Son Raw’s gonna hold off on that BBK tattoo.
I’m a week late here according to my own internal schedule, but this edition’s jam-packed with top quality tunes and I’m giddy from getting rid of our conservative government (one day UK…), so let’s get into it.
Novelist – “Ends”
First up, Novelist returns with “Endz,” what one assumes is the lead single from his forthcoming debut album. Even the most casual grime fans are familiar with Nov by now, as his Red Bull sponsored raves and XL singles with Mumdance have elevated him to the lofty status of the grime’s top dogs, and you’re just as likely to see him with BBK (Boy Better Know, ICYDidn’t) than with the up-and-comers in his age group. That only makes “Endz” sweeter: self-produced and with a self-directed video, it’s proof that Novelist can increase his fan base without leaving behind the home-spun, true-to-the-game genre that earned him acclaim in the first place. With an entire album of this stuff in the works for 2016, it’s hard not to get excited.
YGG – “Okay”
YGG have been grinding on radio for a hot minute, but have held back on releasing actual music until now. Thankfully, their flows are just as tight as their quality control, and their debut single “Okay” is an infectious 2-step inflected number with a sly Adventure Time reference on the hook: teenage music that doesn’t feel immature. PK, Lyrical Strally, and Saint have flows for days, and the vastly underrated Moony’s beat brings me straight back to when Royal-T produced “Boo You” for P-Money, updating post-millennial garage without losing the bump and flex. Definitely one of the most infectious grime vocals I’ve heard all year.
Also: here’s PK’s birthday set with J-Cush, just cause.
President T – Three(!) tracks
President T is a long-time Tottenham veteran who came up with alongside names like JME and Skepta in Meridian Crew, later forming The Bloodline Family with Big H, Bossman, Paper Pabs, and 9 Milli Major. An emcee’s emcee with an unmistakable booming voice and off-kilter flow, he’s one of the artists you always wished had released more music back in the day, so his 2015 return immediately caught people’s attention and he hasn’t missed a step. I’m including a few selections above rather than a single track, since the output’s all been fire – but start with “Kill Off Killy (2015),” which updates his classic catchphrase/flow for modern times. And here’s the third which for some reason didn’t want to embed.
Maxsta – “100 Problems”
My favorite line this year? Maxsta’s “Your girl came backstage, took a picture of my dick and put it on Pinterest” – the first time I heard that one (on Logan Sama’s Fabriclive) I bust out laughing on the bus, earning more than a few stares. It makes another appearance on “100 Problems,” a track also notable for 1) including 1 more problem than Jay-Z or Ice T ever had 2) a beat by the ever-elusive Maniac, whose return to music really deserves more attention, and 3) the most intense flow this month, and that’s saying a lot. Maxsta may claim random bloggers don’t know, but with a full EP coming on Rinse featuring both the aforementioned Maniac and Tri-Angle weirdo Boothroyd, we hear him loud and clear.
DJ Cable ft. Mez – “One Line Flows”
Moving up North, Nottingham’s Mez is another young emcee attracting a lot of buzz these days, and his latest with DJ Cable comes complete with a full visual breaking down his “One Line Flows.” Balancing drill’s darkness with a gruff voice and high energy bars, the track wisely avoids grime classicism, taking the best from contemporary styles without losing the rave-ready energy that’s earned him attention from guys like Cable and Logan Sama.
JME – “The Very Best”
Finally, I’ll just leave this here.