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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

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Indie/Indie Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Katy J Pearson

Introducing Katy J Pearson, a dreamy singer-songwriter based in Bristol. Though her debut album was recently released on 13 November, she is no stranger to the music scene. She had previously been a part of a duo alongside her brother called ‘Ardyn’, but unfortunately, issues arose with the label. As a result, Katy took a lengthy break from music and songwriting as a whole, convinced she should become a gardener instead. Thankfully, she has made her comeback at long last, and people have already been captivated by the young singer.

Appropriately named, Return symbolizes her new chapter as a musician. The record consists of 10 tracks, each of which pull you into a trance that you don’t want to snap out of. Katy’s voice is simply mesmerizing, and like Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, she is nothing short of a songbird.

Trading in the indie-pop style of Ardyn for a more folk-y, rock-and-roll sound that’s reminiscent of decades past, Katy has blossomed as a musician. She is now under Heavenly Recordings, and in an interview with NME, she states that she feels much more comfortable and confident with this label. 

Katy still writes with brother Rob, and their teamwork can be found in numerous songs on Return. “Take Back The Radio” and “Tonight” are two tracks that showcase their talents, and the pure, genuine magic they create is undeniable. When they were together as Ardyn, they credited Kate Bush and Kings of Leon as their influences, and some of those elements can be heard throughout the record. 

I stumbled upon the 24-year-old through an Instagram post from her label-mates, Working Men’s Club. Her 1970’s-esque album cover instantly caught my eye, and just by the look of it, I knew I had to stop what I was doing to give it a listen. Words are my forte, but I genuinely cannot describe how I felt as each track progressed. Her sound completely stands out in this modern age; she brings forth something new, something exciting, and something enchanting. 

I’m a massive fan of Fleetwood Mac, and Katy makes my heart absolutely flutter. Her music has that alluring Fleetwood-flare to it, but it’s still distinctively Katy. She flawlessly calls back to those sounds of the ‘70s while still staying true to herself and her own style.

Usually, I’m able to pick out my favorites very easily after listening to an album in its entirety. This time, however, is different. One moment, I’m set on “Something Real” as my top pick, and the next I’m telling everyone I know that “Waiting For The Day” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. It’s somewhat of a cycle that repeats with every track. One thing I am sure of, though, is that this is one of my favorite releases of the year.

Within a week of Return’s release, it has already been picked as BBC Radio 6’s Album of the Day and Amazing Radio’s Album of the Week. With this in mind, I am so certain that Katy will rack up even more awards and mentions for this record, so this is just the beginning—mark my words!

I wholeheartedly believe that everybody should listen to Return. I cannot stress enough how stunning it is, and considering the fact that this is just her debut as a solo artist, I am so incredibly eager to find out what else the singer’s got up her sleeve.

“What a weekend it’s been,” Katy writes in an Instagram post. “I am so overwhelmed by everyone’s kind words. Having this album out in the world feels truly wonderful.”

To keep up with Katy J Pearson, give her a follow on Twitter (@KatyJPearsonnn) and Instagram (@katyjpearsonband).