young Spray, who matches Calley with a strong verse, as both ‘certi’ rappers further complimented with newcomer Shef, who really holds the track together with his catchy chorus.

Definitely pleased to hear more from Calibars Calley, and if Trap rap sandwiched in metaphors and punchlines is your thing then definitely stay tuned to one of London’s most underrated.

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Young Spray – Nowadays

After the real returned with his Invisible Tears album, Young Spray is definitely taking shit seriously, kicking off the new year with this new track, Nowadays..

Everyone knows that today anyone can wear a mask and be whoever they want to be over a hard-hitting beat, but the real always prevails, and that’s where Young Spray steps in. One of the original gangsta rappers, Spray brings you more than just hard bars and gangsta content, from a more realistic perspective, there’s gems within, “yeah you need water to live, but trust me blood is the thickest”.

“No banter nah, guns kickin’ like Cantona”

Nowadays is a good take on the current climate of rap, with Spray standing tall against the frauds. Maybe because I’m familiar with what he brings to the game, I would want to hear more of the evolution, but a lot of the new listeners need to know as he looks to reinstate his position as one of the hardest, and this does a bit of both. “UK Rap..I’m the one they used to thank ya’na, cool runnings..but no Sanka darg, You’re more Dhalsim..man a Blanka darg, ya girls pissed cos I blanked her darg..”. There’s definitely more to his rap than just the aggressive drawl that he raps with, and while his rep might overshadow his raps, this year you can expect Mr RTM to make sure that changes.

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Click artwork to listen on Spotify

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Youngs Teflon – Fire Water

With a project released each year for the last couple years, South London’s prince of rap has been on a consistent rise, leading to a feature and appearance on Giggs’ Landlord album and tour, finishing off the year well with the release of his South London Press project. Not looking to slow down in the slightest, he gives us Fire Water..

Fire Water is Tef further establishing his lane, like his position in the game, it’s sits comfortably between Drill and Rap, as he skips across the production with the catchy flow. There’s a fine line between rapping about things that you can’t believe someone so deep in the game to be doing, but as he’s still on somewhat of a come-up, it works well, but what I like most is that he’s able to draw the parallels between the street and rap life, without it being so in-depth, you can get the “road” lingo and experience whilst he’s motivating and describing the come up itself, holding importance as he has always been heralded for his lyricism.

It might not be his best song thus far or the big single, but rather feels like the start to a rollout towards the anticipated new project, however, it not only provides insight into the direction he’s taking, but we get to hear the improvement, in delivery, his thought process, which only raises the interest for his dedicated core fanbase, who will definitely be awaiting some new material from one of the scene’s unsung heroes.

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Shaqy Dread – Local

The Tottenham talent follows Ready Up Steady Up with this new video, letting them know he’s Local

Produced by CeeFigz and The Beat Boss (both individually responsible for a host of hot tracks), they help set tempo with a movie score-like production, which Shaqy effortlessly tackles to create a scene in itself. Local is one of Shaqy’s more defined sounds as he continues to develop, with his harmonising rap style fitting right over the production. It’s most definitely one of his better tracks, it certainly helps to work with not one but two talented and experienced producers, and while his versatility means you can expect different styles to come, I can see him carving this lane out for himself, as there are not too many who appear as comfortable as he does here. The concept is not as unique but it’s definitely relatable, and it’s further emphasised by his delivery.

As someone who has observed his development thus far, it’s encouraging to see the improvement and as he continues to create more, you will no doubt hear more of his soulful trap sounds.

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Click artwork to listen on Spotify

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Manga Saint Hilaire – My One/God Save The Queens

Riding high off the critically acclaimed Outbursts From The Outskirts, Manga drops the visuals for the female empowering My One/God Save The Queens

The success of his project was not just based on sound and style, but concept too, delivering a dominant Grime project that showcased the evolution, not short of substance, and this record is an example of just that. Paying homage to the queens, it’s very rare to get such a song, especially on such a tempo, it’s not exactly what comes to mind when you think Grime (but that’s why he deserves the praise), far removed from the derogatory stances we’ve been accustomed to, it’s a more positive and praising outlook. Acknowledging the strength and inner beauty of the woman, and crowning them as such. The video is a cool representation of just that, down to the inclusion of snapchats of a variety of ages, ethnicities, shapes and sizes, especially with Goldie’s hilarious (but true) outro, you’re all queens!

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Reese LaFlare – Drip Like That

Atlanta rapper/skater/flexer Reese has been working away, with a slew of (solo and collaborative) projects and found himself on the rise with tracks like Gold House and Just Saying. There’s always those up and coming acts who influence the already established in regards to style and it can be said that Reese is one of those, currently working on his debut album, he drops Drip Like That as a taster of what to expect..

Flowing over the Al B Smoov production, it’s a cool lil’ cut, as he flexes throughout. In regards to his music, I think he’s at a transitional stage, where he’s still developing his sound as it lines up with the appropriate audience. It’s not one dimensional, so you get a range of sounds through his previous efforts, a lot of which others have adopted, and so with the forthcoming album you can expect to get a more assertive representation of him and his style.

The music was at a point overshadowed by supposed tension with Lil Uzi Vert, and maybe people were not paying attention or supporting due to that, but it appears to be a thing of the past as he (fresh off the Nike, Like Mike campaign) looks to further establish himself and his brand.

 

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BlocBoy JB – Look Alike ft. Drake

I was initially sceptical to review this, with over 11 million views in under a week, there’s really no denying Drake’s starpower. I was listening to Diplomatic Immunity consistently, before the stars aligned and God’s Plan really connected with me, and whilst that track continues to dominate, it goes to show that only one person can compete with Drake, and that’s himself. I almost feel like the song dropped too early, and though I’m sure Memphis rep BlocBoy couldn’t wait soon enough, with God’s Plan dominating the charts, this is clearly positioned as the new underground anthem.

For anyone that raises the point that Drake makes the song his own with the first verse and hook, not only has it introduced the world to BlocBoy JB but may I remind you of when Drake introduced a lot of people to an Atlanta group known as the Migos in similar fashion, and with hard work and consistency, see for yourself. So it’s a great opportunity for the Memphis rapper, and though Drake’s verse is indeed a standout, you naturally find yourself rapping along to JB’s flow also, and with his evident energy and charisma with the dance moves, it looks promising, so whether he becomes an official OVO member or not, it’ll be intriguing to see what he has next in store, but for now can be sure to enjoy the success as Look Alive won’t be dying down anytime soon.

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Click artwork to listen on Spotify

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Calvin Harris – Nuh Ready Nuh Ready ft. PartyNextDoor

Calvin Harris has had quite the trajectory, since my introduction to him alongside Dizzee Rascal (all those years ago), releasing a well received album last year with Funk Wave Bounces Vol. 1, he cemented himself even further, whilst me personally, I was highly disappointed that the project did not feature any British acts (or even Dizzee at least), as I just felt it was the perfect opportunity to merge and make that historical transition. So much that I may have been slightly put off, or I just did not gravitate to the music itself, but as they say, good music always prevails, and so we have his new single (which I have not stopped listening to since it’s release), Nuh Ready Nuh Ready..

It’s no secret, I rate PartyNextDoor highly, and so I was obviously going to check for this, and whilst PND can do no wrong, the production on this is really the standout. It’s one of those productions which make me want to pick at Calvin Harris’ brain as to why certain sounds were used, what were his influences and so forth. Whilst it’s a simplistic approach, the layers of sound and patterns put together are that of genius. It certainly stands out in it’s spotify radio playlist, and in many ways is defiant of any genre or boundary, as it definitely reminds me of a variety of feelings through songs I grew up to. Aside of his own catalogue, PartyNextDoor has been behind some of the biggest songs of the past couple years, and though this sound might be new for his fans, he sounds as in his lane as ever. From the trumpet intro opening the doors for the slithering synth, to hearing him in a patois dialect say, “me and di mandem”, I was sold despite no idea what was coming next, singing along to, “I’m not ready fi all dem tings”, before the effects and beat simultaneously kick in..sonically depicting that euphoric feeling of your favourite night out, to where I had to restart the song as I forgave Calvin, like a friend that let you down but you know they didn’t mean to.

The digital trip of a video compliments the record immensely, much like the audio it has a simple structure, with all it’s transitioning shapes and colours, in it’s retro style (again like the sounds within the production), basically visualising that euphoria I speak of. With the London backdrop and even seeing PND more prominent in something that will be viewed well beyond his own fanbase, it makes for a great video. When making a dance record, you would hope that it makes people move, and Nuh Ready Nuh Ready is most definitely that, a soundtrack for any night out, it’s quite the start to the year with what could well be one of the anthems of the approaching summer.

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Click artwork to listen on Spotify

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