Rap Rundown: A New Path
Patrick Fennelly brings you this week's column...
As we edge closer to the general election on June 8 and your TV screens, newspapers, magazines and Twitter feeds are full of politically charged content, you might have become a bit bored of hearing politicians harping on about a ‘strong and stable’ Britain and a soft or hard Brexit. Admittedly, the formalities of a political campaign can become a bit monotonous and can leave young people totally disengaged. But, with the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn taking an interest in youth culture and reinforcing the importance of the young vote, we have seen an unparalleled level of engagement.
An example of this is the series of Grime 4 Corbyn events which saw a collection of up and coming UK talent taking the stage in London and Brighton in support of the Labour leader. It began with a party at Visions Video Bar on June 1 and culminated in a series of panel discussions, spoken word performances and grime sets on Saturday (June 3).
Last week also saw AJ Tracey vocalising his support for the Labour party and its policies. The MC, who is arguably one of the most prominent ambassadors for the new generation of grime, didn’t just make uneducated, anti-establishment proclamations, he discussed specific issues including the current housing crisis, the NHS and free education and how these issues were prominent during his inner-city upbringing.
Regardless of whether you’re planning to vote Labour or not, the discussion of these issues alone will hopefully remind you of the importance of your vote and how that vote can help shape our futures.
Although it may seem that last week the grime scene was more concerned about political campaigning, believe it or not, some of the genre’s up and comers were also releasing new music. Novelist for example – who funnily enough has also in the past vocalised his disdain for the Conservative Government – released his latest track ‘New Path’.
Now, if you’re familiar with Nov, you’ll be aware that as a child of grime, he has absorbed its authenticity and has always produced music which showcases a distinctive, old school style, transporting you back to the early days of the genre. However, this doesn’t mean the Lewisham MC doesn’t venture out of his comfort zone. He is as creative and experimental as they come and his latest single ‘New Path’ – which in its title gives you an idea of what to expect – demonstrates his versatility. After some hard-hitting introductory bars, masked by an intentional mic distortion, the track goes in a totally different direction, with more melodic vocals and a slower tempo, suggesting that Novelist is using his creativity paired with his authentic grime inheritance to pioneer new avenues for the genre. Check out the track on Spotify.
Lastly, it would be impossible to talk about last week’s new UK rap and grime without mentioning the latest release from MoStack. The north London rapper has developed a cult following over the past few years and his new mixtape ‘High Street Kid’ is one of his most highly anticipated instalments.
To celebrate the release of the tape, MoStack also dropped the visuals for ‘Screw & Brew’ his collaboration with Birmingham rapper Mist. I always enjoy Mist’s minimal, nonchalant flow and his quotable lyrics, and his ability is only enhanced in his features. MoStack on the other hand is yet to win me over. I get his playful character and, don’t get me wrong, I’ve caught a vibe to a couple of his tunes but, lyrically, I find a lot of his music pretty disappointing. However, ‘Screw & Brew’ I enjoyed the first time I heard it and after listening to it on repeat for a while, I sat down to watch the video which only embellished the track. It encompasses both rappers’ charisma and made me picture the creative process, imagining the pair bouncing ideas of each other in the studio until they created a UK rap anthem. Press play below and see what I’m talking about and while you do that, I’m going to listen to ‘High Street Kid’ and see if I can be proved wrong. If you see me hooded up with a parka jacket and shades next week, you’ll know I’ve been converted.
Words: Patrick Fennelly
Online Edit: Ra'ed Khan