JME's Grime MC: What You Need To Know
It's no secret that streaming has become the primary mode of listening to new music for most consumers in recent years, but while services like Spotify and Youtube have certainly made it easier to listen to your favourite artists, that convenience doesn't come without consequences.
The rise of streaming has been matched by a decline in purchases of both digital formats like mp3s and physical formats such as CDs, and while streaming platforms offer artists a quick and easy way to distribute their music to fans, the comparatively low royalty rates delivered to artists – not to mention the often sketchy sound quality – have begun to generate something of a backlash in recent years amongst artists and fans alike, something which has become evident in the recent resurgence of vinyl.
In the case of some genres – particularly hip-hop – it has become the norm to release albums digitally first, with physical formats such as CD and vinyl emerging weeks or sometimes even months later. The albums themselves, meanwhile, contain more and longer tracks as artists and labels try to game streaming algorithms in order to propel their work to the top of the charts.
It was only a matter of time before somebody decided to buck that trend and, as it turns out, that somebody is British Grime star JME. This week he releases his first album in four years, Grime MC, but you won't find it on Spotify, Youtube or anywhere else online. Grime MC is being released in physical format only, on Vinyl and CD, the latter of which is available exclusively at hmv. Here's everything you need to know...
A little background...
JME's last album Integrity> arrived in 2015 and, after a long wait for its follow-up, a handful of fans were given the first glimpse of his fourth album in March this year, when the rapper organised screenings featuring several videos and songs created for the new LP. Again, though, you won't find these online. What you can find, however, is the video JME released in November announcing the album's release date (see below), which also features him writing on a chalkboard the dates of several signing events planned to support the release of the album, several of which take place in hmv stores over the next week.
Who's producing it?
Several producers contribute to the new album, including Blay Vison, Deeco and S-X.
Any special guests?
Merky Ace and JME's brother Skepta are among several guest appearances on the album.
What does it sound like?
There's a broad spectrum of influences at work on the album's often frenzied instrumentals from the distorted, sliding bass of 'This One' to the lush pianos and strings of 'Here'.
The album is at its best, however, on the darker, more brooding tracks – a case in point being Skepta's feature on 'Nang', one of the album's real highlights.
Does it deliver?
Time will tell whether or not JME's bold decision to release the album in physical format represents the beginning of a wider backlash against streaming remains to be seen, but taken on its own merit JME's fourth album is well worth the four-year wait.
If you want to find out just how good it is, you'd better head down to your local hmv (or visit our online store here).
image credit: Karina Lidia