For those of us that that followed the course of Grime throughout its wilderness years, from around 2007 witnessing MCs and producers say Grime was dead or dying, and abandoning the genre like rats leaving a burning ship, 2017 has been something of a momentous occasion, Grime is not only not dead, but positively flourishing.
Grime has been the buzz word of 2017, and WILEYS album “GODFATHER” was released in January to widespread critical and popular acclaim, it featured all star MC collaborations and some of my favourite producers such as MR VIRGO, my favourite track of album “BANG” WILEYS collaboration with GHETTS.
Although main stream attention has undoubtedly been positive in bringing attention, and interest to the genre, it comes with a caution, even Wiley purportedly saying to BBCs’ Newsbeat “the current sound enjoying mainstream success “is not grime”.”.
DIZZEE RASCALs’ RASKIT was released on DIRTY SKANK in July, and was intended as a Rap rather than specifically a Grime album, none the less came with some characteristically great grime tunes, my favourite being “SICK A DIS”.
My personal experience as a DJ and radio host was that some of the most exciting music of 2017, came in the form of unreleased dubs and releases on independent labels.
My 2017 began by being sent unreleased dubs by JT THE GOON. JT a founding member of SLEW DEM and a pioneer producer of the sound that came to be known as Grime, coproducer “Gunman Riddim” with Waifer which is one of the most iconic grime classics of all time.
JTs’ productions transcend Grime, his music appeals to people who don’t consider themselves fans of Grime as a genre, powerful, emotive, dynamic and exquisitely produced. His releases from previous years on OIL Gang such as KING TRITION were highly acclaimed an come highly recommended. “DEVOTION”, DUSTY, FLUX V, BPM X2 SPECIAL, all exquisite dubs, and the sublime GARDEN OF EDEN VIP, the original classic co produced by MURLO and released on OIL GANG.
TOP DOLLA from SLEW DEM MAFIA DJ/producer sent me a copy of “STILL FLEXIN ” his remix of his own classic “FLEXIN” which even years after its release, is played a least once at every Grime event, if not by every DJ on the line up. Towards the end of the year he invited me to the SLEW DEM MAFIA show on PYRO RADIO, more than a dream come true.
Respect out to TOP DOLLA, RAGE, KRAZE, CLIPSON, and KRUCIAL KID who guest MC’d. Playing B2B with TOP DOLLA is officially off my bucket list.
CLipsons’ track RELAPSE produced by TOP DOLLA is out now. THE SLEW DEM MAF EP and KRAZES EP will be forthcoming in early 2018, “COOL AND CALM” – SLEW DEM MAFIA video came out late DEC.
KRUCIAL KID old skool Grime MC and long time collaborator with SLEW DEM MAFIA honoured me by making a “TALK TOO MUCH” BPM DUB produced by NINJA MAN.
Another SLEW DEM related occurrence was the release of “2 CARS” ESCO (RIP) produced by S.K.!.T.Z BEATZ, and featuring CHRONIK, D DOUBLE and SKEPTA. Was a lovely tribute by all of them to ESCO who supported them back in early days.
SPOOKY BIZZLE, (no Grime year review for many many years could omit the mention of SPOOKY BIZZLE), ex member of SLEW DEM YOUNGERS, unrelenting workaholic with prolific output, DJing at raves, hosting radio, burning dubs, producing, hosting record labels, running MODE FM with J BEATZ. SPOOKY has been a back bone and provided a melting pot for Grime artists for many years, it is a mystery how he finds time to watch TV, yet another grime artist who doesn’t seem to sleep. He teased vinyl addicts at the very end of the year, by dropping just 5 copies each of GHOST HOUSE DUBS VOL 3 and 4,on 10 inch vinyl white label, the official release 300 copies of each will be released early 2018 available from BUTTERZ and a single SNOW FOREST/FUNKY DUB will also be forthcoming soon on OIL GANG.
J SWEET, original grime producer and label boss of pioneer Grime labels SWEET BEETZ and MARXMEN DUBS joined me in Resonance FM studios early in the year, giving insight into the early years and evolution of Grime, and passing me a copy of his unreleased dub “EXODUS” co produced with fellow Grime legend ALIAS.
Other excitement during the year was the return of BLACK OPS and ROADSIDE Gs’, both crews coming back with a vengeance and releases that packed punches. Also DJ Big Mikee long awaited Armageddon album finally dropped (see earlier blog) and DEADLY from STAYFRESH didn’t waste time before dropping bangers either.
One of the most acclaimed albums of the year was OUTBURSTS ON THE OUTSKIRTS by MANGA ST HILDARE produced by LEWI B, (personal commitments at the time of its release left me unable to blog about it) but the album was well documented and blogged about elsewhere.
KID D released his instrumental PAY HOMAGE EP PAY HOMAGE BLOG
SYER B released his instrumental MERK TOWN EP MERK TOWN BLOG
Most exciting MC beef of the year was the clash between DOT ROTTEN vs P MONEY an exhilarating vocal clash with finely sharped word swords, merciless and breath taking.
SHARKEY MAJOR and crew deserve a standing ovation for the GRIME ORIGIONAL events. I attended the one at FIRE in DEC, and it was one of the best events Ive been to in my life, seeing Grime artists from many different crews NASTY CREW, SLEW DEM, ROLL DEEP, NEWHAM GENERALS, MORE FIRE, BBK, MERIAN, AFTERSHOCK, WOLF PACK, RUFF SQWAD, ROADSIDE Gs, O.Ts, SPOOKY BIZZLE, DJ TARGET, TEDDY AKA SILENCER, too many to mention, some of them legends that I never thought I’d ever get to see perform live. RIP MAJOR ACE who sadly died in 2017.
Mid year I entered into a dubplate tournament (not mentioning any names), I asked producers and vocalists that I admire to send me unreleased and exclusive dubs. I was overwhelmed by the response, the levels were off the radar, I was sent tracks by Grime artists all over the world Russia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Wales, England, Japan, Andalucia, USA, Canada.
Nothing will ever convince me that I didn’t have the best dubplates in the whole tournament. However despite getting more public votes, more positive comments, more exclusives on my mix, judges told me I had been narrowly beaten in the semifinals by a producer/promoter who has good contacts and vocal tracks that could be used as a form of torture… I apparently lost because I should have done my homework and dug out the rules from last years tournament and read the small print where it said no rwds… though unimpressed with the result and unconvinced by the judges decision, what was most important to me, was not the result but the joy of being sent such phenomenal music. Not least “BANG YA HEAD” by PAKIN and YOUNGSTAR released on the 1 DEC and YOUNGSTARs’ DJ BPM SPECIAL ft PAKIN BLOG
“DON’T THROW PEARLS TO SWINE” mix is my tribute to all the artists who have sent me music for the tournament and throughout the year, it is mainly unreleased dubs and exclusives that can’t be heard elsewhere, though a few tracks have been released. Showcased on BlueDollarBillz channel youtube. Every track on the mix was there for a reason, every artist/producer featured because I believe they offer something unique, exciting and refreshing to Grime.
There is over 40 tracks on the mix, Youngstar, Pakin, JT THE GOON, S3, PAKZ, SLEW DEM MAFIA, MOJOE, JAKEBOB,C/O/MOS, SIR HISS, DULLAHBEATZ,DJ GARNA, VADER, MEREFORMALITY, VIGO.7R, DARX FEAT MR TRAUMATIC, THATHANDSOMEMIKE, MAJOR GRAVE, ROADSIDE GS, SCRULOOSE,ALARMIST, POLICY, YOUNG CHENCS AND THE FORCE, J SWEET AND ALIAS, TOP DOLLA ( SLEW DEM MAFIA), COTTI, BLVK COWBOYS, DUBZTA, FILTHY GEARS, PAKIN, BOYLAN, EL CARNICERO, SPOOKY BIZZLE, DUTTY TINGZ, SIRPIXALOT, EXPEAO AND BERNA, LKD , DEADLY DANJA, SIXTY P BEATZ FT P MONEY, MANUL AND ENERGYMAN, CHEMIST RNS, JOHN BROWN THE REBEL, MENTAL MIGZ, EONE AND ESKIMYTH.
BlVCK COWBOYS was the first to get an exclusive over to me, as soon as I heard it I knew I knew round 1 was over. Blvck Cowboys is putting in the work and over the course of the year it has been rewarding to see his natural raw talent blossom.
SIXTY P BEATZ also was one of the first to send me an exclusive vocal remix, a producer from Czech Republic who has earned his stripes, his Grime tunes productions are clout with sophistication, he can apply his hand to any genre and refuses to be pigeonholed. Unsurprisingly P MONEY rated the remix when he heard it.
Theres many producers who deserve more attention,none more so than DARX from Birmingham, one the finest, most unique heavyweight producers out there and the exclusive he sent me featuring MR TRAUMATIC on vocals is one of my fav tracks of 2017.
FILTHY GEARS has been a driving force in 2017 ambitious, talented and hard working 2017 wouldnt have been the same without his abundance of glorious and colourful diverse productions, (see previous blog), he not only sent me a personalised copy of my favourite tune of his “KNUCKLES” with vocals tags by AMBER SMITH, but permitted me to send another of his remixes “FILTHY HOE” to VADER. FILTHY GEARS – FILTHY GEARS ALBUM BLOG
VADER is one of the lynchpins of Midlands Grime, and the wardub he made me over FILTHYs GEARs’production “FILTHY HOE” (samples from DIZZEE RASCALS “Hoe”), edgy driving, and impassioned, showcasing VADERs sharp wit and word play.
JOHN BROWN THE REBEL is another producer who has been perfecting his craft with ingenuity, with the rise in Grimes popularity, there has also been a rise in copycat producers, diluting the scene, which is what makes producers like John Brown so essential bold fresh and not afraid to step out of the box.
MAJOR GRAVE is pioneering GRIME in Ireland, with releases on BID DADA & SULK Records, and now his own label Neva ready.
LKD of Seeerious Bass Crew,is a promoter/ producer from Kent, we meet at a Grime events he was promoting with SEERIOUS BASS and BUTTERZ in Ramsgate in the Music Hall, to my delight he started sending me eerily exquisite tunes.
SIR HISS is another producer who has been making exceptional grime, always quirky and unique, often themed grime remixes of obscure or traditional world music, one of my favourites being Red Army, his Grime remix of “Moscow Nights”, in November his SARCEN EP was released on ITALDRED
VIGO.7R, DUTTY TINGS, Creep N00M producers, DJ MOSCOW LEGEND and other RUSSIAN ARTISTS have been doing a lot in RUSSIA see my blog FROM RUSSIA WITH GRIME
EL CARNICERO of SLIT JOCKEY RECORDS (USA) sent me an exclusive for the tournament. Slit Jockeys were pioneers of Grime in USA, they have been showcasing, producing & promoting Grime stateside since 2015. SHARKEY, EL CARNICERO and DEV 79.
THATHANDSOME MIKE sent me some F*K OFF Bass tunesand eskibeats, including HEAVY HANDS which will be forthcoming on his album in 2018.
YOUNG CHENCS and THE FORCE – these guys were just incredible during the tournament, I asked me to make me a dub plate, they made two- just like that job done, and done in style.
PAKZ track “WORK HARD” is released and one of those tunes I binge listen to available as a free DL WORK HARD – PAKZ – FREE DL
SCRULOOSE great to hear him back on grime, one of the most exciting breakthrough producers who went off grid for a little in 2016, has returned with some bruisers.
MEREFORMALITY sent me the one of the most joyful, craziest mashups I ever heard , SISQOs’ THONG SONG vs STAND UP TALL by DIZZEE RASCAL produced by YOUNGSTAR, this track made a lot of 27 year old ladies very happy!
C/O/S/MOS sent me one of the grooviest dubs of 2017 “GIVE MAN A SLAP” feat (unofficially) JME
KRONZY isn’t on the mix but has been sending me some beautiful music and is definitely a producer to watch out for 2018
MENTAL MINKLES sent me some fine dubs including HYPE MEN remix, (though my opinion is he should stick to instrumentals).
SWIFTZ an MC with a lot of raw talent, and a unique style did me a vocal dub for the semi final.
EONE and ESKIMYTH did a clever and intricate track featuring WILEY samples which hark back to early Grime days when WILEY and GODS GIFT had “a problem”.
SLIMZOS and ROTPOT Records are two labels (see past blog) that have had astronomical impact and output in 2017, phenomenal music, every artist on there pushing Grime forward, BOYLAN, DJ GARNA,TRENDS, POLICY making beats that rattle your bones to the core, fun in a kind of turning into a road drill while on acid kinda way. ASIFKID, SIRPIXALOT, USF, SLIMZEE, DUBZTA, DJ VADER… and many more, take your pick there isn’t a bad track or bad producer on either label. ROTPOT BLOG SLIMZOS 011 BLOG
DUBZTA – is another producer who has been putting in work relentlessly and 2017 saw him come through with some heavy releases like “FIGHT CLUB” , his remix of CASPAs’ “GET HIGHER” and DJ WIREs’ classic “BELIEVE ME” is a Percy.
DEADLY DANJA is another producer to watch out for 2018, emotively powerful and stiring tunes.
GRIME DISIPLE who has been pushing forward and showing casing upcoming talent for time now on his soundloud account, so the next logical thing was to start up a label WHYSZ. In the past he attracted my attention to names such as CREEP N00M, BLISS, RAPTURE 4D,INVADER SPADE, KAMI-O and many more so expect a lot.
CHEMIST RNS (one half of TRIPLE S) sent me an exclusive dub that is “to die for” with catwoman samples, it blew me away and drops like a bomb.
MOJOE and CHEMIST RNS have already been mentioned in previous blogs because of their outstanding contribution to Grime and Bass music over recent years. Their second album CHAMELEON AUDIO 2 came out right at the end of 2017 and features 30 tracks, another choice selection of diverse and bass heavy music, pushing the scene forward and supporting new talent including prodigy MC/DJ/producer JAKEBOB. CHEMIST RNS – MADCHEN EP BLOG TRIPLE S – PULL UP ALBUM BLOG
MANUL and ENERGY from ANDALUCIA, have been making big strides, pioneers of grime in IBERIA “Povenga” out now on CHAMELEON AUDIO 2 and their AK47 EP also released on CHAMELEON AUDIO earlier in the year. Was great to meet MANUL at MEANSTREETs TAKEOVER and celebration of RICO DANs birthday, in Dalston, with an impeccable line up, featuring many legends in the game and talented artists including RICO, DOK, TRENDS, HITMAN HYPER, TERROR DANJAH, PJAM, BOYLAN, CAPO LEE, HI5GHOST, BOOFY, SWARE, BOOFY, LOGAN SAMA, MR DUBZ and more, was a fun event and hope there will be more in 2018.
Another producer who has given me much delight is MISTAKAY, not least his cheeky (unofficial) remix of Soft Cell’s “TAINTED LOVE”
2017 has also been the year for GRIME VINYL comeback, which makes my heart sing.
WHITE PEACH record label continues to bring out vinyl after vinyl, venturing into the sublime, dreamscape journey into musical landscapes with artist such as ZHA, BENGAL SOUND, SUKH KNIGHT,TAIKO, MOREOFUS, NEFFA-T, OPUS etc
FUTURE CURSE “the Grime scene curator” and grime connoisseur,his mix series on Mixcloud is a living evolving audio database of contemporary grime djs and dj/producers.
There many many others djs, producers, mcs’ and labels doing amazing things in grime and I just haven’t had hours in the day to list and link them all, check out my previous blogs to read more about SYER B, KID D, EXPEAO BERNA, Sirpixalot and Grime in Portugal, and more.
Grime has been so fruitful this year its impossible to credit everyone who has worked hard, MISTAKAY, WESTY, CHRIS HOLNESS and GLOBAL GRIME, ARMOR, BLACK JACK, THE MIDLANDS MUSIC SCENE, ROB DRAGON LAIR MUSIC, SILK CITY RADIO, 140 SHOW, OIL GANG, BOXED, ELIJAH, SKILLIAM, LVLZ RADIO, POLONIS, GALLUS ONE, RAPTUTRE 4D, TIATSIM, MODE FM, J BEATZ, BEAT BOSS, RADAR RADIO, ARGUE, REPREZENT RADIO, PYRO RADIO, LORD VISHNU, DEATH KISS MEDIA, RINSE, JAMMZ, 1XTRA, TREBLE CLEF, STORMZY,CAPO LEE, LOGAN SAMA, SKEPTA, BIG NARSTIE, JME, FLAVA D, SOUTHPOINT, PROJECT ALL OUT RECORDS ETC.
Congratulations to SIR SPYRO his GRIME SHOW now on BBC 1XTRA. Thank you to RESONANCE 104.4FM for giving me the opportunity to showcase Grime as an art form to global audiences (Monday midnight/00hrs Tuesay morning) and to QBASEFM FM who broadcast my DARKER DARAGE show every Sunday fortnight at 9pm, thank you DJ KINGSMALLZ for inviting me to PYRO RADIO and MODE FM … and shouts to to the people Ive forgotten forgive me I haven’t enough hours in the day …
2017 has been an abundant year for GRIME.