Grime Tracker #2: Grime Disco, Upcoming Slowthai Record & More
Written by Dylan Reynolds on May 12, 2019
The past few months have seen no shortage of news from the grime and UK hip hop scene, with new music coming out regularly and big-name artists continuing to squabble back and forth. This piece will hopefully bring you up to speed, as a big summer for grime is awaits around the corner.
“My Mixtape is Dead” video mixes grime and disco
Designer and illustrator Joe Prytherch (aka Mason London) has developed a distinctive style through his work with musicians and other media providers. While his illustrations aren’t particularly grimy, they’ve definitely caught the attention of grime artists, including Wiley, who recently hired Prytherch to design the cover artwork for his “Boasty” single.
But in March, Prytherch proved his talents extend beyond visual art, releasing a 35-minute YouTube video that is essentially a mixtape. The video puts classic grime vocals over disco instrumentals, and it surprisingly sounds really good. With 13 grime songs and a variety of disco instrumentals to supplement them, this is a mashup you won’t wanna miss.
Slowthai announces debut album out May 17
Anticipation is building for the May 17 release of “Nothing Great About Britain,” the debut album from Northampton rapper/grime MC Slowthai. With just an EP and some singles to his name, Slowthai has already won the approval of the music press, who love his heartfelt lyrics and jittery delivery.
In the lead-up to “Nothing Great About Britain,” Slowthai has dropped two tracks — “Peace of Mind” and “Gorgeous” — which are among his best material yet. Both songs feature lyrics about the struggles of growing up in a low-income area and are accompanied by creative, seemingly low-budget videos.
Wiley feuds with Drake over embrace of UK culture
After bringing a number of grime MCs and British rappers on stage during his recent UK tour, Drake found himself at odds with grime “godfather” Wiley, who accused the well-known Canadian of being a “culture vulture” for his embrace of UK culture.
Drake responded in an interview on BBC 1Xtra, calling out Wiley by name and saying, “I see a lot and I’ll never understand how supporting somebody’s song or even going a step further and giving somebody a song or linking up. I’ll never understand how that’s not viewed as something admirable but I guess people have their own outlook on it.”
The beef seems to be fairly docile though, as Wiley later wrote on Twitter that he enjoys Drake’s music and wouldn’t put him down. Perhaps Wiley’s comments have something to do with Drake’s allegiance to Skepta, the grime MC who has recently been going back and forth with Wiley in a separate beef.
Devlin pays tribute to pirate radio on new album
On his new album “The Outcast,” Devlin throws it back to the classic era of grime with a song emulating a pirate radio set. The aptly-titled “Pirate” (featuring Syer B) features an old-school beat and purposely cheap-sounding recording technology. At the beginning of the song, Devlin even pretends to be checking if the microphone is on and raps about the possibility of technical problems during his verse.
When it’s time for Syer B’s turn on the mic, Devlin announces his co-MC “just walked in the place.” It’s a fun throwback, a sort of novelty track that still holds up to today’s grime.
Skepta announces new album “Ignorance is Bliss”
Skepta has announced the follow-up to his Mercury-Prize-winning album “Konnichiwa,” “Ignorance is Bliss” will be out May 31. The MC has gained worldwide attention in the past several years for hit party songs like “Shutdown” and “That’s Not Me,” as well as high-profile collaborations with Drake and A$AP Rocky.
Details about the album are few, but the cover art shows thermal photos of people’s hands doing a variety of things — holding hands, holding a gun, putting up the middle finger, etc. No singles have been released as of yet, but the musical direction Skepta chooses for this project will certainly play a significant role in his legacy as a grime artist.