If you caught the BBC-aired Rap Game UK, presented by Krept & Konan and DJ Target, you probably have some thoughts on the winner. Regardless of who you thought deserved the crown (as all contestants brought vastly different sounds to the table), Aberdonian MC Ransom FA won many over with his silver tongue and full-chested patriotism. Capitalising on the hype of his TV appearance, Ransom plays to his strengths on the Vagrant Real Estate-produced ‘Standard Procedure’, by detailing his rise over the past year and beyond.
'BREATHIN’ feat P Money'
Beyond Measure Records
There’s an irony to calling your track ‘BREATHIN’’ when your flow is so fast it’s remarkable your lungs haven’t given up yet, and both Ocean Wisdom and P Money display Twista-style lyrical skill on this one. With the speed and complexity of their bars escalating as the track unfolds, P comes through with cutting lines like “my taxes cost the whole of your brand”.
AJ Tracey’s ascent has been inspiring to watch. Flying the flag for independence, the Ladbroke Grove MC’s versatility has found him plucking fans from divergent scenes, from grime to garage to UK rap. ‘Cat Pack’ is another example of Tracey swerving grime (a genre, to be fair, he’s proved he can excel at), going for a bouncy US rap sound — complete with southern-style ad-libs — produced by Take A Daytrip, the brains behind Sheck Wes’s ‘Mo Bamba’ and Lil Nas X’s ‘Rodeo’.
Former world-class sprinter and sports coach Logan is a barrer who’s also got a wealth of skills in the music world. With a flow that recalls Papa Toyan in the sample on Kahn’s seminal ‘Dread’, the NW Londoner attacks a garage-inflected beat courtesy of IZCO, whisking a gruff repetition of “dread” into a bass-shooting, skanking tune.
'Mention My Name feat Kamakaze & Nerve'
UK grime stars have been increasingly dipping down under to cross over with the Australian grime scene (Yizzy recently put out an all-Australian remix of his ‘Yeah’ single). Derby spitter Eyez is another MC to tap into the “A-U-S to U-K” connection, and it’s credit to all this cross-continentalism that it no longer feels strange to hear an Australian accent doing grime over a Zdot production.
Manga Saint Hilare
'Outsiders Prayer feat Cas Jones'
Manga’s been on a roll as of late, unleashing a series of loosies and EPs that have somehow fallen under the radar (see ‘Fear No One’). ‘Outsiders Prayer’ is the hard-working MC’s latest, drafting in producer and rapper Cas Jones, who was also working the buttons for the track’s icy, haunted beat. The ex-Roll Deep rapper directed the accompanying video himself too, which is well worth a look.
We’ve been pretty spoilt for music by Prez lately — the MC with the best non-sequiturs has kept up a steady work rate following the release of the hugely-awaited ‘Stranger Returns’, alongside bonus album ‘There’s Only One’. It’s always a treat to hear more from the most presidential President, and ‘Riders’ is fuelled by a beat that sounds like a chopped-up country tune with added gunshots. As ever though, the highlight is Prez’s unmatched flow: “they’re all talking numbers, but I don’t tally”.
Grandmixxer x Mez
South London Space Agency
Widely considered the best grime DJ in the game right now, Grandmixxer also excels on production. He laces all five tracks of this collaborative EP with his blaring, trademark square wave sound, while Mez — a lightning bolt of energy and an MC you can trust to make mincemeat of riddims — drops his yo-yoing flow over Grandmixxer’s production (check out ‘Go’).