If there’s any justice in the world, CASisDEAD will drop an album this year and it’ll save us all. The artist formerly known as Castro dropped this under the tree on Christmas Day, an ode to Pat Butcher’s massive pendants. The masked rapper, these days clad in rubber, goes for a full-on '80s, GTA vibe on this one, playing an ace with his double entendres and nostalgic overtones, while using the vocals of porn actress Aruba Jasmine for the chorus. Essential.
A track tends to resonate instantly if it feels familiar in some way, and so you kinda have to pat Cadet on the back for flipping the same sample as Yxng Bane’s current chart creeper ‘Froze’. The icy, orchestral instrumental starts things off on the right foot, before the South London emcee approaches it with his trademark energetic style, proving that he’s ready to grab 2018 by the horns.
'Hard Food EP'
What better way to celebrate Tectonic’s 100th release than with six tracks of Riko Dan? The ‘Hard Food EP' sees the London city warlord team up with Joker (for the title cut), plus Pinch, Walton, Mumdance and Ziro for some gutter-flavoured bass bin fodder that bows down to the low-end. While it’s pretty much all killer no filler, it’s Walton (who’s already proved he gels well with Riko on ‘Big Slug’) who marries best with the veteran MC.
Sir Spyro x Ghetts x Jaykae x London Grammar
'Hell To The Liars'
It’s not everyday you see three grime heavyweights team up with an indie-pop trio known for their sparse, melancholic output, but on ‘Hell To The Liars’, Sir Spyro, Ghetts, Jaykae and London Grammar have pooled their resources. Though on paper that might sound like a hot mess, the four acts have created something that’s ethereal (thanks to LG vocalist Hannah Reid) but not overly fragile (just wait for Spyro’s horns to kick in). Ghetts delivers a solid verse, but it’s Birmingham’s Jaykae who grabs the spotlight with some searing, bolshy bars. Not a triumph, but far from a disaster.
Jon E Clayface
Jon E Clayface’s bars have that rare quality of all-guns-blazing aggression, yet razor-sharp lyricism once you scratch the surface. The south east MC has roots in metal and punk music, and this raw, hardline attitude comes through on ‘Mayhem 7’, which fires shots at mumble rappers, while espousing relevancy and perfecting his craft, over a full-blooded, skittery trap beat. Sprinkled with punchlines and wordplay, it’s a sterling reminder of what MCing is all about. If you’ve been sleeping on Jon E Clayface, it’s time to start paying attention.
'Rick and Morty EP'
An extra special New Year’s Day drop from Spooky, who’s taken the cult Adult Swim cartoon as inspiration for this EP. There’s some wobbly dubstep (‘Darker Side Of Summer’), one of the most speaker-obliterating basslines going (‘Evil Morty’) and, although the vocal cameos from the cartoon characters can come across a bit cheesy, his re-rub of the theme tune on ‘Rick and Morty’s Theme’ will surely have some R&M grime fans going crazy in the clerb. You’ll just need a pretty high IQ to understand it…
'The Vision 2'
Lit City Trax
Blay Vision has a unique talent for making haunted, melodic instrumentals that provide a welcome bed for MCs, as well as the multi-talented man himself. ‘The Vision 2’ is his follow-up to instrumental album ‘The Vision’ and vocal long-player ‘Turner Ave’, and sees the prodigious MC reaching for more woodwind instruments. We’ve heard some of these riddims already, for example ‘Mind Your Business’, which Prez T recently did his thing on. From the blistering ‘BadGal RiRi’ which smacks of West Coast G-funk to the steel pan-laced ‘Inside’, there’s a lot to love here.