Son Raw is not a sub genre.
I’m back with more vocals than a Rihanna backing track. This month, we catch Meridian Crew legends, grime’s ragga axis, some rising stars, UK bashment, and an 8 bar rally.
President T ft. JME– “House & Pop”
First up, President T and JME just dropped my low-key personal anthem for the summer in “House & Pop.” This song has everything: a chorus disparaging mainstream music that normal people enjoy; JME extending the metaphor way past the point of reason; and Prez dropping the most singularly English set of idioms since Bruza stopped making music on the reg.
Plus, it offers a perfect response to the always boring intra-DJ conversations I’m forced to live through. Peep the scenario: random DJ asks me what I play, I answer grime. They inevitably respond by naming some subgenre of house, at which point I imply that I know a man that’ll shoot up their residence. End of conversation. If that’s not ideal, I don’t know what is.
Terror Danjah & Jamakabi– “Juicy Patty”
Grime’s ragga axis runs deep but remains criminally underrated. I’ll take Flowdan, Riko, Killa P, God’s Gift and them over anyone. Jamakabi is a longtime member of that lineage and his “Juicy Patty” anthem with Terror Danjah is a welcome reminder that grime’s Jamaican connection is what distinguishes it from half the other street styles existing between London and LA. Terror’s on a run of his own right now with big instrumental releases on his Hard Drive Records, but this one comes courtesy of Keysound who’ve roped in a HUGE Logos remix on the flip. If the OG bumps n’ wines, the Boxed founder’s take detonates with pulse X blasts, gunshots, and half a dozen other established sounds. Two essential versions that go in completely different directions, but Jamakabi’s growl remains the anchor in both cases.
AJ Tracey – “Ascend”
Last Japan & AJ Tracey’s “Ascend,” Coyote Records’ first foray into vocal releases, has been a long time in the making, floating around on dubplate for a hot minute. Still, it’s clear they’ve taken their time to make sure the track gets the deluxe treatment, with the original getting big remixes by Planet Mu newcomers Silk Road Assassins, and underground hitter Impey. Personally, I’m still partial to the OG’s almost weightless minimalism, but AJT’s bars shine regardless of backing. One of the hardest working young cats in the game (and team Eskimo Dance’s secret weapon come culture clash!), “Ascend” is perhaps the biggest notch in his belt yet, and serves as further proof that most of grime’s interesting stuff is taking place among the under 25 set.
Fox – Musik
Another month, another banger from Swing Ting. I’m running out of ways to big up these guys but they’ve been extremely timely in terms of releasing music while keeping the quality high. This EP from longtime member Fox is their most expansive release since the criminally underrated Madd Ting album, and it’s perfect if you’ve recently been bitten by the dancehall bug but want to go a bit deeper than Rihanna and Drake. In fact, I’m definitely stretching the definition of “grime” by including it here given that the tempos never really rise above 130BPM and the vibes trend closer to party jams and romance than anything gully, but hey—it’s good and it’s from the UK. Even badmen need to boogie once in a while.
And a few bonus loosies…
Jammz – “10 Missed Calls”
Last time around, I reviewed Jammz’ mixtape with Jack Dat and marveled over his storytelling. “10 Missed Calls” skips all of that and goes right for the jugular, destroying Dread D’s horns and 808s with pure hype that practically demands a reload. Nothing subtle here—just bare bars and aggression from an emcee who’s rapidly outgrowing his “newcomer” status. Great “screen-ception” video too.
Darkness – “Arrogant Stance (Eski Thug) ft. AJ Tracey, PK, Saint P, Lyrical Strally, Big Zuu, Darkos, Kwam, Nico Lindsay, Elf Kid, Hilts & Ghostly”
I’m not entirely certain how Darkness roped in half the new wave of grime for an 8 bar rally (plus hooks) but he deserves a round of applause. The beat flips the usual eski tropes but when you’ve got a lineup this strong, the smartest option is to give them something to rap on and stay out of the way, so fair play to all involved. Plus, morgue bloops never go out of fashion.