1-800 Dinosaur – July 29th
In 2002, before a fixed name was coined, grime was described as “end of the world music” by one of its early pioneers, Dizzee Rascal. In an interview last year Dizzee addressed calls for him to return to the grimy sounds of his debut album, saying: “That’s not how I made ‘Boy in the Corner’. I did that by experimenting.”
In this decade, grime has experienced a resurgence that reached a boiling point in 2016. Though this resurgence has been extremely fruitful in terms of giving a platform to new and old artists alike, an opinion piece published by Boiler Room last year noted that “the most active group of forward-thinking beatmakers are working in tandem, but completely separately, to the MCs, who are revisiting older styles.”
In line with this, on the full-length debut by the collective of producers known as 1-800 Dinosaur (featuring James Blake, Boothroyd, Airhead, Happa, Bullion, Dan Foat and Klaus), a strong attempt has been made at bridging the gap between forward thinking production and playful lyricism that made grime so hard to define in its early inception.
On tracks such as ‘White Room’, ‘RPG’ and ‘Seeker’, (produced by Boothroyd, Blake, and Klaus respectively) anxious soundscapes smother Trim’s verses and add atmosphere to lines like “I serve the waves that most man drown in”. Punchlines come crashing down with weighty hilarity on Airhead produced tracks ‘Man Like Me’ and ‘Waco’ with lyrics “most of these MCs are as bad as Miley’s twerking” and “you don’t wanna clash and not ring me”. Trim has always been an MC out for war – “I aint even brung out an album, and I’ve touched a nerve” – and his extreme self-aggrandizing is often done with his tongue firmly in his cheek. Even when making grand claims to be a genre in his own right, Trim is still smirking: “I’m not grime, I’m Trimski!”, a pun on one of grime’s earlier names ‘Eski beat’.
Despite the humor, there is truth to the above claim: no other MC has displayed such a long-standing dedication to experiment with production and delivery. This is evident in the sheer number of album length mixtapes Trim has released online over the years, which he considers to be a platform for trial and error, as he explained in an interview with Noisey: “mixtapes are like practice to me, a time to try unusual things”.
One of the highlights at this year’s Field Day festival was when James Blake brought out Trim, during his headline set, to perform Confidence Boost (Harmonimix). Originally released by Trim in 2007, the track was given a powerful reworking by Blake in 2012, marking the first time the pair had collaborated. Since then Trim has featured as a guest MC at numerous nights hosted by the collective of producers known as 1-800 Dinosaur. Their debut full-length effort together sees the spirit of these nights captured on record, whereby Trim would display his versatility by weaving old and new bars through whatever instrumentals were dropped by the experimental collective. It is the will to experiment that makes this album more significant than a lot of what has been pushed to the fore as the resurgence in grime reaches newer heights in 2016.