Dro Carey is killing it. The Sydney producer also known as Tuff Sherm, also known as Eugene Ward has always been comfortable attacking his career from different angles, and his latest track Elevate featuring Cadell and Chocolate isn’t an exception.
It’s steadfastly a grime track, a genre recently gathering momentum from a string of modern luminaries. Ward has been dropping grime in his sets for years, and given the direction of Elevate, we’ve asked him to share his favourite tracks that fall under the hefty banner.
There aren’t many Aussie producers pushing grime, but Dro Carey is one of them and you’ll feel filthy after reading his top 10 current grime tracks.
Ets – Tekkers (Oh Well)
With this list I’ve decided to focus mainly on new tracks, younger artists and ‘current faves’ rather than classics. Ets is a really exciting MC who just sounds really natural to me, the beat selections on his Casper EP from this year are not the obvious ‘hard’ things, and he humbly gets on and proceeds to spray and impress. Hard to describe, but I love the attitude.
Figure Flows – Hustle Blad
I only came across this tune a couple of weeks ago but have been really into it since. Figure Flows is an Essex-based MC and it’s always interesting to hear from non-London artists in grime. This track cruises along as something that feels both laid back and hard at the same time.
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Rocks FOE – Freestyle (Prod. Spooky)
This track is a freestyle over a Spooky beat, from a mixtape spearheaded by Capo Lee called Why Not, which is self-described as: ‘a project put together by a group of artists and producers within the grime scene, in which a mixtape was created and filmed in a single 10 hour studio session.’
The entire tape comes highly recommended and with the level of quality on display, it’s apparent 10 hour creation time is unbelievable.
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Cadell – Thug Riddim (Prod. Zomby)
This is my favourite track from Cadell’s album 3 Is The New 6, and its sick to hear Zomby in an aggressive rather than meditative mode. Verses that lock into a vocal sample in the beat at the end of each phrase are always impressive and Cadell nails this one.
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Reeko Squeeze – Don’t Rave Much
Reeko Squeeze was formerly a member of breakout UK trap crew Section Boyz. He’s not a grime artist, but I feel the relationship between UK trap, drill and grime is an interconnected thing, especially on the production front.
Particularly in the last 12 months, breaking it down, these UK trap and drill beats have been dominated by elements that bring to mind grime, with 808s gliding along as melodies rather than just harmonically reinforcing a synth part as they would in a Metro Boomin beat. And the snares are not rolling to move into a barline, they are constantly hammering in a way that gives the beat a shuffled feel.
Big Zuu – Ballin’ (Feat. JayAmo)
I’ve been playing this one a lot. I love listening to Big Zuu’s show on Radar Radio, for both the banter and the music, and he brings an insane energy to his bars. This is from the Big Who EP, released a year ago. And, in a genre that has a tendency to kick into verse one very quickly, it has an unusually long intro and outro in the beat, something that is hugely appreciated by DJs…
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Skepta – Lyrics (Feat. Novelist)
After sitting with Skepta’s album a fair bit, I think I’ve decided this is my favourite track. Short, direct and translates/captures something of the feel of live sets or clashes.
The beat seamlessly alternates between something like a classic Dizzee Rascal instrumental and, with the simple addition of straight high-hats, something more hip-hop/trap. So in that sense it embodies and reflects the major aesthetic success of this album – the combination of old and new.
Mez – Lex Luther (Feat. Stormzy)
Despite Stormzy’s rise, this feature from this year seems to have gone slightly under the radar. Mez is a Nottingham MC, naming his EP M1, after the motorway he must use pretty frequently to go down to London for sets. The EP is fully produced by the legendary Davinche, who produced Ps & Qs by Kano, among many other classics…
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Tizzy Gang (Tre Mission, Cadell & Merky Ace) – Steeze
From the tracks floating around YouTube and SoundCloud, these three MCs seem to be central to it, or at least have recorded the most under the banner. Many of the Tizzy Gang tracks aren’t grime, and reflect Cadell and Merky’s current tendency towards trap, but songs like Steeze still are totally grime rhythms and flows, just with trap 808s.
Wen – Play Your Corner (Feat. Riko Dan)
Though only two years old, I would firmly say that this tune, along with its remixes, can already be considered a classic. Both the Wen original and the Kahn and Neek remix re-asserted the power of vocal grime in a general ‘bass’ music landscape that was a bit too obsessed with beat constructions.
The resurgence of grime has not only been in a popular/radio/streaming sense, it has equally been a resurgence in heads and tastemakers playing vocal grime in sets. Tracks like this helped vocal grime forge its way back into the sets of non-grime DJs.