Missives from the intersection of rave, hip hop, dancehall and the infinite cosmos
This week I was alerted to the existance of a Dutch producer going by the name FS Green. I'm not at all sure what to call his style - the track I got sent was some sort of horn led bashment trap face off. It switched from sweet loverman chat on the verse to a chorus featuring a lairy yardie shouting about daggering and BUMBACLARTs. A look at Green's soundcloud reveals a whole load of weird style collisions, all impeccably produced. Most recent track 'Warrior' sounds like CanBlaster producing the theme tune for a Jamaican daytime soap opera, whilst further in 'Git Witt U' is some kind of ADHD 2 Step, part Cyril Hahn vocal detuning, part Daniel Beddingfield trying to skank with his shoelaces tied together. It seems like Green is combining techni-coloured musical innovation with heavy production skills, and I fully expect his profile to sky rocket this year.
Mumdance - Take Time
Hand on heart, I wasn't a big fan of Mumdance's recent comeback album - too much fiddly techno tinkering, and not enough dancefloor banging for my liking. Things seem right back on track with his latest EP for Rinse though, with MD jumping on the bubbling-under grime revival to great effect. The title track, Take Time has some flippin disgusting percussion, it also manages the classic grime trick of being simultaniously sparse as skunk chat, and intense as a gully estate. I'm not previously aware of the vocalist Novelist, but he's got a golden age grime flow, and the whole thing could have been ripped from a 2004 Risky Roads DVD. Which is always gonna be a good thing.
Skepta ft JME - That's Not Me
And talking of the grime revival... Thanks to Tim of Tim and Barry fame for correcting my winge that Skepta only releases bait tracks these days. 'That's Not Me' is all killer- Skepta's sharp elbowed flow, all right angles and hard stops, is a fire to thaw the frozen eski beat of his self produced riddim. This, right here, is the Skepta I've been missing. JME's verses aren't his best, but an indifferent verse from Jamie is worth a million bars from half the rest of the MCs in the scene. The big question though, is will he ever get sick of saying 'serious'..? I doubt it... Skepta's got an album, Konnichiwa, scheduled for later in the year, on this form it's looking promising.
Jah Banks - Hot Dis Year (Battle For Middle You Riddim)
This one's a bit of an anomaly - Brooklyn dancehall MC Jah Banks released a mixtape earlier this year that included a versioning of Julio Bashmore's evergreen 'Battle For Middle You'. Now some character by the name of DJ Select has got hold of Banks' version, extended and put it out there as a download. Does it work? Well, kinda. Banks sounds a little like your mate jumping on the mic at a house party and turning out to be better than you thought - the whole thing has an off-the-cuffness that's both charming and slightly amateurish. I'm not fully convinced, though I am interested enough to have filed the mixtape in the teetering 'to listen' pile. Worthy of note regardless:
Show Dem Camp - Happy Weekend
And finally, shout outs to Nigerian outfit Show Dem Crew for this low slung number. On the video the trio play the part of the bribe happy security guards you find sprawled across the roads of Lagos, 'happy weekend sah' being their familiar catchphrase. If I was 25 years younger, this would be the perfect playground saying to accompany mugging someone off. As it is I'll just have to use it round the Ransom Note office till I get slapped. The track's built on an addictive bass line, a sinuous techno worm, all further evidence that the West African hip hop scene is on fire right now.