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Creators Monthly Rap/Grime Why We Love

Why We Love – DATKID

One day I’ll fall in love with you like my ears did for hip-hop” is what my favourite poster on the wall of my childhood den said. I must’ve had it up for ages; I always loved hip-hop and spent countless hours listening and dancing to it in my bedroom, in the studio, and on stage. It was probably its mood and cadence that I really enjoyed at first before I started grasping the essence of it, the meaning behind the slang in verses about battles with poverty and crime. Years later I moved to Bristol and was introduced to Datkid – he’s got a sound I’ve personally not often heard off the East Coast and generally anywhere in the last 10 years or so. I’m still unsure whether it’s his well-thought, raunchy and oddly-satisfying lyrics, the heavy technical know-how, or the stern I don’t give a f*** attitude that fascinates me. What I do know is I re-live that moment my ears fell for hip-hop every time Datkid comes on.

He’s no new addition to the scene; Bristolian emcee and Crud Lord, he formed the rap collective Demorus back in 2008 and dropped his debut Dkay and Gramma 3 years later. He then linked up with the Bristol rap collective Split Prophets and featured on a number of their projects, including Drugs​, ​Booze & Dental Issues. Raw and factual, the album is a ride to the dark underbelly of the city. He released Home By 8, an epode to the art of tag, and that’s when his notoriety started to shoot up into the sky.

With a bunch of exceptional solo projects and gnarly features under his belt, Bristol’s very own Datkid quickly became a lead prospect in the British rap scene as he kept throwing top-notch productions at his fans. 2019 brought about Confessions of a Crud Lord, one of his mightiest projects so far, where alongside Four Owls producer Leaf Dog he serves a grim affair in all its flagrant dirtiness. The album features heavy craftsmen like Conway the Machine, Westside Gunn, and Roc Marciano, and it neatly sums up the tone of What’s the point in living if you’re just surviving?

Datkid’s latest prodigy, Wakmo, is nauseatingly grand. The secret to that is, of course, Illinformed’s finesse in producing sickly ghoulish beats. The bars are gloriously depraved, and they take you right there to that warped, crude-but-candid reality of Datkid’s life and career. It’s so dazing and potent that you don’t just listen to it but can actually feel an ugly aggressiveness breathing down your neck for a second. A tribute to the rapper’s hometown loyalty, the album boasts an impressive number of guest stars. Rappers like Bil Next, Mistafire, Wish Master, or Eric the Red will unapologetically discharge more sick verses with deft flows off onto you, therefore bringing about one of the most hardcore and obstinate rap albums that ever emerged from Bristol.

I urge you to listen to this one ’til the very end. And before you forget, go ahead and buy his music via Bandcamp. You can check out some more music and merch on the Split Prophets Bandcamp too.

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Rap/Grime Why We Love

Why We Love – Rocks FOE

Wandering the rowdy streets of Bristol I stepped into one of the city’s most loved bars only to witness the performance of the best young lyricist in the scene: Rocks FOE. The UK’s finest fire spitter, the bona fide beat sculptor, was finally up on the stage among a dozen other Bristol youths. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since his first Legion EP back in 2015 and let me tell you – his live performance was better than I could’ve dreamt of. Born and raised in Croydon, Rocks FOE took the scene by storm with his first self-produced rap-grime hybrid EP released on Black Acre Records. Harmonizing cabalistic beats with sinuous references from the occult, drawing on anime characters and US rappers like Pharaohe Monch and GZA, his unique style set him on the ramp to success – hear for yourself.

Rocks remained passive to the outside world and made rare live appearances. Still, UK producers quickly became spellbound by his talent and this landed him a feature on Commodo’s ‘How What Time’ LP in 2016. His next release from 2017, ’Fight The Good? Fight’, dives even deeper into his true being as he explores daily fights and struggles. Throughout the record he raps about money, family and inner turmoil. His sound scopes beyond the turf of Croydon and unmasks his nerve as he flows at warp speed over beats heavier than a black hole.

In 2018 Rocks comes again strong with his Legion Lacuna EP, and if you’re a true grime head you might even recognize a sound or two. Trance-worthy ominous beats that maintain the speed, nerve and sheer lyrical genius that the Croydon rapper already accustomed his listeners to are unveiled throughout the EP. With less than 10k views on YouTube, I can’t help but bow to the genuine underground flavour of his music. “Legion” is my all-time favourite grime track with lyrics that exude vigour, dynamism, and the confidence to rise above the unworthy.

RELX, Rocks’ latest project, is made up of three EPs produced by the man himself, and I promise you once again this will rocks-foe you off your chair. ‘Part I’, compiled and initially released in 2019 for 24 hours only on Bandcamp, is now (luckily) widely available to buy and stream. ‘Part III’ was released in March this year with ‘Part II’ still being kept hidden from the public. RELX shows a fresh approach to his established style as Rocks draws influences from R&B, contemporary American rap and Western-style gunshot sounds to put together another record that will surely strike your chords if you’ve liked his stuff so far. 

Rocks FOE has proven time and again to be one of the most talented rappers of his generation and is truly worthy to be heard by all of you out there who dig UK grime. Head off to his Bandcamp to help support his grassroots music, and let your friends know, too.

Listen Now on Bandcamp