UK Rap Rundown: Ghetts, Rude Kid, Skepta, Wretch 32 & more...
Considering the momentum UK Rap and Grime has generated over the past few years, it would be impossible to sum up a whole week of music in a few paragraphs but, every week, I will do my best to cover some of the main highlights in the Rap Rundown, whether it be new music, interviews or live shows.
Firstly, it’s only right that I mention Ghetts and Rude Kid’s latest project, ‘653’ – six tracks, five days, three videos. After The Wrap Up’s exclusive interview where the two artists invited us to join them on their creative excursion, it was evident that the we were in for an impressive, experimental body of work. Rude Kid amalgamated influences from a number of UK born genres, creating a Grime/Garage/Dubstep hybrid record and Ghetts added his infectious energy with his distinctive flow, reminding listeners how he established his position in UK music.
Continuing 1xtra’s MC Month, Newham General’s and Frisco headed down to the Live Lounge studio at BBC’s Maida Vale to perform ‘Big’ and ‘Pain’. Sometimes when I hear about UK Rap and Grime artists performing with a live band, I feel a bit apprehensive due to the fact that I’ve seen quite a few acts get it completely wrong and it just escalates into a bit of a sonic nightmare but 1xtra’s MC Month has provided some pretty special performances. In terms of Grime, for me, there aren’t many that do it better than Footsie, D Double E and Frisco and they proved this in their Live Lounge session. Collectively, Newham Generals and BBK have dominated the live circuit and have consistently provided us with decent music for over a decade suggesting that they are not just rappers but comprehensive musicians.
Last week also saw the release of Noisey’s ‘Top Boy’ documentary where they joined Skepta on his US tour and gave us an access all areas experience, taking us to Queens NYC, Boston Massachusetts and Toronto Canada. The film gives a pretty candid insight into how Skepta feels about his intercontinental success and perfectly documents the culture of Grime and its renaissance.
After a busy few weeks that included an in depth NFTR interview, the release of his latest single ‘Alright With Me’ and his live collaboration with WSTRN in the 1xtra Live Lounge, Wretch 32 was also challenged by Link Up TV to build a track in thirty minutes with the help of his protégé Avelino as well as Bobii Lewis, Hurricane Hunt and Calibar. On Monday last week, Link Up published the video and we were invited to partake in the creative process. After watching the studio session and getting a little taste of each verse, I’m keen to hear the final product.
Monday also gave us a new one from the Godfather of Grime. Wiley’s new track ‘25 MCs’ dropped on SBTV with accompanying visuals that featured cameos from a few of the scene’s most high profile faces. Filmed during Eskimo Dance, the video and lyrics touch on the genre’s new-found progressive attitude and Wiley claims “change your whole culture, my team did it”. The track doesn’t most intellectual lyrical display but I’m rating it highly. For me, it feels like Wiley showcases flashes of the flow and general style that had such a pioneering influence on the genre in the early stages.
Words: Patrick Fennelly