by Alex Griffin
What’s great about the young and developing scene we have in London (and beyond), is the sheer diversity of it. It seems every day a new artist is coming to our attention, sounding new and innovative and original, yet still so distinctly British. Artists are getting weird and artists are getting experimental, and it’s due time we started highlighting some of these creatives that may otherwise slip under our radar. It’s not every day reload bar season, sometimes it’s good to hear something different, something that can defy genre – although the new Daily Duppy season is coming soon – and so we’ve devised this new weekly column for you: Go Left, GRM’s guide to the best alternative grime, hip-hop and R&B out there.
808INK – Blah De Frog
South London collective 808INK – consisting of rappers, producers and creative directors – have been slyly releasing some of the most aesthetically impressive visuals of the year and their music matches that quality. They released a very dope project late last year, ‘Billy’s Home‘, but their output hasn’t slowed down in 2016, with a slew of new tracks dropping already. The latest is “Blah De Frog”, a rap banger that blends a whole host of influences.
Rejjie Snow – Late Again
Rejjie Snow has been a little neglected from the rap scene in London, but I wouldn’t bet against that being a conscious decision from the Dublin-born MC. His impressive numbers come from listeners all across the world (he’s actually in Los Angeles right now) and a lot of heads are turning his way, including ours. His delivery is laid back and calming, his voice lazy, as he floats effortlessly over some very certi hip-hop production on his latest drop “Late Again”.
PBGR – Neighbors (ft. JSTJCK)
PBGR are a rap duo, standing for Play Broke Get Rich and consisting of members Skeps and Crunch. They’ve just released a new project, titled ‘4RE PLAY‘, which has melody filled tinges of R&B painted all over it, making for a very wholesome listen. The pick of the bunch has to be “Neighbors” featuring a chocolate-smooth hook from JSTJCK (who has a future hit of his own too right here).
James Blake – Modern Soul
James Blake, if you didn’t know (where you been?), is a pioneering producer who loves to bend genres and experiment with sound – he also happens to have one of the most soulful voices in the country. Although his music is pretty left field, it’s respected by the greats: he’s been out working with American hip-hop megastars like Drake and Kanye West, as well as former Roll Deep man, Trim. His new track “Modern Soul” mostly lets his voice take centre stage, with a minimal instrumental that eventually bursts into an epic life of electronic synths and piano keys.
Neverland Clan – Follow Me
Neverland Clan are a fashion forward group of MC’s, producers and designers that are looking set to blow this year. Having gained a cosign from Skepta, with member Daniel OG’s video “Plan“, eyes are on him, Ryan Hawaii and Omelet to carry on producing some forward thinking grime music. They’re keeping up the quality output, with a collaborative track called “Follow Me”, that incorporates elements of grime, R&B and even a touch of garage. Produced by Daniel OG, mixed by Omelet and vocals from all three of them, the self proclaimed “worlds gnarliest boy band” are clearly a combined force to be reckoned with.
GRIM – Slow Intuition
GRIM is a singer, songwriter and producer from the South Midlands, who’s brand of R&B takes influence from trap, soul, garage and everything else in between. Although his musical portfolio is still growing, his latest track “Slow Intuition” is very mature. Released as a Valentines Day gift for all the lovers, the self-produced track is sultry, with a pulsating and subtle bassline propping up his vocals. The name might be GRIM, but the sounds certainly ain’t.