The festive season often tends to provoke a flurry of activity amongst Grime's biggest and best and 2012 has proved no different. New EPs from scene heavyweights Preditah and Spooky have dominated the instrumental side of things, whilst Ruff Sqwad's 'White Label Classics' compilation has arguably been one of the releases on the year across the entire electronic spectrum. Further EPs from Midlands talent Rynsa Man and a free offering from the ever-consistent J Beatz are also worthy of mention.
On the MC front, Skepta's 'Blacklisted' has won huge critical acclaim over the last few weeks, whilst MIK compiled and released his 'Exhibits' freestyle series. Lord of the Mics IV has also been a seasonal talking point after its release on December 10th.
Events wise, December saw Boiler Room debuts for Butterz quartet Elijah & Skilliam, Swindle and Royal-T as well as an iconic Ruff Sqwad takeover to celebrate the release of White Label Classics, featuring incredible performances from a whole host of DJs and MCs. The fact that grime was granted its chance to shine on what is now one of electronic music's most revered online media platforms illustrates the strides the genre has taken over the last 12 months in particular. Looking ahead to New Year's Eve, the aforementioned Butterz quarter play Basement 45 in Bristol whilst legendary producer Dexplicit plays alongside Champion and Lil Silva at Sheffield's Bunga Bunga.
Top 5 Tunes of the Month:
Preditah - Skank
The pick of the tracks on his new 'Gears of Grime' EP. Incredible, warped, space-age grime from the scene's stand-out producer.
Walter Ego & Darkstorm feat K.Dot and Coco - Who I Am
Greazy, stripped back instrumental from Girls Music protege Walter Ego, complete with hype-led bars from K.Dot and Coco. Surefire favourite in the dance.
Wiley - Step 17 (Produced by Preditah)
The latest of Wiley's classic 'Step' freestyles and probably the best yet. Just incredibe.
Sir Spyro feat Footsie - Nightshift
Producer of arguably the year's best remix in Bok Bok's Silo Pass, Spyro teams up with Footsie on 'Nightshift', a dark and gritty dubstep-leaning club monster.
Ruff Sqwad - Functions On The Low
It was always going to be difificult to leave Ruff Sqwad out, despite the track being nearly a decade old. Hailed by Dan Hancox as “quite simply one of the greatest tracks in the history of British electronic music” in the Guardian, it stands proudly as one of the grime's true masterpieces.
Words by Tomas Fraser