Various Artists I Love Grime
Anyone who’s up for listening to over two hours of grime obviously loves it, and […]
Anyone who’s up for listening to over two hours of grime obviously loves it, and for those people, I Love Grime won’t disappoint. The latest salvo from the Rinse camp contains over 50 of the genre’s biggest tunes scattered over two discs mixed by Rinse DJs Spyro and Sian Anderson, respectively. Unusual for this sort of compilation, things aren’t organized into past and present: Pay As U Go’s foundational “Know We” from 2001 jams up against Royal-T’s “Inside the Ride,” a bashy hit from earlier this year; More Fire Crew’s 2002 mega-hit “Oi” (recently resurrected by the likes of Pearson Sound and Oneman) abuts D Double E’s videogame-obsessed “Streetfighter” from summer 2010.
This isn’t a bad thing—grime doesn’t have to be a history lesson to be enjoyed. It’s better taken as energy music, with MCs harnessing the force over beats too intense for most traditional rappers (especially American ones) to tame. Starting in the early ’00s as a tougher, streetwise answer to the overly fake and fancy UK garage scene, it remains a reactionary genre, even as artists like Dizzee Rascal, Skepta, Jammer, and Chipmunk have gone pop. I Love Grime sticks to the rougher side of things; even the bubblier 2-step numbers—from So Solid Crew’s infamous “Oh No!” to P-Money and Blacks’ recent Butterz hit “Boo You”—are nothing sweet.
Spyro’s mix wins the stone-cold classics competition, containing essential riddims like Youngstar’s “Pulse X,” Bok Bok’s “Silo Pass,” and Low Deep’s violin-driven masterpiece “Str8 Flush,” plus huge vocal hits perfect for punching walls: Lethal Bizzle’s “Pow,” D Double E’s “Bluku Bluku,” and posse cut “Lord of the Mics.” Spyro’s been DJing since he was 11, but the mixing and sequencing feels lazy at times. The first blend has a full 20 seconds of crashing vocals and some tracks come in and fade out off-phrase. Given, it’s not easy to mix full-vocal grime tracks, but other Spyro blends (from the same CD) are pitch perfect. What the transitions may lack in punch, the track selection makes up for in raw power—tracks like Skream & Trim’s dubstep smasher “Tweedle Dee, Twiddle Dub!” and D Double and Dizzee’s “Bluku! Bluku!” are sheer mind-erasers.
Sian Anderson, one of Rinse’s new guard of grime young’uns, turns in a smooth ride of mostly MC-driven tracks featuring all the big names plus recent talents like P Money, Kozzie, and C4. Highlights include D Double E’s distinctive lisp and machine-gun lyrics over S-X’s haunting, underwater-sounding “Woo Riddim,” Rival’s crisp rhyming over delectably loopy banger “They Said,” and the chewy bump ‘n’ flex of the aforementioned “Boo You.” Anderson’s mix sounds a lot cleaner (like it was made on Ableton) whereas Spyro’s sounds like it’s coming live from the Rinse studio. Both styles sound good, it’s really just a matter of personal preference.
I Love Grime is a great primer on the scene that goes way deeper than the Vice compilations of a few years back. For those without access to hard-to-find mixtapes or out-of-print vinyl, or people simply in need of more fodder to piss off the neighbors, I Love Grime has plenty to offer.