At a time when grime is kind of everywhere, it might be easy to get behind man like Drake, who ultimately want to boil grime’s essence down to tracksuits, slang and road talk into an easy to quantify, identikit-roadman-based-commodity – but you shouldn’t. Throughout its history, the genre has been far more than an aggressive form of music made by aggressive people.
Beyond the bravado, ego and casual ultraviolence so often perpetrated by grimes lyricists, there’s often something more lying beneath the surface. Whilst we’re all familair with ‘Together’ – there’s a whole heap of grime that goes a little deeper. With this in mind, we curated four grime tracks that make ya think:
Kamakaze and Massappeals – ‘Where’s The Love My G’
Kamakaze and Massappeals‘ Royal Blud – released on persistently unconventional label Astral Black back in March – is a great listen. Whilst the bravado and bars across the release are all well and good, it’s the softer tracks on the release – acknowledging the RnG revival currently sweeping through grime – that make the biggest impact.
Perhaps the most memorable song on the EP is ‘Where’s The Love My G’ – an almost *conscious* track, which expresses what far more MCs should be expressing in an incredibly listenable format. Kamakaze’s ponderous bars make the track a lowkey banger, as he expresses an incredibly honest desire for peace, love and understanding that we can all learn from.
Special mention to ‘Wifey’ from the same release, ‘cus even top UK grime MCs can get sad about girls :’(
K9 – Stress
K9 is an MC who’s actually done road, and upon his release from prison in 2014, he released Mad In The Cut – a mixtape characterized by an experimental strain of forward thinking production, and brutally honest commentary on life on the road.
Whilst this commentary is more often than not portrayed through ultraviolent imagery, the cathartic outpouring of ‘Stress’ stands amongst the album’s rough edge. The track stands out against the rest of Mad In The Cut, as a poignant reflection on the grief and stress of the consequences of life and death on road.
Backed up by production from Darko and Visionist, the track is a sobering – but nonetheless blood-boilingly angry – tribute to K9’s deceased best friend Vager. and the abject anger, isolation, and depression felt in his absence.
Durrty Goodz – letter To Titch
If you’ve made any kind of dalliance into grime’s rich mythology, you’ll be familiar with Crazy Titch’s infamous appetite for beef – which ultimately led to a thirty-year prison sentence. Whilst his actual involvement in the murder of Richard Holmes is still a hot topic of discussion, it’s perhaps T’s estranged brother Durrty Goodz’ ‘Letter To Titch’ that best portrays the situation.
Crazy Titch wanted beef with everyone, and it held him back, but Durrty Goodz powerful, heartfelt bars, backed up by an incredibly melancholic, lo-fi beat on ‘Letter To Titch’ expose a far more human side to Crazy T. Allowing the bad boy talk, Durrty tearjerkingly focuses on humanising T – speaking of his relationship with T’s son, the troubled circumstances of their earlier life together, and of everyone that misses him.
At the end of the day, Crazy Titch was just a normal guy who got in too deep, and ‘Letter To Titch’ is a sobering reminder of the fact.
Dizzee – Do It
Boy In Da Corner is a bait as fuck selection, but it’s bait for all the right reasons. Whilst on the surface, Dizzee Rascal’s 2003 debut album Boy In Da Corner (which, arguably, is still yet to be topped by a grime album) was the first big release to establish grime as it’s own distinctive genre.
Even today, the endz-centric fables told across the album will ring true to any and all listeners, but it’s underplayed closer ‘Do It’ that really goes that extra mile deeper. whilst it’s off-kilter, 90s rpg-esque beat might throw the casual listener off, Dizzee bared his all on this track. In just over four minutes, Dizzee summed up just what everyone who just wants to get the fuck out of their ends and do better in life feels.