Son Raw doesn’t remember his 18th birthday
2015 is Novelist’s to lose. He’s got top producers in his corner, the game’s biggest independent labels backing him and a flow accessible to a generation that’s more Piratebay than Pirate Radio. A few years ago, this would have been enough, but at a time when Grime is both blowing up commercially thanks to Heavytrackerz style anthems and thriving in the underground thanks to a swell of new production talent, we expect nothing less than Boy in the Corner quality AND cross over sales. No pressure. With that in mind, 1 sec is both a reaction to expectations and a high wire balancing act—it’s darker than Take Time on Rinse or anything on The Square’s Formula mixtape, but the hooks are still catchy, the flow still liquid. It probably won’t silence the hardcore detractors, nothing ever does, but for anyone on the fence or who thinks he previously leaned a bit too heavily on bars to hype up a set, this is the reality rap reminder that Lewisham isn’t sweet.
Mumdance is 1 Sec’s secret weapon. By my count the instrumental samples heavy machinery, duct tape, barking dogs, rain, someone falling down an elevator shaft, scuffed shoes and electric drill. Oh, and an 808 and occasional synth just so this still qualifies as a beat instead of musique concrete. You can rap about a heist or you can rap about a warehouse rave, but I think this might be the first time anyone’s ever made a beat out of a warehouse heist.
The 1 Sec EP drops today. Novelist also turns 18 today. Rae Srem who?