New Gen New Gen XL
With all the dialogue about a renewed critical and commercial interest in grime and UK rap music, it can sometimes feel like we have more think-pieces and ones-to-watch lists than we do music. Refreshing then that New Gen, a playlist-turned-label A&R’d by ex-GRM Daily editor Caroline SM, places the cast of artists firmly at the centre.
The story goes that these 17 tracks were put together in a basement studio in Dalston, a space which became a hub of fiery, boundary-pushing musical energy. The end result is an exciting and diverse compilation of promising artists with a couple of highlights. BBC Sound Poll winner Ray BLK sounds bright with rich, soulful vocals on Busy, the unstoppable Stefflon Don conjures a storm on Money Haffi Mek and Coventry rapper Jevon makes a promising arrival on the melodic Man Of The Hour.
There aren’t quite as many experimental forays as the hype suggested – a lot of the tracks are familiar styles done exceptionally well – but the prevailing triumph on this compilation is the mere fact that the music does all the talking. With any luck the New Gen imprint can grow and give artists enough space to work outside of typical blueprints – trying new things with the talent they’ve clearly got.