Son Raw lick two shot in a pagan’s head
My immediate reaction after hearing Royal-T’s Shotta EP was to hit up Butterz’ Elijah to tell him it might be the best thing his label has ever released, a conversation that led to our debating Butterz’ top 5. Mine trended towards personal favourites, but Elijah mentioned that some records held a special place in his heart because they allowed artists to build real careers—that’s the kind of thing I’d never think of when considering a 12″ single.
I’m not sure if a single record launched Royal-T’s career. His initial run of remixes and original productions culminated in a truly underrated production showcase/album for Rinse FM, and I honestly don’t think there was a wack tune in the lot. Since then, he’s been a bit quieter on the production front while perfecting his DJing both in clubs and on radio where he’s been blending bassline, grime, garage and attitude-era WWF references in equal measure. On one hand it’s great that the guy can legitimately make his life spinning music, on the other I’ve wanted to see him throw his hat in the ring against the grime producers who’ve been making waves since he first came on the scene.
With that in mind, the Shotta EP isn’t so much a return to form as a reminder that Royal-T absolutely needs to be in the mix when it comes to the best second generation grime producers, no matter what styles are in vogue at the moment. The title track, as an instrumental and vocalled twice, is an absolute banger—music made out of fire alarms, sub bass and gun shots. P-Money’s version is my personal favorite, reprising the chemistry they shared on “Boo You.” If there was ever a producer/emcee duo I’d like to see a bigger statement from, it’s these two.
Glacier is the other highlight— bittersweet sinogrime tune that references everything from Wiley’s devil mixes to LTJ Bukem-era jazzy jungle to the airy pads of early 808 state without sounding derivative. It’s the ‘softest’ Royal-T tune yet, but the original version still bangs and buzzes like a hoard of bees. Crucially, it still absolutely sounds like Butterz music—club friendly and banging rather than abstract or obtuse. There’s a ton of mileage and territory to explore in that wave.