The second half of the year began at Rinse FM's 15th Birthday at Matter which gave Boy Better Know the opportunity to cement their place as the top live act in the Grime Scene. You can download the audio here.
They smashed it to pieces again at the night in November
Events have been few and far between elsewhere, but Tempa T and P Money dominated the line ups of the smaller nights across the country slowly building up their fanbases. Hopefully next year there will be more opportunity to see a variety of acts live whether they are accommodated at Dubstep nights like Newham Generals and Badness or at the 'eclectic' nights that choose acts from Dubstep, Hip Hop, Funky and Grime.
Releases were strong, but as usual lackluster promotion and a lack of outlets doesn't allow the music to get the coverage it deserves. Big up the journalists still paying attention regardless of the funky and dubstep hype. A Grime show on 1xtra or Choice would help, but 1xtra chose to go with Dubstep & Electro shows, and Choice is lacking new names and new music.
Next year I would like to see more people pushing individual singles, across the year to build their profile instead of coming and going so fast with mixtapes, which requires longer recording time and larger investment. Lets stop doing going with what is a good look, and roll with what makes sense economically. Spending money on a video for a track with no release date planned is an epic fail. JME did this the best with 'Over Me'. Video released, track battered by the DJs for 6 weeks, then available on iTunes for 79p.
Here are a selection of key releases:
Roll Deep - Street Anthems - All the classic unreleased vocals, including Eskimo. Essential for anyone that has ever read this blog.
Terror Danjah - Hardrive Vol 1 & 2. 40 Tracks for 7.99. Some of the vocal work in the Grime scene is on this CD. Durrty Goodz - Reloadz, Griminal - Cant Be and Frisco - Big Man Ting are the ones to grab.
Target & Danny Weed - Aim High The Revolution - Great collection of work from the Roll Deep producers. Features from Devlin, Wiley, J2k, Shola Ama, Ghetts and more make this unmissable.
The only DJ to release a mixtape this year DJ Magic got really good coverage for putting together a CD full of unreleased material and exclusive freestyles. It was a good listen, hopefully more DJs go down this route next year, as I believe it is long overdue. Grime DJs need a revenue stream to keep them going as bookings are few and far between.
J Sweet - Earth 616 EP - Long overdue from J Sweet, I just hope he can make some sort of return next year. I am going to go and pay him a visit in the near future, hopefully he is still making these type of beats.
Royal T - 1UP or Shatap EP - This is the first producer that I feel like I had a part of their development. I heard over a year ago now, as he had been sending me tunes for a few months beforehand. As soon as I heard this, I knew it was the one. I aired it on my second Rinse FM show, and the feedback was immense. It went on to be a mainstay on radio sets until P Money gave it the official vocal.
P Money - Money Over Everyone - I was a fan of P Money on radio appearances alone. After all the MCs stopped turning up, P Money & Blacks kept it going Sunday Nights on JJs 1-3am practicing on beats that turned up on the CD. Money Over Everone's highlights are: Fruits & Veg, Left The Room, 1UP and Hot Ones are some of the best Grime vocals ever. Yes, ever.
Trim continued to push his mixtape campaign with Monkey Features, his second mixtape of the year. I prefer Soulfood 4 to this, but in general Trims material grows on me. Give me time on this one, I will enjoy it after a few more spins. Check his recent show with Plastician, showing he can still do incredible live sets.
Blackdowns has released two massive Durrty Goodz tracks this year, first Gutter Music (produced by Starkey) and Concrete Streets produced by himself. On the flip Goodz gets the Zomby treatment, which has been fun to mix I must say.
Big H - Street Crime UK - Big H was one of the most highly rated MCs without a CD until this year. Aided by clever virals like the 'This Is Bloodline' documentary and the overwhelming support on Grimeforum he made an impact with his return and debut CD. My personal favourite 'Hooligan' produced by Skepta is played deep into next year.
Newham Generals - Hard - I think this comes in at a close second for tune of the year. The reception for this track everywhere has been sick. They have been performing it effectively all year, I was surprised and happy to hear it done properly. It seems like this was more well received then the entire album, which is a shame, as it had some great tracks on there.
Joker - City Hopper / Output One Two - This release won't define the incredible year Joker has had. We know there is more to come with 'Tron' and his debut album awaiting a release. Hopefully a few other Grime producers can enjoy similar successes next year; touring the world, producing for big artists as well as still putting out quality solo material.
Terror Danjah - Gremlinz - I have been working closely with Terror in the last couple of months, and see this release as a turning point. Gone is the Terror Danjah that ran Aftershock records, developed artists and recorded tones of vocal music. Now focused on the instrumental form, next year sees releases on Hyperdub, Planet Mu and our new label Butterz and a return to DJing.
And finally Starkey - Ok Luv feat Badness only surfaced recently, but it is a great track. Taken off the forthcoming Starkey album "Ear Drums and Black Holes" it adds a different vibe to our sets. More music like this please Starkey!
I know there are tons of other releases but that is most of what I was really into that got released in the last 6 months.
Once again I believe overall it has been a great year for quality music, so we can go into 2010 with our heads up high, and await new music from all the top dogs!
Keep it Grimy