Son Raw’s arrival in London is imminent.
It’s been a hard couple of years for London emcees. For every P-Money launching his career there are 10 no-names spitting bars on Youtube and for every German Whip, there’s 10 bait trap tunes that do little but replicate the Atlanta sound with a different accent. Throw in diminishing returns from established names and it’s unsurprising that every recent mention of Grime comes with an “instrumental” prefix. Despite the odds however, there’s still notable talent emerging from the UK capital and two vocalists are entering the summer with potential hits on their hands.
The pairing of LV and Josh Idehen isn’t new to the scene, but they’ve been in the shadows long enough for memories of Primary Colours and Northern Line to fade. Consider Imminent a re-introduction: written from the perspective a teenager about to put a bullet in another, it captures the tension and danger of old school gangster rap without falling prey to the sensationalism currently dominating the form, serving as a warning rather than a celebration. Stylistically, LV’s beat combines the Caribean and African influences that they’ve explored in their own work, but it marries those sounds to the cold, digital synthesizers of Grime’s original school. It’s Idehen’s vocal technique that steals the show however: part rap, part spoken word, part cut-up, it’s a whirlwind of repetition and stutters, as excitable and charged as the character he portrays. It all makes for a potent song, damaging in the club and in the headphones – a great first look at their upcoming LP.
While Idehen and LV operate in parallel to the Grime world, Lewisham MC Novelist has got his sights dead on the scene’s center. Spitting over sets from legends and newcomers alike, he’s generated a ton of attention in a very short time, making his Rinse Recordings debut alongside Mumdance an anticipated one. While it won’t be a surprise for those who’ve followed this blog, Take Time is a winner – combining wry observations about flashy emcees to classic brags and boasts. Serious and self-assured, it’s the rare tune that makes maturity and level-headedness sound fun. The secret is all in the flow, Novelist’s love of words and ability to twist them into new shapes elevating the tune beyond standard emcee subject matter. Extra points for Mumdance reinterpreting Dizzee Rascal’s classic synthesized madness through his own analogue set up, wracking up another strong collaboration without getting in the way of Nov’s bars. Instrumental what, now?