If there’s one quality which defines the career of Peckham rapper Giggs, it’s perseverance. This is the characteristic that has seen him rise from selling mixtapes to a niche audience of dedicated UK rap fans, to playing stages at festivals across the UK, while collaborating with the likes of B.o.B, Waka Flocka Flame, and now, on ‘Landlord', Usher protégé Rico Love. All achieved while undergoing persistent targeting of his shows by the police, as well as legal troubles in the run up to 2013’s ‘When Will It Stop’.
Having parted from renowned UK label XL, the artist returns with an album that is intended, he says, to focus on the quality of the music rather than chasing sales, and represent the scene from which he emerged. On this count, it certainly delivers, with multiple features from ‘Ard Bodied’ partner Dubz, as well as Tottenham grime MC turned horrorcore rapper CASisDEAD, current underground favourite Stormzy and a laidback instrumental from SN1 affiliate Boom Productions on one of the album’s highlights, ‘Slippin’.
Unfortunately, however, the release’s adherence to this false dichotomy, and one which has often marked the UK rap and grime scenes since their inception, of commercial viability versus artistic integrity, limits its potential. As shown by the historic success of Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Boy In Da Corner’, as well as the more recent anticipation surrounding Trim’s 1800-Dinosaur collaboration, the key choice facing UK emcees in this era is between conservatism and experimentation.
In this respect, Giggs has certainly chosen the safety of the former approach, and delivers an album which hits a lot of the right notes – assisted by lush beats from grime veteran Smasher and Birmingham’s Swifta Beater – but which rarely steps outside the boundaries of the flow the rapper utilised most effectively on 2015’s ‘Nutcrackerz’. Consequently, while by no means poor, this album does little to advance the reputation he has already secured, as one of the UK’s most reliable rap suppliers.
Words: Alex McFadyen
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