As we begin 2017, I thought rather than just reviewing December’s grime releases, I would look back over the entire year’s worth. Instead of doing it release by release, I’m going to focus more on the labels releasing grime music in 2016.
White Peach Records:
Easily one of the standout projects of 2016 is Zha’s vinyl imprint White Peach Records. As well as providing one of the most popular vinyl outlets for general releases, their own release catalogue reached a new level of consistency, especially in the second half of last year. I have listed some of the highlights below:
• Lington – Vendetta In Space
• Sukh Knight – Nightcrawler / Beast
• Youngstar – Bongo Remixes
Sheffield is a city known for its bass culture, and one of its bejewelled projects, Project Allout, has had another spectacular year. Project Allout is one of the few labels to maintain the crossover between grime and bass yet still hold strong credibility in both areas. With multiple top selling releases and an incredibly vibrant roster, there aren’t many who will be able to keep pace with Project Allout in 2017. Highlights from Project Allout’s productive year are listed below:
• J Beatz – Submarine
• Dubzta – Armageddon
• AT – Bulldog
As one of the longest running grime projects still active, I always see a Hardrive release pop up on the horizon. Their highly energetic sound has been more and more influenced by dancehall-esque lead vocals and rapidly punching drum patterns, which is always a killer in a dance. They released a lot over the course of 2016 from grime heavyweights such as Terror Danjah, PJam, Trends, Treble Clef and more. Highlights are listed below:
• D.O.K, P Jam, Terror Danjah & Trends – Dancehall Grime Starter Pack
• Terror Danjah – Mars / Mike Gully
• Trends – Pacman EP
When it comes to work rate in grime, London veteran Spooky has been the first name on the list for the last 18 months or so. In 2016 he relaunched his Ghost House imprint to great effect. Since the release of Spooky’s aptly named ‘No Days Off’ EP, the label has gone on to release very consistently, giving some the underrated names in and around the grime scene a weighty platform to showcase upon. Ghost House’s 2016 highlights are below:
• JLSXND7RS – Red State EP
• Toka – Kairos EP
• Sirpixalot – War Time EP
There’s nothing I respect more than people building something for themselves in their own towns. It’s safe to say that for me, Chameleon Audio was the most exciting project to come out of the West Midlands in 2016. Walsall natives Mojoe and Chemist RNS have worked tirelessly to put together a very solid platform to provide for their powerful roster of upcoming names. Listed below are some release highlights:
• Chameleon Audio Volume 1
• Chemist RNS & Jakebob – West Mids
• Policy – Centre of Earth
Already previously known for their extremely popular live events, BoxedLDN has developed into something much more than a standard night. Through their regular Rinse FM appearances, the Boxed collective has managed to establish a very clear sound, despite being one of the most versatile grime labels in the country. This year they only released 2 full vinyl compilations, but to not include them in this list would have been a crime against grime.
• Boxed x Local Action
Often in close collaboration with the Boxed collective, Oil Gang is definitely another standout imprint for 2016. Over the course of the year, the label released four full vinyl releases, each one making a serious impact on the scene, none more so than their final release of the year which was produced by Trends and Boylan. I mean, let’s be honest, how couldn’t I include the label that released ‘Norman Bates’, just how?
• Dullah Beatz – Ballys On
• Spooky – Fiesta / Cherry
• Trends & Boylan – Norman Bates
Finally, I would definitely like to throw a plug in for the Southpoint collective. It’s been a very crazy year for the Brighton based label, being featured as one of JunoDownload’s standout success stories with over twenty-four releases in total and every grime release charting highly. Southpoint has definitely played a part in revitalising the South’s appreciation for grime and will hopefully continue to do so in 2017.
• Drax – Frostie
• KXVU Presents
• Noble – Screwdriver
It’s safe to say that 2016 was a fantastic year for the exposure of grime – it’s here to stay now. In 2017 the most important thing is to hang on to the integrity and raw elements of grime which made us all fall in love it in the first place.