Whilst the focus of this column has been at times more concerned with grime’s instrumental output, July brought about the year’s most promising news to date for MCs, with a flurry of high-profile signings sparking positive debate.
Big Dada, so long a vital outlet for the genre, announced that Wiley (pictured) would be returning to the label after his ill-fated stint with Warner, and the label also secured the services of hotly-tipped Canadian MC Tre Mission on a three-album deal, the first of which is expected early next year.
Elsewhere, the all-conquering Black Butter announced the signing of Scrufizzer, with his debut single ‘Kick It’ due to be released at the end of September. Merky ACE, still fresh from releasing his debut LP back in May, has been busy too, joining forces with Last Japan on the excellent ‘Paid In Full’ and releasing a video for 'Are You Mad x Unlimited Flows', the latest single to be taken from 'All Or Nothing' (watch it here).
On the instrumental front, a spate of releases from producers right across grime’s ever-expanding spectrum ensured July was a busy month. Deeco, JME's hit-maker of choice over the last year or so, offered up his storming debut four-track EP ‘Power Up’, whilst Dexplicit followed up his bass-themed EP series with latest three-tracker, ‘Love Music Hate Bassism’.
Elsewhere, Visionist continues to impress with his latest EP, ‘Snakes', released by German imprint Leisure System – the title track is an absolute revelation. Eight-bar maestro Trends has also been hard at work with his latest EP, ‘Power Of The Darkside', released on Project Allout towards the back end of the month – surely a debut vinyl beckons for him soon.
Last Japan’s grime-flavoured ‘Darsk’ EP also made waves in July. Look out for the groove-laden stomper ‘Float', too.
Events wise, Butterz continued their series of Jamz club nights at The Alibi in Dalston, with the latest seeing iconic selector Slimzee take to the decks; whilst Mumdance's Different Circles nights also provided some grimy respite with Spyro, Murlo and Slackk all included on July’s line-ups.
Looking ahead, Boxed heads to Birthdays in Dalston on August 21st with a guest set from Mr Charizma.
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Top Five Tracks Of The Month
Wiley – ‘Flying’
Wiley returns to Big Dada with a new single that sees serial hit-maker Z-Dot bring the heat. As he says himself on the hook, “I’m back where I wanna be.” Banger. (Listen to ‘Flying’ on SoundCloud)
Visionist – ‘Snakes’
Powerful, gunshot-laden grime from Visionist, who works such a uniquely evocative, almost melancholy sound. Incredible.
Last Japan feat. Merky ACE – ‘Paid In Full’
Great to see Last Japan making grime. Here he works a dark and moody, eski-leaning cut that provides the perfect platform for Merky to bring the vocal ammunition. Killer hook, too.
JT The Goon – ‘Grime Orchestra’
One of those tunes that surfaces now and again that makes you reassess the way you digest grime. Stunningly emotive, mind-blowing stuff.
Trends – ‘Night & Day’
More lethal instrumental weaponry from Trends, who is quickly establishing himself as a go-to name for 8-bar wizardry. Monstrous. (Preview it as part of the ‘Power Of The Darkside’ EP)
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Words: Tomas Fraser
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