Son Raw dedicate this one to all di rude gyals
While I enjoy my fair share of Popcaan tunes, there’s no denying that dancehall’s recent emphasis on sticky sweetness can be a bit cloying for those among us who grew up on sparse, roughneck riddims. I mean, hip-hop is all about dark, psychedelic drugginess right now, so why are so many Jamaican artists still toasting over Disney soundtrack chords? Leave it to purveyor of nightmare music and all around badman The Bug to come with the antidote in the form of Murder, the debut mixtape from Berlin-via-Haifa artist Miss Red.
Armed with a confident, high-pitched delivery, Miss Red’s got the warrior pixie vibe down pat, calling to mind a sassy, new school Sister Nancy, but with her own flex. Equal parts seductive and defiant, her vocals seamlessly blend singing and bashment chat into a dubby whole, more than living up to her predecessors’ fiery deliveries. Just as crucially, the riddims she’s spitting on sound like nothing else out there: The Bug’s been discussing his acid-ragga concept for a minute, but this is the fullest picture yet of how the concept works in action. Marrying 303-like bass lines to 80s dancehall’s bump and flex, the results feel like a natural merger of two contemporary ideas that never experienced much crossover. Of course, this being a Kevin Martin project, there’s a heavy serving of analog grit and distortion in the mid-range, a perfect backing for those vocals to cut through.
Best of all, the concept’s got legs. Rather than a one-note exploration of dark Jamaican music, Murder is at times romantic, combative, party-ready, chill, and hype. It’s also the loosest project The Bug’s been involved with in years. Both Angels & Devils and King Midas Sound’s last record were stone-faced and grim by design, so handling the reigns to the 22 year old Miss Red for a mixtape makes for a (comparatively) lighter experience. It’s also an opportunity to connect the dots between The Bug sound and the wider musical world: Mark Pritchard, Andy Stott, Stereotyp, Mumdance and Evian Christ all contribute riddims, but you’d be hard pressed to figure out who produced what without a tracklist. It all comes together for one of the year’s best surprises and a great reason to revise that year-end list.
Stream/download the mixtape here: http://www.miss-red.com