1. Trim ft Riko Dan - Lord of Lords (prod by harmonic 313) - Trim also known as ‘Trimbal’ is easily one of the most prolific lyricists in the music scene, not just in grime. His flow to this day is one of the most recognized and his lyrical ability is second to none. He was a key member in the infamous grime crew 'Roll Deep'. Since then he’s distanced himself from the crew and has been focusing on his own solo career as an artist. He’s never wanted to be pigeonholed as just a grime MC, collaborating with an eclectic mix of producers and creative people such as Mark Pritchard (Harmonic 313), Skream, James Blake, Dusk & Blackdown along with various others.
Trim has cemented himself as an icon for young, new MC’s that want to do more than just grime. 'Lord of Lords' is a dark grungy tune and Trim’s flow is more like a poets than an MC’s. Roping in Riko Dan, who was also in Roll Deep, to give the whole song a proper yardie feel. This is definitely a tune you should have in your record bag. He's just released a very unique album featuring an array of producers with the 1-800 dinasaur label. Check it out online here.
2. Natsirk - Mansion - Natsirk is the alias of a very well known grime producer, not many people know who he is and he’s kept his identity well hidden. The only thing you really need to know is that he makes absolute bangers and 'Mansion' is at the top of the list for me. It has an array of deep murky noises running throughout the song and I especially love the eerie strings that literally flow through the whole piece. The breakdowns are nearly as dark as dark as the drops incorporating nasty sounding brass instruments and some kind of tweaked bass. Natsirk is definitely someone to look out of in 2017. Hes got an E.P. out at the moment called ‘COSMIC E.P.’ and its available on juno now.
3. Jammz - Right Now feat. Shemzy - Not only is Jammz a unique MC, he also produces the darkest of riddims, DJs and creates his own E.P. artwork. A artist of many talents he’s constantly putting the work in and perfecting his craft.
He has a regular slot on the underground radio station RADAR RADIO with Jack Dat called the ‘I am Grime Show’. Every show I’ve listened to is packed full of new tunes, fresh bars, and heaps of energy. ‘Right now’ starts off with the crackle of vinyl and a mystical instrument that almost sounds like a female vocal. Then comes the trademark instruments that 'Jammz' is known for, almost orchestral sounds. What draws me to this tune is that it drops twice. It drops in a kind of acapella mode with some murky siren sound in the background, then 4 bars in the drumbeat drops along side some beastly sounding bassline. He spits about topics that are very current in today’s world like the state of the government and the police. 'Right Now' has just been released on a 5 track E.P. called 'WARRIOR' go out and cop it now.
4. Fallow - New Management - 'Fallow' has been pushing his underground sound for a while. Hailing from the north west of England, he has regular shows on the radio station 'NTS Manchester' and has had a long term residency at a well known grime night in Manchester called 'CHOWDOWN'. Run by his close friend Craig Dobson (Craig AD), the night is based at the infamous venue Soup Kitchen. Now you wouldn’t think such a small venue could host such hectic and hyped up nights but believe me when I tell you, these nights are what Manchester’s underground music scene is all about. The authenticity of everyone’s love for the music is incredibly infectious. Having been there in person and witnessed the carnage of what 'CHOWDOWN' is about, it kind of shows how much Craig, Fallow and the rest of the 'CHOWDOWN' team are trying to push the sound of grime, and underground music in general, to as many people as possible.
New Management is a great piece of music. Incorporating samples from the series Peaky Blinders to great effect in both the intro and breakdowns. He uses a proper dark brass instrument for part of the drop and given that I have a particular love for grime instrumentals that include brass sounds, I was an instant fan of this tune. He’s just released an 8 track E.P. on his bandcamp for only £1 which an absolute steal. Go and buy it, don’t forget to give CHOWDOWN a like on facebook.
5. EZRO - Bredders - EZRO is incredibly talented when it comes to music. I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the ‘RADAR RADIO' grime production workshop a few months ago, EZRO was one of the people that was teaching us how to produce grime. I got to sit down in a one on one and see first hand how he works, it was very inspiring. He really took the time out to explain just how he gets the right sounds and the correct samples. The track 'Bredders' is a very evil instrumental, starting with a vocal sample saying 'ladies and gentlemen' a bit before the drop. Strings are the main focus of the song for me, with an array of soft and heavy bass instruments running along throughout the instrumental. EZRO is a key member of the ‘Vision Crew’, they've had regular airtime on radio stations such as Rinse FM, Radar Radio and others.
Not only does he produce and DJ he is also a skilled MC. Be sure to check for more forthcoming music from EZRO soon via his soundcloud.
6. Tubz - Trick Dracy (Kahn and Neek Dick Tracy refix) - You don’t often come across such gifted and skillfull producers that are still in their teens, Aidan ‘Tubz’ Ryan is one of the exceptions at just 17 years old.
Hailing from Aigburth, Liverpool, 'Tubz' started producing from age 13 and has been mixing for just over a year, his production style is fresh, dark, and minimal. He enjoys creating tunes for all types of genres not just grime. Kahn and Neek are a formidable force in music and refixing one of their tunes could go either way, however that hasn’t deterred 'Tubz', hes made a murky, skippy refix and put his own unique spin on the original. As well as being ahead of his years in production, he’s a very skilled DJ and a pleasure to watch on the decks. The way 'Tubz' is moving at the moment I really think 2017 is gonna be a massive year for him. He's one of the head honchoes at the notorious 'M62 Records' and puts on regular nights in and around Liverpool that are always a great success. Don't forget to check his Soundcloud out and make sure you give 'M62 records' a like on facebook.
7. Jon E Clayface - What I’m On (Produced by ZHA) - Jon E Clayface has been doing a lot recently in grime. A member of the W.A.V.E. gang, they have been putting tonnes of work into their music recently. His voice is really unique and has a certain twang to it. Now ZHA is a very skilled producer, he was one of the judges at Beat Boss 3, a grime producer clash which is streamed on 'MODE FM'. This kind of shows that ZHA is held in very high esteem throughout the grime scene. I really appreciate the way this song is produced. The intro is long and full of lyrics from 'Jon E Clayface' however they are distorted and fairly quiet. Then when it drops with a wild delayed sub bass, more lyrics come back in but this time much more crisper and louder for maximum effect. 'ZHA' is another one of my favorite producers and I'm itching to know what else he's been working on. Be sure to check out his soundcloud for current releases and any forthcoming material.
8. BFM - Wig Split Riddim - BFM (Bloodklart Fiyah Mandem) is a partnership between two very well respected producers of grime, JFO & Sativa. They both have unique styles when it comes to their own productions but bring them together and the outcome is quite special. BFM create spacious, stripped back, grime. There is almost a deep dubstep influence to their productions, merge that with their skippy drum loops & reggae vocal samples and you’ve got a kind of dubstep infused grime sound that is incredibly rare but easily recognizable. Wig Split Riddim is exactly that, starting off with some low, soulful strings in the intro, then followed by their classic adlib just before the drop. Once the song has dropped the mixture of the low sub-heavy bassline and the high pitched synths really gives this tune levels. Be sure to check them out on soundcloud for any new music they might be releasing.
9. Solomon - Bokeh (Sekko VIP) - Soloman mainly produces dubstep and is one of the key members of Gentlemens dub club. He has created an amazing tune with 'Bokeh', It was and still is being spun by so many DJs across grime and even further a field in dubstep sets aswell. It’s a very grizzly riddim with a kind of ripped, fuzzy, dark sub bass that runs throughout the song. It’s a proper steppah's tune and will definitely make you dance in the club.
'Sekko' is Solomans grime alias, so he’s basically made his own grime VIP of the original and its worked a treat. The VIP is a lot more skippy than the original, the drum beat has completely changed however the core of the sound, the dark, fuzzy sub bass is still there. I really rate Soloman/Sekko's production and cant wait for music from him in the next year.
10. LEVELZ - Look Who it Is - Manchester dons LEVELZ are a group of producers, DJs and MCs dedicated to bringing only the best level of underground music possible. The crew, (Biome. Black Josh. Bricks. Chimpo. Chunky. Dub Phizix. Fox. Jonny Dub. Metrodome. Rich Reason. Skittles. Sparkz. Truthos Mufasa and T-Man) are a very eclectic bunch of individuals and each of them bring their own rare and unique flavor to the gang. Having won the Manchester Red Bull Culture Clash, and securing various bookings around the UK such as hosting their own Boiler Room and Warehouse Project, you just know these young artists all mean business. They produce various genres of music and its always very clean, fresh and new, pushing boundaries with the sound they make. ‘Look who it is’ is no exception. The intro is made up of a zippy, crisp drum beat that works up to the drop. It also includes vocals that get louder and louder and just before the drop morphs into ‘LOOK WHO IT IS’. The drop itself is very rough and gritty. It definitely packs a punch and with Black josh’s vocals on the first verse, this song definitely delivers. Make sure your up to date on LEVELZ current and forthcoming releases through their Soundcloud and Facebook. I cant wait to hear more songs from the crew in 2017.
Be sure to keep a lookout for more articles, interviews and reviews from me each month, spanning the whole spectrum of underground music.