In and amongst the usual slew of activity, September was largely dominated by grime's impromptu mass producer war that saw old and new come together in what became a very welcome ode to the genre's clash mentality, a historically defining feature of grime's sonic make-up. Instigated by the old guard, the war was dominated by the new with names like Kahn & Neek, Visionist, Samename, Flava D and Trends taking top billing once the talking stopped. That said, well over 100 producers from the world over took part and, generally speaking, the clashes acted as an ironically unitive force, bringing together all the elements that make instrumental grime such a varied and, moreover, essential movement to keep your eye on.
The clashes inspired radio too, with a live producer special running on Logan Sama's Kiss FM slot and an additional competition on Threnody's Sub FM show that saw new wave heavyweights like Rabit and Breen pitted against one other in a riddim-based battle for bragging rights. You can also listen back to the best of the lot in DJ Cable & DJ Magic's specially curated 'War Report' mix.
War dubs aside, September also bore witness to the return of Treble Clef, a producer still championed for his seminal grime anthem 'Ghetto Kyote', who released 15-track instrumental mixtape 'Treble's Diary Chapter 1' through Spyro's Dragon Punch imprint. There were also new releases from 8-bar maestro Trends, whose 'Green Forest' remixes EP saw Spooky, Masro, Zha, Hi5Ghost and Mystry provide the ammunition, whilst Visionist's Lost Codes imprint was again busy, this time releasing Saga's debut EP 'Crescent'. At five tracks long, it's moody, hell-raising eski madness at full tilt and right up there with Rabit's 'Double Dragon' as one of the year's best – some way to introduce yourself. Elsewhere Slackk's long awaited 'Failed Gods' EP finally saw release via Local Action, a seven tracker that includes the raucous, system shaking 8-bar anthem 'Shogun Assassin'.
On the MC front, the tragic news of Depzman's passing was met with a series of moving tributes to the young lyricist as the grime scene mourned one of it's most promising talents. A prominent member of Midlands crew 'Invasion Alert', his self-released debut mixtape '2 Real' soon rocketed up the charts as news spread and is still available, and very much recommended, to download on ITunes. Our condolences are with his friends and family.
Elsewhere, September saw JME release new single 'Integrity' after debuting it live on Westwood's Crib Sessions, whilst C4 teamed up with Roska on the garage-flavoured club banger 'Change'.
In events news, we look ahead to Boxed and Butterz room takeovers at Fabric in October and November respectively but September did see another instalment of fledgling start-up Block24 in the capital. New wave trailblazers Zha, Darko, Kakarot, Levo were joined by Spooky, Treble Clef, Benny Ill and El-B, as well as hotly-tipped MC and producer Novelist at The Shelter in Dalston – definitely a night to keep tabs on.
Top 5 Tracks of the Month:
JME – Integrity
What is there left to say about JME? More gold from an MC who only ever seems to get better and better.
Saga – Crescent
Could have picked any one of the tracks from his debut EP but 'Crescent' preaches the hellish, hoods-up-eyes-down gospel the loudest. Devastating.
Treble Clef – Blue Slimz
Great to see Treble Clef back producing and Blue Slimz is a cracker. Taken from new mixtape 'Treble's Diary Chapter 1'.
AUDIO: (Preview as part of full mixture)
Altered Natives – Rite La (War Dub)
An unlikely name and an even more unlikely war dub but Altered Natives' tongue-in-cheek send for Slackk resulted in one of our favourite war dubs – listen out for the Brookside sample too. Monstrous.
Roska feat. C4 – Changed
Put out on Roska's 'Shocking' EP for Rinse, this was a meeting of minds waiting to happen. Smooth, polished and catchy, it bears all the hallmarks of a potential underground smash.
Words: Tomas Fraser
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