Amidst the continued chaos, grime's stylistic evolution over the last couple of years has bore witness to a remarkable shift in focus. Although still a definitive part of grime's sonic make-up, MCs no longer carry the same prestige that made them the genre's focal point and instead, the producers, so often over-looked in grime's formative years, have arguably taken centre stage. From Faze Miyake's bass heavy, 808 sculpted beats to Royal-T's garage-infused club bangers and Slackk's thugged-out eski cuts, the genre's instrumental arm is awash with seemingly unrelenting innovation. Now firmly dictating the genre's pace, Big Dada enlisted the help of Joe Muggs to compile a 35-track compilation of some of the year's most simmering instrumental cuts in recognition. Welcome to Grime 2.0...
As a testament to grime's early hit-makers, we picked the brains of ten producers who appear on the compilation and asked them to name the track which first inspired them to get into the world of producing - even The Beatles made the list...
Waifer - Schoolage
"I only say 'Schoolage because it's never come out; it could be any number of Slew Dem tunes from Waifer, Top Dolla, JT. I just love the way a Slew Dem beat sounds; really sparse and in some tunes just the minimal elements really work. Tunes like 'Gun Man' or 'Shower Hour' are just completely ruthless and so economic. To me Schoolage sounds like some space age chase scene shit man, I love it, so I guess I take most inspiration from the Slew Dem ideas really. I think.a lot of my early grime beats were just looking at their stuff and trying to employ them in my own way, definitely. A lot of the early Total Package beats have that vibe too, the same sort of delivery and menacing tone I think."
Dexplicit - Forward Riddim // Dot Rotten - War Mission
"I don't think there was a certain track that got me into production, but about the time I started I remember listening to lots of early DJj Ironik and Dexplicit so i would mainly focus on grime stabs and strings. Dexplicit's 'Forward Riddim' is an obvious one, the instrumental for Lethal's 'Pow!'. In later years I loved Dot Rotten's production, especially when it got slow and atmospheric - I just thought it was so emotional. 'War Mission' is one track in particular that's like that and I work on that sound in my own productions today."
The Beatles - Sexy Sadie
"Even though this is a grime compilation, I'd have to say that the track that inspired me to want to be a producer would have come well before grime was even a scene or in my musical vocabularly. It would most likely be something from the Beatles' 'White Album' that I listened to when I was a kid; I'll say 'Sexy Sadie'. George Martin's production definitely made me want to get involved."
Dizzee Rascal - I Luv U
"My dad's a drummer who had his own soundsystem called 'King Original'. Being in the studio with him as a kid and watching him build music made me want to produce, not any particular tune. I was making grime before it was called 'grime' too so to name one specific tune as an inspiration is hard. If i had to pick one though, it would be Dizzee's "I Luv U". Although, thinking about it, even that tune was made before the label 'grime' existed."
Davinche - Dirty South
"This isn't a track that got me into producing but it definitely was a big inspiration early on. Davinche - 'Dirty South' amazed me the first time I heard. I still have the radio show that I recorded, it was from Richie Vibe Vee's show on 1Xtra in 2003. Davinche was on as a guest and Dirty South was the first song he played, I was instantly hooked and loved his use of melody with orchestral instruments but kept hard-hitting drums. At the time it was like nothing I had heard before."
Darq E Freaker:
Active Minds - Hobson's Choice
"There wasn’t a track in particular that pushed me to start producing. At school, everyone had Fruity Loops on their computers at home and making tunes was more like a game. Everyone made beats. On the other hand what attracted me to grime was the hype that came with it and Jammer was the sickest guy back then, but ‘Hobson’s Choice’ was definitely the track that sealed the deal, if you know what I mean."
More Fire Crew - Oi
"'Oi' was one of the first tunes I heard just after the garage stage died down and grime was starting to take over. I think I was in Year 8 back then, I wasn't even making beats but looking back, it would have definitely inspired me to start. It's a mad question though, there's so many I could list."
Dom Perignon & Dynamite - Hungry Tiger
"When I heard it, the bass had echos that I'd never heard before and it was skippy as well which caught me off guard. When I first heard it, I literally went and made about 15 versions myself trying to re-create it. The effects definitely made me think about taking producing more seriously though - it was so simple, but so effective. That was definitely the track."
Wiley - Ice Rink
"It's just the essence of grime really. It doesn't stick to a set formula, it doesn't cater to any sort of crowd, it just uses abstract sounds to create something not intended for clubs or anything. It's just a mad, mad tune and for me, the essence of what grime is all about."
Macabre Unit - Slow Jam
"If I give it some real good thought, I'd say the tune that made me want to produce would have to be Macabre Unit's 'Slow Jam' due to it's construction. The sounds they used you could easily find in the music software program 'Reason' but the way they made use of those pre-set sounds would make you think about using what you have to the best of your ability. Even the flipside to it ('t's All About') is just a sub bass, a sine wave synth, claps, a kick drum and 1 or 2 percussion sounds but they made a beast of a tune just from the basics!"
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'Grime 2.0' is out now via Big Dada.
Words by Tomas Fraser