Son Raw’s April Grime Wrap Up

Son Raw covers the best in grime and club music for April including SRC, Fresh Paul, Skepta and Snø Recordings.
By    May 1, 2015

grime wrap-up

Son Raw reporting live from Kino Café in Bristol

I was so busy getting ready to fly to England and finding a place to live for when I come back, that this April grime wrap up is landing in May. Better late than never I suppose, because a bunch of great music has come out this month, all of it unique and boundary pushing. Thankfully for me, Record Store day delayed a bunch of stuff so this edition isn’t quite as overstuffed as the last one. Expect a bumper crop in May though.

First up, we’ve got a major new single from SRC, whose been making purple-inflected grime for over half a decade now, but who’s been oddly quiet for the past year and some change. His return on Rotterdam-based Progressive Intelligence is a welcome one, as “Rat Road” is just as colorful and club ready as previous sino/videogame jams “Ryokou” and “Tangerine,” all while adding a tinge of darkness that ups the levels to best of Joker’s early releases. Slimzee-favorite and general badman Trends is on the remix, and it’s an absolutely zero compromise banger perfect for club situations that require screwfaces and a sudden influx of testosterone: I tried it for a bunch of dubstep kids and they lost their shit. A great return to form, and the best single yet from the Progressive Intelligence camp, a label who’s been holding down grime’s hardcore side with gusto.

On the chiller tip, Fresh Paul–last seen on Keysound’s scene defining This is How We Roll comp–comes through on Hear Other Sounds to explore a more abstract sound on Blue Knuckle. All three tracks favor a sci-fi soundtrack vibe, twisting synth melodies ever so slightly while hip-hop influenced drums float on top as accents rather than driving forces. The results fit in nicely with the post-everything vibe going down in bass music right now, all while avoiding the sameness that pervades that genre by maintaining connections to scene-specific sounds.

Every once in awhile I get sent something completely unexpected. This month, Finnish producer Gremino turned me onto Snø Recordings, a label launching in my own hometown of Montreal whose recent sampler features a number of names I’ve seen pop up recently including Shining Force and Gronos1. Gremino’s own “Dystopicity” is a standout–pushing the tempo/energy up a notch higher than most of the club/grime hybrids, but the entire compilation is worth exploring thanks to Wiley edits, ambient moments and DJ food galore. A label to keep an eye on.

Mainstream wise, Boy Better Know are absolutely dominating right now. Skepta just followed up “That’s Not Me”–a tune that’s now so big that it forced me to reload it in Montreal… that doesn’t happen to grime vocals–with “Shutdown,” a banger that promises to replicate that level of excitement. The formula’s pretty much the same: high energy production inspired by 05 along with Skepta’s accessibly aggressive bars. My favorite part though? That Brit Awards reference on the breakdown. Then there’s JME coming through with the whole crew on his on “Don’t @ Me,” an indicator that while his forthcoming Integrity album may not break new ground, it won’t disappoint either. Finally, Wiley returned with a new track called “Chasing the Art,” and he’s still in 100% grime mode, forgoing the pop moves that have occasionally derailed him.

I’ve seen people hate on these tunes, but let’s be real: these tracks aren’t meant to be compared to underground bangers: they’re competing with stuff by Wiz Khalifa and Flo Rida and in that respect, this is what I want to hear on mainstream urban radio.

Finally, I strongly recommend underground heads pick up a copy of this Hotline Recordings tape available now from RWDFWD. I just grabbed a copy yesterday and if like me (and 99.9% of the planet) you missed out on the original 12″ singles, this is an excellent way to catch up AND get digital versions to DJ with.

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