The second instalment to the visual magazine.
Back again, with new music, videos and more. Click the image below to view..
The young producer has been forging his own sound over time, notable behind the boards, producing vibes for a variety of MC’s (most recently Phaze What – Neva Dat), though he’s proving more than able behind the mic also, and with Skepta broadening the parameters of Grime, Blay is one of the up and coming acts to utilise the freedom. His 2017 release Turner Ave might be one of the top Grime projects of the year (amongst the likes of Manga St Hilaire’s Outbursts From The Outskirts).
It’s clear from the get go with These Guys, as an assured Blay lays out the mindset and his intentions,
and the project backs that sentiment, as though you can hear certain influences, overall it really stands alone from whatever else is out at the moment. Track 2, Fully Involved, one of my favourite productions this year, and I’m glad that he attempts to have substance, as if he’s aware of what the production provides, allowing him to structure more thoughtfully, and from a humble perspective of an up and coming act, so the content fits well. I find myself separating the production at times, but in all honesty, I can hear he’s more seasoned as a producer, but the flows are impressive, more so the stories he weaves and the lessons he attempts to stitch together, it’s really well crafted. I really like how the project flows, he most definitely thought about performances, as tracks like the hype Skeen, will undoubtedly get the crowd jumping, and through the raw delivery, there’s lines to take in, “I know man that’ll marry your mum, come to the country and dun your clart”, that’s a reload right there!
[I recognise good ol’ Southampton, after I spent the last couple years there]
Around track 7, there’s a minimal shift, but if you’ve come this far, you’re certainly hearing the rest of the project less critically, like the vibezy My G’s, with it’s catchy hook and satisfyingly piercing synths,
I’m proud of his evolution thus far, from the early sounds of his I have on my old laptop, a more refined sound, and it continues with the JME featured Gone Mad,
he’s back at it right after with Free Mo, which is more him flexing his MC abilities, switching up the flow, and it’s a more musical approach, as it’s another well structured effort that I can see working well live. I like tracklists that aren’t predictable, and as he begins to show his versatility, this is just that, an array of tempos and styles, one minute your just nodding your head to Amnesia,
the next you’re tuned in, relating to the introspective and open Normal, “Anxiety got me thinking a madness, I just wanna be normal”.
Such records really highlight his abilities, beyond a talented producer, crafting quality songs, whilst still being able to give you the more performance based bangers like 99 Pace
and the final track on the project, Violent, which gives you a more confident Blay, it’s as if you’ve travelled on a journey through the project, and that’s what you want, from an artist’s perspective and listeners alike. It takes a lot of effort to put together a project, let alone visuals and without the support of masses it can be a hit or miss, so props to him as he carves out a moment for himself with Turner Ave, an array of sounds and flows, all rolled up into a dope project.
EB Records in full effect.
Grime veteran, a pioneer even, D Power, a Grime school graduate, has resurged with his new EBR imprint and it’s roster, whilst he’s heavily supportive of the scene and his team rightfully, with Spooked, he gets introspective, far from a hater, the strong-hearted brother shares some thoughts and feelings of late, over the minimal self-produced banger, with the synth-laced, hard-slapping beat.
“Man-a-mans angry, man-a-mans upset, Man-a-man saw Grenfell, saw man reach their deaths..”
The clean hearted brother, with the dirty flow, Rebel Simpson has been quietly mastering his craft, giving us a variety of Grime gems in the process.
Produced by Captain, the synth-heavy sounds seem perfect for the up and coming MC to flow cold, “I took some L’s last year, but not again”. While there’s always room for improvement, it’s good to see how well he’s improved thus far. Most definitely someone to keep an ear out for as he continues to tackle Grime with substance.
The reluctant Adventurer returns with a defining project, not just shaping the sound but the direction from here on.
First of all, shout out to Mikill Pane, I guess I’ve been sleeping on his craft, as he sums up the theme of the EP within this poetic display.
“I go home and start Thinking Out Loud..on some Ed Sheeran shit..”
With the Intro, titled En Dehors, French for ‘Outside’, also musically referring to a melody/line that needs to stand out, I’m already unravelling layers.
Outsiderism, it’s Manga on a mission, skipping over the beat effortlessly, with his self-belief at an all time high, “They call man a vet, and the youngers show respect, all because I earned it”. It’s towards the end where as you’re locked in to his flow, he brushes the canvas with nostalgia, as he takes it back, with the aggression in the flow. A little reminder if you were unaware of the levels. “Hol’tight Stryder, hol’tight the Ruff Sqwad”, the little edit at the end, further accentuating the classic Grime feel.
“Hol’tight Master Steps though!”
Never Been, plays on the biographical stance that this EP seems to project, it’s an assured level of self-confidence, bold and braggadocios but honest and witty, that’s been Manga from the get go. “Dem man are Jpegs..just silent stills”, it’s the third track in, and you can already appreciate the effort. I’m here wondering how he is SO overlooked, but can argue that him making it seem so effortless doesn’t help,“Nang then, I’m still nang now, ten years in and I’m firing still. Still, cah dem man know..it’s never been dat, humble yout, I ain’t never been gas..”. Leading to the standout single from the project, Different Pattern, it’s definitely Manga in his element, “No joke man, they can’t take man for meme”, sure the track is boasted with the big boy features of JME & President T, but that further proves his status, as he holds his own amongst them, not to mention a surprise verse from the tempo specialist, Mercston.
“I can see why they hatin’, cah I got the sauce, she got the juice..we hydrated”
My One/God Save The Queens, another example of Manga’s versatility, able to deliver Grime with substance. This ode to the one and our queens with no conformity to the sound or style fits perfectly within the project. Not many have been able to tackle the subject, let alone to this standard. It’s definitely important and required in today’s times, where our queens are often subjected to negativity.
“Fuck these skets, God save the Queens..”
I’m quite impressed with this project, I was expecting a follow up to his Reluctant Adventurer, but not to his degree, Manga’s evolution is beyond music, he’s taking lead, as track 6 shows, the first of the Outburst series, showcasing the young talent, Izzie Gibbs.
Today, most projects would have ended by now, but we’re listening to one of Grime’s unsung heroes, overshadowed by the ‘greaze’, his ability was often playing second to appearance, but then it was being judged by I guess what we could call competition, there has to be something to be a part of the legendary Roll Deep crew. Those that know, are well aware that Manga was ahead of the curve, and as someone who believes in the universe’s timing, this EP proves that notion. Manga maintains the consistency, “all right hair..like cassie in her prime”, he spits on Far Away. I have to praise producer Lewi B, who has assisted the versatility with these beats, and I would like to think is as underrated when it comes to “top boy” producers within our scene.
A journey of an EP thus far, you begin to hear the depth of the project, with the Grim Seekers featured, ‘Shell’, and it’s infectious hook, to the structure of the project, the Outburst series, next one up (Track 9), introducing to many, Nottingham’s Snowy. This Outburst series is like a project within the project, and while it shows Manga’s growth into a leader in this ting, there’s aspects of visionary and pioneer glimmering through. The more introspective Outburst holds the EP together as if a diamond being fitted within a diamond, it’s quality, innovative and that scale of creativity has been scarce in Grime of late, if ever present in the first place. Before you can even digest, you’re back to ‘vibezing’ to Never Invited and Slew, both which help elaborate Manga’s position, connecting the ol’ skool with the new, featuring Flowdan with Novelist, and P Money and Jamakabi, not to be taken for granted, as few can pull off such riddims.
I want to find a negative or a criticism in Outbursts From The Outskirts, but there really isn’t. The only thing I can say is that the quality of the project, I would love to have heard the likes of Rival, AJ Tracey and Wiley (for example), and possibly they would have helped garnered the adequate attention, but I’m hopeful for the follow up. Very few projects hold weight from the start to finish, and as you’re enjoying ‘Young’, featuring up and comer Jammz, you realise this does just that, not long before it fades out and the Outburst beat returns, to hear one of Manga’s most open verses, as he spits his truth, the authenticity has always been present, “I had to learn to let things go, can’t help the things that weren’t meant for me, I can’t spend my time looking back, ‘cos I miss things that I’m yet to see..”, but this time there’s and air of vulnerability that touches the soul.
“To anybody feels that they’re unheard, to everyone that feels they ain’t seen, don’t let your big heart get disheartened, don’t ever discard your dreams. To all my overlooked outsiders, all dem talented Kings and Queens, don’t let the fact that you were once lost makes you scared to take the lead, believe.”
There’s no need for me to say anything after that, Manga’s ability has been undeniable, but with such a new found energy and hunger, he connects with the listener beyond any trend or phase, and can only improve on this evolution and continue to progress further.
[If you’re looking to show support, or just know what’s cool, you can purchase the official merch, click on the image below and dat.]
“Ooh Ahh Saskilla”
The Greenborough legend (word to Tinie Tempah), Saskilla could be considered a pioneer, when we look back at the classic and definitive Grime anthems, Gash By The Hour is definitely in there. Since, he has given us sound upon sound, style upon style, to most recently, where has working heavily behind the scenes to push the culture forward. He’s definitely playing his part in laying the foundation.
And so he returns to the forefront, with Godson 1.5
The 5 track EP, providing an insight into Saskilla’s evolution as an artist. In an effort to further establish the British perspective, he kicks things off with something very British and relevant to the scene, JD Bag. It’s a great mural of past and present as spins through the production, bringing you up to date. A standout track possibly, Nuttin Like Us, featuring Lady Leshurr & Big Narstie, it has the feel of the ol’ days, but it’s a very current track, with all three delivering on their verses. In regards to his work behind the scenes, the next track is evidence of that, as he enlists the features of Maybach Music Group’s Gunplay and the Bawse himself, Rick Ross, for the DJ Cameo exclusive, also featuring Scruffizzer. Solomons Temple, a track that will definitely go off live, before finishing up with Fam, with verses from Canadian Tre Mission and the legend, Wiley.
Saskilla hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to the music, as ever a component of Grime, he’s certainly someone who has his finger on the pulse, as he looks to elevate the sound higher.
just under now over 50 million views, this shit is amazing.
Congratulations to Stormzy and his team, with Shut Up now officially certified platinum. Not entirely sure if this has happened before, but it’s a big win, not just for Big Mike, but all those who helped pave the way before, as what is essentially a freestyle, (in this streaming era) is now officially certified platinum.
I don’t get excited over too much, however, not long ago I saw the official charts tweet a picture of a smiling Giggs, announcing Landlord as the second highest selling album in the country, and now, two years after it’s debut, a freestyle video does such numbers, further denting and pushing the limitations that often felt placed upon our scene. It’s something a lot of us have worked towards seeing.
This moment definitely proves the powers of good music, the scene and the unified support of the people, as the sounds reach new ears, taking the underground over. Many artists turned away from freestyles, focusing on original songs that could generate a profit, streaming might just have changed that, imagine how many times we would have streamed the Wiley or Skepta ‘Westwood’ freestyles?!
Big up the Section trio, Flipz, and all the mandem in the video, you’re all a part of history still. And a massive shout out to, “my man over there with the pouch”, you’re forever certi’ (well at least to 50 million+ people).
With the current dominance of Urban artists and music in general within the charts, it is safe to say that the scene is being recognized, regardless of who or how, the fact that so many artists are able to crossover into mainstream status and be considered household names is a big accomplishment for an ever-growing industry.
So no greater way to celebrate such an achievement than with a track like this.
As Tinchy Stryder prepares to release his new album Third Strike, he brings us this monstrous anthem, featuring a plethora of talent, the best thing about this line-up is its range of diversity.
1. Giggs, the elite rapper kicks it off with his distinct raw style & sound, cementing his authority on the track as well as the industry (despite their efforts to restrict his movement),
2. Pro Green, the quirky wordsmith is finally reaping rewards for all his hard work and takes this in his stride with a cocky yet clever lyrical combination,
3. Tinie Tempah, the two-time number 1 star is on a successful role and his delivery on this is a testament to his growth from chart newcomer to a resident member of that premier section of artists.
4. Devlin has made a huge impact in the scene, having been a dominant name within the Grime scene for years, the youngster makes the leap into chart status and he does not hold back on this, definitely one of the better verses.
5. Example, this verse was a complete surprise to many, he deserves his place but he really takes this opportunity and puts it in a headlock, merging a new and old school style with his own delivery, it strangely reminds me of Roots Manuva at times, it is without doubt a really good effort.
6. Chipmunk, i think everybody expected more from the young mainstream phenom, however it a bad verse, its cocky, confident and raw, reminds me of Dubz at one point, which can’t be a bad thing. Munk’s offering definitely takes time to grow in comparison to the others but good none the less.
7. Tinchy Stryder, Cloud 9 Strydes steps up to platform and truly delivers, considered my most as one of the best verses we have heard from him in a while, he definitely switches the level for this one and stamps his mark within the game.
Together, these seven artists really take a stand for the scene, showing variety as well as unity among artists in every tier of the charts.
Here is the Mobo performance:
To me this appeared like the TV series Heroes, at one point you have each artist on one stage with their own “power”, an immense occasion in the scene’s history.
Bonus: there is no way i could leave this out..
Sway really delivering something spectacular as he promotes his new mixtape The Delivery 2
Giggs – Hustle On OUT NOW!
Devlin – Runaway OUT NOW!
With the first two cyphers being a proven success, bringing together a nexus of talent, we now bring you Cypher 3, featuring the previously reviewed Dream Mclean (I told you he was one to watch!), Random Impulse, Griminal and Lioness.
I’ll forever cosign Dream Mclean as he is a raw talent with lyrical ability, flow plus a voice with a presence, more so he is himself and always trying to improve, which in my opinion are traits of a quality artist in this field. Random Impulse really took this opportunity to shine, with his charisma fuelled wordplay, definitely throwing a few standout bars, setting up Griminal, an artist who needs no introduction, he has been a prominent name within the scene for many years and we’re still far from seeing the best from him, potential is high as he spazzes out. Last but not least, Lioness represents for the strong minded ladies, proving some of the best emcees are not just males, controlling the tempo with added confidence, she rounds off yet another impressive cypher.