Dave is back at his Santanbest

Dave has just dropped his new track, ‘Black’ during the USA’s Black History Month, and its safe to say that Dave is back on top.

Produced by Fraser T Smith, the pair have come together to create something just short of perfection, discussing the ins and outs of what it is like to be black.

With an instrumental which is first layered with ambient piano keys, it gives the perfect foundation for a boom-bap kind of beat. The two come together well, mixing classical piano chords with what to me sounds like 1990’s US Hip-Hop drum beats.

Dave’s rawness seems to be oozing in this one, taking us back to the days of the passionate and emotional sounds of “How I Met My Ex” and “Picture Me”.

The visuals are clean too, juxtaposing the lush lifestyle that Dave is now living, and the other ends of the scale. Raheem Sterling also features in the video, with a short shot of the famous gun tattoo that Sterling still stands by. As he should.

Raheem Sterling has faced racial slurs in the media as of late, triggered by this tattoo

Following the release of the track, and video, Santan has let twitter know that this is the first song he has released from his forthcoming LP, ‘Psychodrama’.

If the album carries the same intensity, attention to detail and all round individualism associated with the Santandave brand, then we are in for a treat.

In all honesty, I was starting to forget about Dave as we haven’t had a full released project for a while. But this song has done more than grab my attention. The raw talent and passion for the music is something you can’t miss, and I am sure that the upcoming album will reach some serious heights.



NEXT UP EP#1 – TY Real talks his music inspirations, working with GRM Daily and what makes him different

Photo: @tyrealting Instagram

‘NEXT UP’ is a new series where I will be talking to fresh, up and coming artists around the UK, and I welcomed West London’s TY Real to be my first guest.

I was first introduced to TY Real when I stumbled across a short preview video of one of his songs on Instagram, and it surprised me that the tunes hadn’t received as much recognition as they deserved.

When first conversing with TY, I wanted to know how long this MC had been creating music.

When did you start making music?

“Music has forever been one of my passions. I’ve always enjoyed using my creativity to influence the mood of others. 

“The first time that I ever put pen to paper was probably when I was nine years old or so, but the first time I posted a song was some time in 2016. I was 16 at the time”. 

How has your music been received since you started releasing?

“The response to my music has been very positive, especially by those who are not in my circle.

Its always a bonus when those who are not in your circle message me about my music because I know its real love. The support has been great and its only going to get bigger”. 

What makes you different to other MCs who are trying to break through and make a real stamp on the scene?

“I think I’m more conscious about my lyrics. I can’t really name many other artists who are able to maintain quality punchlines with a range of flows”.

How would you define your sound?

“I’d say that my sound is alternative rap that incorporates unique bassy beats with lots of hard-hitting lyrics and punchlines”.

TY Real seemed focus, switched on and clearly has a vision of what he wants to achieve. The versatility is something that I noticed straight away within the music, and the versatility is definitely something the North-West London rapper wants to emphasise.



Visuals are an important part of the TY Real brand. With music being dropped frequently, the importance of music videos is seen as a crucial factor nowadays, for anyone hoping to make an impact on the music scene.

How was the experience working with GRM Daily? 

“It was an okay experience, but I would rather post music on my personal page rather than GRM. 

“Its difficult for people who are used to Afro-Swing and Drill to understand the levels of the underground”.

Who gave the most creative input when it came to directing the visuals?

“I gave my director a few ideas for the video. He chose the location but I told him how I wanted it edited”. 

Ty Real comes with a sound that I have not heard before. Its unorthodox and really pushes another boundary when it comes to the many different styles of UK Rap.

What inspirations have you taken into your music?

“Where I’ve come from, the experiences that I have been through, and the successes that other people have had who come from a similar background to myself, without a doubt inspires me. 

“I’ve been inspired by many different artists from different genres, whether they be UK based or overseas. 

“These artists range from Giggs, Angel and Dave, to Meek Mill, Tee Grizzley and Sheck Wes. The link between these artists is that they are not afraid of the opinions of the public, whether it be the controversial facts in their lyrics, or the out of the ordinary videos.

“They all possess something unique, which pushes me to want to become even more creative”.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

“I’d say, Popcaan and Jorja Smith. Popcaan as he’s one of the biggest artists from my native country. 

“Not many UK artists tend to collaborate with those from the Caribbean today, although there has been an increase”.

Be sure to check out some of TY Real’s links down below, and keep your ears pealed for the new single ‘Nuff Said’ which will be available on all major streaming platforms this Friday.

Instagram – @tyrealting

Twitter – @tyrealting



Manchester season: Tunde features on Fire In The Booth

South Manchester’s Tunde has linked up with Charlie Sloth and Beats 1 for an exclusive episode of Fire In The Booth with Apple Music. And it looks like Manchester is even firmer on the map than ever before.

Tunde comes in with confidence and a new ruggedness which seems to have been missing from the Manchester scene for a minute.

After impressing the scene with his appearances on Link Up TV and P110, the MC from Manchester has brought levels of pure Grime to the Manchester scene which haven’t been seen since Bugzy jumped into everyone’s playlists.

With a fresh, new and different sound, Tunde has emerged onto the scene as the new thing. The accent, the look and the all round trap-lifestyle that the MC emphasises in his bars, appeals to the audience massively – as you can see in the numbers.

“I’ve got a passion for these phones theres no debate, why you think they gave me trapper of the year four years straight”

– Tunde

Tunde comes with a new look, unique to his own brand, with a new sound and flow which really compliments the Manchester accent to it’s full potential.

Charlie Sloth and Beats 1 have pushed this Fire In The Booth heavily, and seemed to
have backed Tunde to make some serious moves after this opportunity.

However, it’s not that Tunde needed this Fire In The Booth, the videos that have been released prior to this have reached some serious heights.

It’s something about this hard, gangster-ridden Grime – from up North which just seems to captivate such an audience.

South Manchester has been stamped on the map after this Fire In The Booth, and with the platform reaching heights and an audience that it has not been able to access before, Manchester’s Grime scene is being pushed in the perfect direction to take it to the next level.

What’s next from Tunde? Who knows. But this Fire In The Booth is another big step in bringing Grime from up North onto the same pedestal as the talent coming from London.

Cadet: A rapper gone too soon

I woke up this morning to see that the unconventional and unique story-telling wordsmith, Cadet had tragically died in a car crash on the way to a show.

With this being said, tragedies like this can not be brushed under the carpet, and the talent of this incredibly underrated MC needs to be appreciated for its worth.

‘Closure’ is one of Cadet’s most intense, and enticing stories that the MC laid down for Link Up TV. Touching on the reasons why he dropped previous freestyles such as ‘Slut’, it really pulls out all the stops to intertwine a number of narratives within one track.

Cadet comes with honesty, emotion and raw realism within this one, his attention to detail brings everything together to keep us, as the listeners, hooked on this story.

“See, word I was still in love when I wrote slut, just words, them scars weren’t closed up”

– Cadet

This is one that can be related to. Relationship issues, heartbreak, and just real raw emotions that the majority of people seem to lock up.

“If you take a girl from someone, she can get taken from you”. Is one line that stuck out for me on this one.

The realness of this song really hits home. This is relatable and is one that again pulls as hard as it possibly can on your heart strings.

Freestyles have a certain rawness to them, and Cadet just seemed to have a natural ability of being able to put together effortless pieces of art for his listeners.

Emotion and personal matters are things that Cadet puts together effortlessly, and although the majority of Cadet’s freestyles were in this style, there is nobody with this style and absolutely nobody who can deliver a story in the way that he does.

Cadet himself calls himself an ‘underrated legend’ in relation to his ‘Underrated Legends’ record label. And I don’t think the South London rapper was wrong when picking this name.

‘Letter To Krept’ is my favourite Cadet song. From one rapper to another, I seriously enjoyed the back-and-forth that Cadet and Krept blessed us with.

Sending for another rapper is entertaining, yes. But, there was something about this exchange between Cadet and Krept that opened a lot of eyes.

Using emotion and love as fuel to put into lyrics offers so much more than just a regular, generic send with a load of ‘your Mum’ bars. This freestyle is timeless.

We have lost a key figure in the UK scene. Cadet had his own sound, that can not be touched by anyone.



Review: AJ Tracey drops his first independent album

AJ Tracey has just dropped his highly anticipated, fully independent, self-titled album, and the newly converted ‘country star’ has delivered a project with plenty of different sounds and energies for his ever-growing fan base.

The 808-King opens up his album with what he claims to be his oldest song on the record.  ‘Plan B’ is two years old according to the Tottenham man, but it opens the album well, with a darker, and intense sound that we have been missing from the MC recently.

This song is targeted towards a variety of emotions that the rapper was going through at that time, with AJ first experiencing some real money and success. It all ties in together nicely to bring us into the next track.

Track two is ‘Jackpot’, coming with a light, smooth sample on the beat, AJ Tracey tackles this one with an iconic, catchy AJ hook.

AJ is lyrically solid on this one, with multiple references to his lavish lifestyle, which still seems to be slightly intertwined with his life before all the fame and money.

“My wrist look like a Skepta ad-lib, but my fans love me ’cause I’m interactive, you sell tracks ’cause of who you rap with, givin’ beef, how many of your features backed  it?”

– AJ Tracey, Jackpot

‘Wifey Riddim 3’ comes in for track four, as the third part of the Wifey Riddim trilogy.

The hook is catchy, with what sounds like a slight afro/carribean influence on the samples, the boy from Ladbroke Grove puts this one together nicely. Sharing vibes and good energies as the album progresses.

Track five is ‘Double C’s’. This is one of my favourites off the album, one that can be listened to for any mood.

It rings off well, with another very catchy hook to get stuck in your head. The beat is so nice for this too, where it ends with a short interlude from an answering machine – which seems like the go-to thing to do when dropping a project nowadays.

AJ Tracey told Beats 1 that his album would include his take on Country Music, and he wasn’t lying. Track six comes with a Country sampled beat, which combines the classic AJ Tracey flow, with arguably some Nav-influenced vocals on the hook.

I wasn’t sure on this one at first, but it slowly seems to be growing on me.

AJ Tracey’s latest single off the album, ‘Psych Out!’ arrives on track seven. This has been received well by his audience, although I really can’t deny that I think this sound has taken a massive influence from Nav, especially in the video.

But, it fits into the album nicely and transitions really well from ‘Country Star’.

I like that AJ Tracey has switched up his sound as his career has progressed, but I can’t be the only one that misses the heavy Grime, ‘Packages’ AJ Tracey.

Track eight comes with an American collaboration with Jay Critch. Its smooth, trappy and has a slight sound similar to Gunna, which I really like.

From this point in the album I was surprised at the versatility that AJ has shown, a number of different sounds have been put together, and they all some how work as one playlist.

Jorja Smith features on the vocals of song number 11 of ‘AJ Tracey’. The summery, garage sampled ‘Ladbroke Grove’ brings sunshine and just a load of good vibes to the album.

This is my favourite song off the tape, which I’m quite surprised at considering I was expecting something a lot Grimier to take the crown.

Its then followed by another one of AJ’s singles off the record, ‘Doin It’ comes in for track 12, and I really don’t feel like this is one of the South London rapper’s best tunes.

To say this is supposed to be one of the Grimier tracks on the album, its left us all a bit disappointed in that respect.

However, the album doesn’t take long to regain the high standard it has carried throughout the large majority of the album, with the Landlord, Giggs being the next on the feature list for ‘Nothing But Net’.

This is definitely one of the strongest songs on the album, with the beat sounding like it was just destined to be playing into a pair of Giggs’ headphones in the studio.

AJ delivers really well on this one, running the beat well and switching his flows up to 140bpm when deemed necessary.

But Giggs comes and takes this track, and turns it into his own. Coming with an effortlessly sick verse, which just emphasises why this man has been at the top of the game for so long.

Track number 14 takes us back to the AJ Tracey ‘The Front’ EP days, with a beat that could easily slide into that EP if it wanted.

This is a sound that we haven’t heard from the Rapper for a while now, but it works so well, and seemed to bring back so many memories from the times of the up and coming AJ.

The album closes with the 15th track, ‘Triple S’ which teases us for a good minute before the beat actually drops.

Its hard, its one for the car and really does eject high energies out of the speakers. This is one that would be mental at one of AJ Tracey’s live shows.

As a whole, the album is very strong, it comes with so many different sounds and really does captivate a lot of what AJ has been thinking about/going through since his career really blew up.

As an independent album, this one is definitely one that you could back to make some history in the charts.

There are songs that could be deemed radio-friendly, but theres also a lot that just reflect the amount of different influences that AJ Tracey has had during his time as a musician.

AJ has evolved since the start of his time in the music game, and it is exciting to see what else the he has to offer in the future.

Rating: 4/5

Has Octavian already dropped the track of the year?

Octavian has dropped yet another banger. This time he has teamed up with Michael Phantom on ‘Bet’, and it works perfectly.

“I just made your girl, a sket, she repped the set” is the opening line to this head-nodder. It comes in with sauce, energy and a contagious feel of absolutely having to nod your head when this comes on.

I have already been Octavian’s biggest fan for a while now. His latest album ‘SPACEMAN’ is flawless start to finish. And after this unorthodox rapper picked up the BBC Sound of 2019 award, we have all been waiting to see what came next.

Octavian then premiered his single ‘Stressed’ where he works with Take A Daytrip to put together yet another solid playlister.

But this new song, is the one that I really think is going to catapult Octavian to the next level.

The song has already started a killer trend, where fans are attempting to replicate this already iconic music video.

This song was my first time in listening to Michael Phantom, and it just seems that he said everything he had to say.

The music video is something different. It couldn’t work any better with this song. The transitions are crazy, and for a video that looks so simple to make, it could not be more effective.

‘Bet’ is my favourite song of the year so far, and I will be highly surprised if this does not get massively recognised.


Fredo: Third Avenue album review

Fredo has released his highly anticipated album ‘Third Avenue’, and I have been itching to listen. Fredo has already achieved a number one in the UK with Dave, so it’s interesting to see if this project holds the same caliber.

The album opens up with ‘Survival of the Fittest’. This is a single that has been around for a while now. It is such a hard track. I have had this one on repeat since it first dropped and I’m still not bored. Sick start to the album, but not much to say on it as it’s been out for a while.

Music then transitions into the second song, ‘Morning’. It comes with a heavy hook – something that we seem to have become accustom to since the rise of this MC.

The beat is prominent, it’s a car banger. Lyrically, it’s boasy, confident and really shows that Fredo has gained a lot more knowledge when it comes to writing songs. It’s a solid song, one for the gym playlist.

Track number three is ‘Mmhm’. The beat is so sick. My head was turned when it first kicked in, and Fredo comes with his usual Fredo lyrics and flow. When listening to this I couldn’t stop thinking how sick the tour is going to be.

The fact that the name of this song is actually an ad-lib, switches up the structure of the usual Fredo sound. I’m glad, as versatility on an album is key.

Sixth on the album list, is the oldest single that was released of the tape. ‘BMT’ is definitely a Fredo anthem. This has had loads of radio play, and if a song had to explain what and who Fredo is, then this song is the one to play.

The album is consistently strong up to this stage, and my point from my previous blog post was emphasised as ‘All I Ever Wanted’ came on.

This song fits into the album well, but I stand by the thought that this should have been kept as an album track.

The narrative of this song really follows the rest of the album, it’s not out of place and really stays in between the lines of the record.

Another collaboration on the album is on track 10, where Fredo combines with Lil Dotz on an extremely hard and catchy track. Dotz comes with more sauce, flows and makes this track so much stronger.

Don’t get me wrong, Fredo also delivers well on this one, but I am a huge fan of Lil Dotz and I don’t think Fredo could have picked a better feature for this beat.

The eleventh song on this tape, breaks into the mind of this rapper, arguably one of the most emotional songs on the album, juxtaposed with a typical hard 808-ridden beat, tells an interesting story of Fredo’s struggles.

At this point, I was heavily invested into the album, it got me thinking, who else sounds like Fredo? And honestly, there isn’t anyone.

The album closes with ‘Third Avenue’ and this is my favourite song on the album. Coming with a slower, mellow and extremely honest lyrical story-telling vibe.

It rounds off the album well, it settles the listeners down to take in the last song of the tape, like all good albums should.

As a whole, this album is very strong, it consistently sticks to its roots, tells a story, whilst all tying together as a really polished project.

In my opinion, this is the strongest album of the year so far. But, it’s only February, so who knows whats coming next.

Rating: 4/5


Is another number 1 coming for Fredo and Dave?

Fredo and Dave have collaborated again in Fredo’s latest single ‘All I Ever Wanted’ which is coming from Fredo’s forthcoming album, ‘Third Avenue’.

And no, this isn’t a tribute to Basshunter’s version. The two MC’s have had massive success as of late from their number one single ‘Funky Friday’. And it seems that the pair are both aiming for more chart success.

‘All I Ever Wanted’ is a darker, more meaningful song from the pair, which follows a narrative throughout. It comes with a message, and it does seem that the pair have attempted to take it back to their roots with this one.

The song comes with a darker beat, which is emphasised by a pretty annoying Fredo hook. His vocals have always been prominent, but the style he has gone with in this hook just doesn’t seem to sit well with me.

Luckily, Fredo’s verse is stronger. Coming with his the typical Fredo flow, it’s nice to see that the rapper is touching on what seem to be personal issues. Which makes the track a lot more respectable as a listener.

Dave comes in as he usually does. His tricky and complex wordplay is something to be admired, but I feel like the rapper just hasn’t mixed it up for a while now, and it’s all starting to sound a little recycled.

You can argue that Dave doesn’t have to mix it up, that his lyrical ability is something that should be the most prominent thing in his music blah, blah, blah.

But the most respected and talented ‘technically lyrical rappers’ such as Wretch 32, and even J Cole, mix up their sounds, flows and energies with complete versatility. And it just feels like Dave hasn’t been doing that as of late.

The video is very good. It follows a strong narrative and really draws you in to watch. It has a lot more context to it than ‘Funky Friday’ which is good, but I can not see this being a chart topper.

I hope this song is a grower. It has clearly taken a different route than ‘Funky Friday’, and maybe it’ll fit into the new Fredo album nicely, but maybe it was just a mistake using this as a single over an album track.

I’m looking forward to ‘Third Avenue’ and I am sure it will be a huge success. But only time will tell to see if this song grows.



Novelist and PREM freestyle on Big Zuu’s Joints Show

Big Zuu welcomed Novelist and Prem through to the Radio 1Xtra studio for an exclusive freestyle on the Joints Show. And it seems that Zuu is effortlessly filling Charlie Sloth’s vacancy.

Novelist comes into the freestyle smoothly. Touching on the iconic lyrics from ‘Nov Wait, Stop Wait’ – from Nov’s Mercury Prize nominated album, ‘Novelist Guy’.

I mean, we have heard these bars numerous times, on several platforms, but you just do not seem to get bored of Nov spraying these bars over different beats.

“I do what I do for the young youth, from back in the day when I ran for the mayor” – Novelist

Prem comes in with heaps of confidence. After seeing Prem in the back of one of Novelist’s SBTV freestyles, it got me thinking whether this guy has bars – and he does.

Coming with a unique and quite different flow, this MC runs the beats well and noticeably impresses Big Zuu.

With both MC’s getting wheel up after wheel up, I wanted to focus on how Big Zuu is fitting into his new role as a prominent DJ at 1Xtra.

After moving from Radar Radio, the MTP man has slotted in nicely, providing his incredibly noticeable energies to the 1Xtra team.

With Charlie Sloth recently leaving the BBC, they needed to replace such an important figure with someone who brings the same levels of excitement.

And it is easy to see that Big Zuu is definitely looking like a long-term member of the 1Xtra team.







Charlie Sloth drops first Fire In The Booth special for Beats 1

Ambush, Headie One, K-Trap and Blade Brown came through to the new Beats 1 studio with Charlie Sloth for the first premiered Fire In The Booth for Apple Music.

The new platform produced by Apple Music has brought Charlie Sloth over from the BBC, to create a new outlet for up and coming artists to broadcast their talents to a bigger audience than ever seen before.

The Fire In The Booth Special brought a Drill sound through to the studio. With all 4 MC’s running over hard, drill-ridden beats.

Ambush and Headie One tackled the opening beat first, with Ambush taking the bodying crown for the first sequence.

Blade Brown tackles the beats well too, as the name that may arguably have the least amount of recognition out of the 4, he held his own and produced a number of very solid verses.

Beats 1 is being broadcasted in over 40 countries worldwide, which I think is such a sick idea. You really can’t blame Sloth for making this move.

Although Drill isn’t really for everyone, I can’t help but admire how the sound is being spread across the globe.

The video itself is very different to the set up that was previously seen on the BBC. With Charlie Sloth stating that we will now be finding out how the artists prepare for their Fire In The Booth’s.

Although the interviews before the freestyles were lacklustre, the new structure to the videos is something I can take to.

Fire In The Booth episodes will now be available on Apple Music too, which is something I’ve been waiting ages for.

This platform is one that is due to take the world by storm, although Charlie Sloth can be a little irritating at times, he is definitely the right man to take the UK scene to a global scale.