“An array of bright young pretenders has been joining forces with established talent, which is giving the scene unstoppable momentum.
Ghetts’s Calm Before The Storm mixtape (360) sees the popular Plaistow MC leave behind the ultra-violence of 2008’s Freedom Of Speech. His bristling intensity survives and he has honed punchlines through ‘clashes’ (in grime terms his recent battles with P Money were as big news as the general election). Ghetts has matured and his tracks analyse keeping it ‘grime’ and making no money versus mainstream progress, while My Sperm is a surreal putdown to imitators. The r’*’b chorus on We Control, featuring Devlin, hints at future possibilities. Ghetts’s USPs are his unhinged demeanour (live, he’s a sight to behold) and wince-inducing lyrics (he references suicide bombers and the Twin Towers here). As he finds his place in the glossy world of grime 2.0, let’s hope he doesn’t lose his edge.
Seventeen-year-old Maxsta is the latest prodigy on grime’s teen-MC production line: he’s been anointed by grime’s illuminati (Wiley, Ghetts, Terror Danjah and Bless Beats) and his music has featured on Logan Sama, Westwood and Mistajam’s radio shows. The Maxtape (Uptown) proves his lyrical mettle and versatility: Back To Grime calls out grime artists doing pop who ‘ain’t even got grime on their phone’. East London sees Maxsta proclaim his ‘bars are hotter than a Bunsen’, while The Reason is a radio/girl-friendly r’*’b jam. I Promise, a pledge to his mum that he’ll do his homework and prove himself, is cute but disconcerting if you’re old enough to vote. Once you get past Maxsta’s barely broken voice, you can see why he’s been tipped to ‘do a Tinchy’.
Despite grime’s MC-dominated image, the No Hats No Hoods label is fighting the producers’ corner by releasing Rude Kid’s instrumental-only Are You Ready? LP. Rude Kid’s own remix of his anthemic UFO brings together a jittery rhythm, jabbering short-circuiting effects and punishing bass; Dentist intersperses hi-NRG bassline house with analogue bleeps and taut synths; Jack Daniels melds whirring, breathless techno around a contorting tower of bass; the meditative Space Dance dissolves warm reggae chords into aqueous electronic melodies as a sub-bass behemoth pulsates beneath. Are You Ready?’s bold, other-worldly dubs are utterly compelling without an MC and proof that Rude Kid is more than ready to move onwards and upwards.
The affable Terror Danjah has been a top grime producer for years, so much so that electronica label Planet Mu released an essential retrospective, Gremlinz, late last year. Danjah recently posted a free Grime & Dubstep mix on Mixcloud (www.mixcloud.com/terrordanjah), showcasing forthcoming material and current bangers. Danjah’s What Would I Do sees Badness sing-jaying over lumbering bass; Slang Like This brings together Sukh Knight’s Bollywood-sampling dubstep and P Money’s lingo lesson. Danjah’s audio stamp (the sound of Gremlins cackling) crops up on Power Grid, while his remix of Swindles’ Airmiles combines funky Afrobeat with nose-twitching electro. This mix reflects the fluidity between dubstep and grime, and Danjah’s consistently agenda-setting productions, which you can also sample on Kode9’s Hyperdub label and at Glastonbury this summer.”