April has proved to the busiest month of the year so far in the world of grime, with a whole slew of releases, both instrumental and MC-driven, setting the pace. New singles from both Kozzie and Teddy & C4, a free mixtape from P-Money and a debut vinyl outing from Mr Mitch on Shiftee’s stateside imprint ‘Hot Mom USA’ have all garnered significant interest. Elsewhere, Spyro released new 7-track EP ‘Sounds of The Sir’ through in-house label ‘Dragon Punch’, whilst J Beatz, ahead of his release on Slit Jockey next month, released ‘Four The People’, a four-track refix EP featuring a glorious remix of Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Strings Hoe’. Dullah Beatz, one of the genre’s fiercest new producer-talents, has also been busy, releasing a free Refix EP of his own; ‘Dullah Refix’ is probably the toughest instrumental offering I’ve heard so far this year. Looking ahead to May, DJ Eastwood’s 8-bar classic ‘U Ain’t Ready’, with remixes from Spooky and Hemlock’s Untold, is set to be released via No Hats No Hoods alongside new EPs from J Beatz and Royal-T, who returns to Rinse for the first time since his debut LP with the label last summer.
On The MC front, aforementioned efforts from Kozzie (‘Still Here’) and Teddy & C4 (‘Gravity’) plus a thugged-out new single from Chronik (‘Deepest Darkest’) were headline-grabbers, as was P-Money’s 5-track ‘#MAD’ EP; stand-out track ‘Calories’ features guest vocals from Kozzie and a murky instrumental cut from scene heavyweight Preditah. Looking ahead, Merky Ace’s new LP ‘All Or Nothing’, out in May, looks set to be one of the biggest of 2013.
April has also been a good month for mixes, with Royal-T putting out a thoughtfully-curated, expertly delivered ‘Eski’ inspired mix, whilst Butterz label-mate Skilliam announced new series ‘100%’ - the first installment looked to Boy Better Know figurehead Skepta for inspiration, working the best of his classic vocal and instrumental cuts into a near 40-minute mix. Slackk, fresh from releasing latest EP ‘Minor Triads’ on Unknown To The Unknown, has also maintained a healthy mix output. Simply uploaded to his Soundcloud at the beginning of each month, each mix explores the genre’s newer, darker (and often eski-tinged) exploratory side, shedding light onto new producer talent from all over the globe in the process.
Events wise, the news that London’s ‘Cable’ nightclub, home of the iconic Butterz residency amongst others, is to close with immediate effect is no doubt a worrying omen for London’s clubbing landscape; on a personal note, it was one of my favourite venues in the capital. That aside, looking forward, a new installment of ‘Boxed’, the new instrumental-only night run by Slackk and friends, sees Logos, Mr Mitch, Oil Gang, Grandmixxer and Slackk play Brixton’s Plan B on May 24th whilst Flava D, fresh from releasing her debut 12’’, is to take over Butterz-curated night ‘Jamz’ at The Alibi on May 31st.
TOP 5 TRACKS OF THE MONTH
P-Money feat. Kozzie – Calories
The stand-out track from new Mixtape ‘#MAD’, ‘Calories’ sees P flow at his optimum – underpinned by a slick instrumental cut from Preditah and with guest vocals from Kozzie, it’s sure-fire grime gold.
DJ Eastwood – U Ain’t Ready Not out until May and originally produced back in 2003, the sheer majesty of Eastwood’s 8-bar stomper alone is enough – monstrous.
Mr Mitch – On The Blob
Far more up-tempo than the majority of his recent cuts, the lead track on Mr Mitch’s debut 12’’ works 4x4 kicks and rhythm to create an unlikely dancefloor smash.
J-Beatz vs Dizzee Rascal – Sargent vs Strings Hoe
He’s not the first to try his hand at remixing Dizzee’s classic instrumental, (Keysound’s Wen’s effort is equally as superb), but J Beatz blends forthcoming track ‘Sargent’ with ‘Strings Hoe’ in heavyweight, typically hype-driven fashion. Banger.
Teddy feat. C4 – Gravity
An esteemed hit-maker, Teddy remains one of the genre’s cornerstone producers and is often a first calling point for beat-hungry MCs. Latest hit ‘Gravity’ features guest vocals from C4, who works a catchy hook and signature flow predictably well – a great track.
Words by Tomas Fraser