As THE city of Toronto continues to revel in the Raptors’ recent championship success, it’s only right for 6ixtradamus himself, Jimmy Prime to link up with Murda Beatz for a celebratory anthem.
A while back Jimmy Prime tatted a championship trophy on his face, and then last year tatted another next to it, I never understood it..until I saw the picture of Kahwi with the Championship trophy in one hand, and the MVP in the other. The track itself is just a up-tempo feel-good cut, produced by fellow Toronto native Murda Beatz, with Jimmy flowing over it with ease. There’s no real need to dissect or review even, it’s motivational, fun and sounds just as hard in the gym as it will in the club.
With the highly anticipated Blue Mercedes rumoured to be on the way, this track serves as a lil’ snack for the fans, whilst sharing in the city’s celebrations.
It’s easy to see why so many artists are struggling with their love for the game, as it continues to have their art swept under the tide. Dan is 2 for 2, from his return with Vegan Chat, to this Flowdan featured ode to London.
Relevancy is slowly killing art forms, though Meridian Dan is just as pivotal to the scene today, as he was in it’s last resurgence. In an era where the Independent artist should flourish, it’s become regular to fall short of breaking through the barriers now in place. Unless Giggs is posting it on his IG, or you don’t fork out the funds required to have it placed to optimum levels, it’s very likely that even the best of efforts will become engulfed in the constant avalanche of music rolling each day. This means that realistically, you’re work is not going to be fairly judged and you’re not going to see the return it might well deserve. One or two is a learning curve, but after a while, I can imagine it becoming disheartening, especially if you’ve been in the game for a while, and somewhat of a pioneer at that. A common pattern with artists whom you might consider underrated, are also not in the “mix” of things behind the scenes. If the average person is more inclined to retweet or like your post if you follow them back, you can make some sense of how it must be further up the chain. This might have no relevance to Dan or how he feels, but I just don’t feel the same energy in the roll out (at least). Last video had a premiere party, with a good turn out, it cultivated momentum, something similar would have played it’s part, adding to the consistency of quality. It’s still early as he re-organises and establishes a team and his Always8 imprint, but I think he’s developed as an artist and giving us a mature take on Grime, that should be doing way better. This record and the visuals are proof of that, it’s so different to Vegan Chat yet up there in standard. Produced by SX, it’s a great delivery of expression, with Dan able to really paint a picture (movie even), an honest depiction and appreciated contrast to the typical summer release. Features are always interesting, and nobody can deny what Flowdan does on the riddim, which might not be new to the savvy listener, but it beyond compliments the overall score. Completed by a thermal-theme video, with it’s cold tint, it really amplifies the feel of the song whilst maintaing creativity, something that is often missing from tracks today.
London In The Rain has racked up 30k+ views (YouTube) and 50k+ on Spotify, which (though it might not translate financially) is a great indication to his audience and further potential. Anything is possible, and I know there’s more in the works as he continues to evolve, (as with many artists) I just hope he sees the potential in landing these jabs as much as the haymaker.
“Anything to numb the pain, it’s London in the rain..”
Just earlier I was thinking, if only I knew somebody that was as versed on Seinfeld as I am on Wale, then I could start The Podcast About Nothing, a show solely dedicated to Wale & Seinfeld. Then I come back to this track, ’09 Folarin’ is for every reason why Wale is top tier and not recognised as such at the same time. Not everyone likes Caviar, but we’re all well aware that it’s a high-end delicacy. Those that know, know of his skill-set, the respect amongst his peers, more importantly his discography, but his name tends to fall short in that conversation/list. Drake has offered clarity and a pulse of current trends and sounds, Cole has that same clarity, yet found a way to capitalise off the opposite spectrum (more so because of their entries into the game), then there’s Kendrick, who let’s not forget had to cater to current sounds with Damn for his position to be solidified. Then you have Big Sean, who has a weighty list of hits, that very clarity I hold high regard to, but seems to occupy the middle of the list with Wale, falling short to the likes of Meek and 21 Savage, more so off popularity. Now Wale does not have the same clarity, and maybe that’s an excuse I’ve found as to why people might overlook the DC rapper, but if you look at his most popular verses (for e.g, No Hands Remix), they’re the more clear, in comparison to say, The White Shoes. Maybe I’m just trying to blame the mix, or maybe the majority audiences are truly fickle and don’t gravitate towards good music as equally as we’d like. Then comes the argument of press and all the avenues that promote everything the same because they’re not true curators, but rather taking advantage of the clicks and streams, thus unfairly diluting culture.
He currently has a track circulating, with the Meg The Stallion featured Poledancer, doing well in clubs and online, so one thing you can’t accuse him of being is, inconsistent.
Bringing us to ’09 Folarin’, two minutes of Wale straight spazzing oh so effortlessly. In nostalgic style, over the jazzy production, complete with horns and bells, the sample-based beat screams Wale, and maybe that’s another reason for the lack of impact, this same lyrical exercise and cool flow might hit harder over some 808s and futuristic synths, but fuck all that, if you appreciate music, you can appreciate this. Touching on his ability, status and more, filled with basketball and wrestling references, it’s classic Wale. That, “Chip on my shoulder”, bar and it’s delivery was exquisite. I start to realise, it really is less about his vocal clarity, or sound, but just (like mentioned before) the bias and unfair lack of support from basically every supposedly credible source. Not to mention, how the labels allocate support based off how big the buzz is. As an artist, he’s been creating, and don’t get me started on how slept on Shine is. Much like when Schoolboy Q stated his disappointment in the distance between the critical acclaim and sales of his Blankface album, or DJ Khaled’s recent distaste (in the back of a custom Maybach) at the idea of having a Number 2 album, artists are human, and the efforts of their expression would be in vain if not shown proper appreciation. While I see the similarities with Wale and Joe Budden (when he was rapping), in terms over underrated and being overlooked, today’s climate is also best suited, as we see with him dropping this lil’ gem on Soundcloud, and really he just has to create as he feels, and let his core fanbase enjoy. Now if he makes a shit project, that people cannot vibe to or live with, then that’s different (and highly unlikely), but for now, as one of the few that can actually rap, he’ll for sure solidify his position amongst the top naturally.
Milli Major takes time away from the streets, to give her the “Rah rah rah”..
More known for his gritty street sounds, Milli Major makes the transition that I was initially sceptical of, however, I made it out to a lickle shoobz the other night, and I would have got to skankin’ if this came on. It would be unfair to review this as such, or be critical, when really it’s just a feel-good track that’s suited for the club (and festival). The addition of Tempa T is always respected, because 1) He’s not jumping on a track with just anyone, and 2) Tempa T has a commercial grime appeal, which shows with the general response of the track thus far. There is clearly an effort being made, with a great, clean and crisp visual, love the traditional vibe, it only emphasises the Ghanaian notion within the song.
My scepticism was basically for being accustomed to a different sound with Major, and not being so tuned to radio or heavy in the clubs, my A&R brain was conflicting, but the reality is that Milli Major has experienced some success in this streaming era with the more Garage-sounding production, in fact, his highest streamed tracks are basically that, which now makes all the sense, and so why not continue to have fun and add some depth to the catalogue. It’s always good to hear from Tempz, who actually goes in on this one, adding to the track’s potential live, as you can imagine how that’ll go.
The more you listen to the song, the more it’s appeal grows, in time for the summer and definitely one for ya BBQ playlist, with over 100k YouTube views and like 30k Spotify plays, there’s clearly a lot of people feeling like, “Ooo Na Na”.
Since the (from Jail) release of (the heavily underrated) Down, Skywalker went quiet (for obvious reasons), but God is good, and back like he never left, he returned with the emphatic Could Be Worse
a typical take from Scorcher, as he reintroduces himself back in the game. Reality is, I never got round to reviewing it because I was actually just enjoying listening to it, and naturally, the streets united in rejoice for his return, out the box and into the booth, “nothing weren’t safe from when I come out”.
There isn’t too much to “review”, just listen and soak up the new energy. Whilst Could Be Worse served as the appetiser, it was not long before the people wanted more, and it was already in the works, as he dropped the new track, Gargoyle
“Top of the roof” music, it’s a slower tempo but more intricate freestyle, as the Dark Knight reasserts himself back in position, watching down at the game. “They ain’t see me for a minute, didn’t emcee for a minute..”, only few could take a hiatus and walk right back into the mix, but then few hold his level of credibility and stature in the scene, “I ain’t got a reload lyric, but I got a Reload lyric, you can double up and reload wit’ it”.
What’s genius about the tracks he’s dropped thus far, is the rhetoric. We know the industry has changed, there’s a heap of new acts (many who I’m not even up on), and people will have their doubts and question Scorcher’s place in this climate, and as he further finds his feet amidst the distractions, he has an answer for all, “they think local, scoping the galaxy, meanwhile i’m getting followed by focus and galaxy”. The younger fans and industry people are part of something that Scorcher helped lay the foundations for, and even if they’re unaware, he’s assertive of his own influence, “Dem man are all my kids, these man are all my youts, dem bwoy are all my sons..”, and he ain’t telling no lies.
Not a negative, but I think the impact of Could Be Worse has overshadowed Gargoyle, and I would have preferred a whole EP or project straight after, but it’s always better to test waters and reassess things. To be honest, I’ve just been glad to see him out, participating in football matches and just to know a man is back with his kids. There’s a lot more to come from him, so lock in on the socials, and stay tuned, as he looks to deliver like only one of the greatest talents to emerge out the country can.
Around 2013, Dream Mclean was on an ascension, standing out amongst the generic sounds, with his distinct tone and modern take on British culture, before it was even understood let alone accepted, before there was a Slowthai, his sound & style was gaining him a fanbase (mentioned amongst the likes of CasIsDead), that included his peers, most notably Professor Green. Like so many potentials around that time, I guess the industry was not at the same stage, and though he continued, and as part of the collective Monster Florence (featuring long term associate Siris), despite the quality and sound, it still did not quite connect as deserved, which brings us a couple years later to his new solo release, Durag Beckham.
I randomly came across the post, of the infamous Durag Beckham pic (when he met Prince Charles), with Dream captioning it, “feeling like a new me”, and then the trailer. With one of my earliest reviews being of Dream himself (like 10 years ago), my appreciation of his talent or belief in him remains, and so I was not only intrigued to hear, but to see if he’s able to sustain that momentum in today’s climate.
“I feel like a new man, I feel like David Beckham in a Durag..”
Produced by New Machine (one of the more heralded underground producers), someone who I’ve come to hear a lot of quality from (through his work with Phaze What), it was no surprise to hear something that sounds so left, yet fits right into what’s current today. The combination of a melodic loop caged between a catchy drum pattern, with a kick that you feel in your neck (props to mastering from none other than The Last Skeptik) with it’s laid-back sound yet uptempo energy, it’s easy for the lyricist to deliver a breezy flow, that slaloms on the beat, ultimately creating this wavy track. It’s cool, catchy and if you pay attention, it’s somewhat addressing this new feel and direction, and as a sign of more to come, I hope it’s pivotal in re-establishing himself as one of the more exciting acts in the country.
The bar has been set for Video of the Year, as Meridian Dan rises out of the fumes of his German Whip.
From undeniably leading the charge of Grime’s resurgence, Meridian Dan had found himself caught between maintaining that sound whilst growing as an artist, two things that don’t often mesh well. Having basically opened the door, you could say he was lost amongst all those that followed after, not because of him or his music, but just the way the game is, a lot of changes and transitions followed, and though he gave us a mature take on Grime, at the time, it was continuously compared to his breakthrough single. Still active, the limelight however had began to fade, with the numbers game churning newer acts, and the support seemed to have followed as such. It’s frustrating for any creative, and at one point, unless you were personally checking for Dan, you would think he was inactive. Where he provided the spark for our music to flourish, it also provided the avenue for sub-genres to re-emerge, UK Rap became more prominent, and almost put Grime to the back. None the less, you can’t keep a good man down, and fast forward to 2019, off the back of presenting Boxing segments and music with the likes of God’s Gift, having switched things up in his personal and professional life, the Meridian legend, brings that new lifestyle and energy into his music with Vegan Chat.
Very few artists still care about the creativity, or production value, especially with their visuals, or maybe that is just their personalities, one dimensional and basic. Not with Dan, those that know or have witnessed enough, will be well aware that he’s a charismatic and funny individual, blended with his pedigree and upbringing, it’s what made him stand out in the first place. I knew he lived a vegan lifestyle, but had no idea what to expect when I came across the title ‘Vegan Chat’ (Was he even releasing music, or was this some new cooking/talk show?!), all I had been told from a close source was, “he’s back”, and they weren’t wrong. Musically, it’s classic Dan, as he lays out the plan and intentions from here on, effortlessly flowing, citing his stance as a person and artist, as he looks to stake his claim as one of the elites.
“I’m a positive guy, I don’t do bad energy..”
Visually, it’s a masterpiece really, from the concept, down to the execution. Shout out to Pierre in the opening scene, safe-guarding the operation. It’s a constant journey, that whilst so different, remains in line with the premise. From the traphouse (bagging up vegetables), into the amazing transition of the joint to the boxing ring, knocked out by the bull, later revealed to be none other than hometown hero Dillian White, into the butcher scene, with Dan playing multiple roles, an ode to his self-sufficiency and the multiple positions he plays in his own career. This video shows more potential for Dan within the acting world, this could have easily been a Guy Ritchie movie, and it only gets more intense, from the slaughterhouse to playing detectives and the underrated scene where he’s torturing what appears to be Ronald McDonald for the hidden meat factories.
Though the video has done well, it most certainly is underrated, and maybe with Giggs’ Big Bad visuals and the impact he has, having somewhat overshadowed it, but when those lists get made in December, if this video is not mentioned, then they can all go fuck themselves really, because Meridian Dan most definitely kicked it all off, and I for one, look forward to what’s next.
The Croydon General cannot be faltered for trying. The large consensus is a lack of consistency, yet, if you actually checked, he’s been nothing but consistent. From 2017’s Solution To The Problem, to starting 2018 with his Savage Sunday series, not to mention, he’s dropped at least 5 videos in the past year. What the fuck more do people want?!
And so in 2019, it’s back again, with a track he teased towards the end of the year, Sweets
Linking up once again with Edixion Beats, the two have a chemistry, or at least a proven history of quality bass-heavy production that compliments the rapper’s vocals, so it’s no different here, with the calm piano sitting above the gritty beat, perfect for Wholagun to give us more flows, condensed street raps and a delivery to match the best. The video, serving as the visual aid, gives a bit of shine to Croydon, complimenting the track itself, the shoot looked like it was fun, with a good synergy amongst them, it’s one of the few videos I would have actually been in. I don’t expect Sweets to be a gamechanger, but it’s for sure a great start to the year, and progression is evident, with the track uploaded to the streaming sites too, something that was not always the case prior.
There is definitely a new project on the way, with these first couple tracks set to give some idea into the sound and direction, but as always, there is no lack in quality nor consistency. If you like authentic street rap, with wit and flows, then look no further, as Wholagun sets to take it up a level.
In this era of fast food rap, a lot of the new acts have either been overlooked or struggled to gain the respect required, especially when they let their music do the talking, and not the online gimmicks/antics. One of the artists that has been caught up in the transition is Wave Chapelle, while his name has circulated for a while now, he has been learning first hand, the hurdles, as he looks to maintain consistency. Though his name may not be as prominent, his music certainly speaks volumes, with project after project, in the past couple years alone, and one thing evident, is the improvement.
With the New Wave EP, it’s a more reformed, polished version of the Milwaukee gem, with a crisper ear for production, and more clarity in his delivery. As if he’s found his style/sound, or at least closer to, the EP compiles emotion, determinations and desires within bars upon bars. Through the 7 tracks, there’s a variety of elements, from the lyricism, flows and cadences all layered to create such a well-rounded project. You can hear the effort, the boxes ticked, and that’s what makes it disappointing that there was not more praise for the EP. Away from the Yo Gotti cosign, this project is testament to Wave Chapelle’s self belief and hard work, as he’s taken a couple steps back, gained control of his progression, and the music has benefitted as such.
The EP is for sure one of the more underrated offerings from the up-and-comers this year, but while he is still finding his balance, it’s on his own wave.
As 2018 comes to a close, there’s talks of ‘Album of the Year’ as we look back at the best projects, and while the likes of Nipsey Hussle, Pusha T and (most recently) Meek are contenders, one project that I believe is in the Top Ten, or the conversation at least, is M Huncho’s 48 Hours EP. If we were to separate albums and EPs, then it’s Top 3 for sure.
I came across him late, when his name was originally circulating, I didn’t jump at it, but maybe because it was just the perception (I’m not on the obvious platforms like that), and even the ballie, you had an idea of what to expect, but I had yet to hear any of the music, and I so wasn’t expecting this. If I had known it was basically trap-centric R&B, I might have been more inclined, and it wasn’t until I had heard a couple tracks in the right place at the right time, that I visited the EP, and came across one of the most exciting artists to emerge from the country of recent.
I hope to interview the talent at some point, because I really just want to know who he listened to growing up, what artists inspire him and so forth, because as much as he is a rapper, there are a lot of artistic nuances, from the production used to the execution of certain melodies. With it’s street-heavy content, his delivery provides a polish of sorts.
The 8 track EP (which was created within a 48 hour studio session) is an array of moods, and from the Intro, he surfs over the soulful production, with a combination of wordplay and flow that becomes his niche. It sets up for Elevation, “rolling with my J, no Hus”, is a great example of the simplicity with which he can craft catchy quotables. With this track, I found myself listening to it when I was down, in need of motivation, or just lighting one under the sun. No doubt one of my go to tracks as I planned my moves for the year. Obviously if you’re accustomed to the content, then you’re definitely going to gravitate towards, but even if it’s alien to you, it’s that previously mentioned delivery, which will captivate the listener just as much.
Bringing us to Come Up, the third track on the tape, and it’s Huncho raising the level, as he compliments the production with an infectious flow, a track that is equally playable in the club as it is in your gym playlist.
Council Flat is confirmation that M Huncho is actually an artist, and justifies the buzz surrounding him. I say this because he shows consistency with his ability. It’s another flow, just as catchy, with more simple yet effective bars, and whilst I don’t know him personally, it’s a case of real recognise real, and further adds to the all-important authenticity.
“I don’t want no fake youts, I’d rather do up lonely”
And just like that, I Ain’t Fussed kicks in, I remember first listening to it and thinking back to my uni years, and then I hear, “Lost out on a nine, I’m raving in freshers…I lost all my uni fees”, and that was me sold I guess, because I got it. He’s able to weave raw subjects and wit within his lyrics, and it’s that variation that allows him to appeal beyond the expected audience. Track 6, ‘Mood’, might not be as good as the others, but you’ll still find yourself singing along, and it’s important for the EP overall, especially it’s positioning, with the levels raised again with Calm Days.
“They askin’ ’bout the masked face, I don’t like all the attention…I need calm days”
M Huncho had my vote for the Rated Awards Breakthrough artist of the year, and it does appear that he isn’t championed as much as he should be, but that could be a host of reasons, either way, it doesn’t take away from him or his craft in the slightest.
“labels moving naughty, tryin’ to offer forty, I’m sittin in a benzo..I don’t need that forty”
I love that the EP has a quality intro and outro, different styles but both as impactful and effective, further proving my point about his style, presence and talent. The outro, Sport.
“I see these goalies tryna play striker, brudda just stick to your own role..”
Overall, it’s a more creative take on the subject, something that the UK has struggled to do as effortlessly, or to this extent. 48 Hours is a great follow up and introduction for many to M Huncho, an improvement from his previous effort, whilst leaving room for more. A great offering, considering it was done within a 2 day session. I often listen to it and look to plan an event featuring him, just to hear those sounds and see that impact in a live setting. Much like the mask, he gives you enough to garner your interest, but also maintains the mystery. It’s my top 3 most listened to project this year alongside Nipsey’s Victory Lap album and Phaze What – I Ain’t Finished With You EP, and although there are others who might have more commercial plays or cosigns, it’s this EP which I hear blasting out of cars across the country, in studios, events and trap houses, with some of the most certi bumping the tape. Regardless of the perception, M Huncho is one of the country’s leading acts on the rise.
Definitely awaiting the new album, and have high hopes, so you can potentially expect him to be in the conversation for Album of the Year (again) next year.