April 21, 2017


Son Raw makes the bed squeak.

Of all the labels to fuel London’s mid decade instrumental grime wave (now mutating into something else entirely), Local Action is the one I’m most simpatico with now that the scene is moving in various directions. Head honcho Tom Lea’s Ruff Ryders and Cash Money mixes explain why: he shares my predilection for teenager-fueled hood shit that reveals itself to be remarkably deep if you’re willing to scratch beneath the surface. The label’s latest release, DJ Jayhood’s King, is neither grime nor late ’90s rap shit and yet it scratches a similarly same itch as those genres, collecting a Jersey Club legend’s very ignant, very infectious greatest hits for wider consumption.

Hopefully, it can spotlight Jersey Club’s peak era overall as well. Further from House than Baltimore’s scene and not as given to peak weirdness as Footwork, Jersey’s club music never fully got its due from the illuminati tastemakers that decide these things. To add insult to injury, the second it did get shine, EDM interlopers hopped on the wave and stole the loops. One look at King, however, reveals that the genre’s true genius isn’t in a tempo or drum pattern, but in its unabashed rawness.

Every other track features the delightfully named Adolph Joker inviting the track’s intended audience to hit the floor, a cut rate Fat Man Scoop makes an appearance, samples are cut to shreds, and a track called “Ass To The Floor” sounds exactly like you’d think it might. Hear it in your headphones and it sounds kind of dumb, but hear it on the floor and it’s genius…and when you come back to it on your headphones, suddenly it’s a whole lot more intricate than you first gave it credit for.

As EDM retreats from crass over the top bombast into crass middle of the road trop-house and European House continues to tread the safest of waters, King highlights a brilliant artist, but also a community of dancers and listeners making great music away from the mainstream spotlight. Suffice to say, it sounds like they’re having a lot more fun than we are.

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