In this week’s Rap Rundown, I look back on big UK releases from WSTRN and TE Dness, the Grime scene’s SXSW infiltration and Kano’s performance of Made In The Manor at Troxy.
After the success of WSTRN’s ‘In2’, which became unavoidable due to its commercial fruition, the West London trio had to follow it up with something as infectious and inventive. Their debut single quickly became a UK anthem and catapulted them into the limelight, and you would imagine that they would go for the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach and follow the same formula. However, they decided to go in a different direction, covering Evelyn Champagne King’s ‘Love Come Down’ - a tune that has also been covered by The Saturdays.
The original was the epitome of 80s pop, and its catchy melody and memorable hook led to it being covered a number of times by artists from a variety of genres and WSTRN’s UK R&B interpretation of the track is definitely one of the better ones. It's not one that I will be playing on loop in my car but if it comes on while I’m listening to the radio, I won’t be changing the channel and I can see it charting without a doubt.
Last week also saw another infectious commercial track covered by an up and coming UK talent. TE Dness gave us his interpretation of Jamie XX’s ‘Good Times’ and this is one I will be looping in the motor. If you regularly read the Rap Rundown, you'll know that I rate TE highly but I still feel like he’s underrated so I'll keep mentioning him until you’re all fans.
The ‘Good Times’ remix is the perfect bpm for the rapper to flex on and although TE is known for producing anthems like ‘Girls In The Hood’, ‘Rep The City’ and ‘No Title’, this one is a little bit more introspective and gives you more of the artist’s narrative. Have a listen below.
While the likes of WSTRN and TE Dness have been making waves in the UK, some of the Grime scene’s international exports have been doing the same over in the US. Skepta, Little Simz, Stormzy, Lethal Bizzle, and an assembly of UK prospects touched down in Austin, Texas for SXSW and have been flying the Grime flag, showcasing the authentic, British genre on a global stage.
The festival included a display curated by BBC 1Xtra and SBTV, comprising some of Grime and UK Rap’s most promising talent and although the performances were on the smaller stages, the fact that the genres are being represented at the internationally renowned festival proves that it is being recognised as a credible scene.
Finally, after banging the album for a good week or so, I got a chance to see Kano perform ‘Made In The Manor’ live in East London and the energy and atmosphere in his home town was as spirited as you’d imagine. I’ve mentioned before how significant the East London rapper’s latest project is in terms of the way it represents British culture and to see the reflective body of work brought to life on stage only amplified that.
The term ‘pioneer’ is overused in music, especially when it comes to Grime and UK Rap; but the way Kano has developed and created progressive formulas for the scene to follow, justify the use of that title and have cemented his position as one of the forefathers of the genre.
Words: Patrick Fennelly
Online Edit: Ra'ed Khan