- Mon, 2011-02-21 12:37
Jamie Adenuga, better known as Jme, is universally recognised as one of the most important names in the world of grime. Starting out in Tottenham’s legendary Meridian crew, he and his brother Skepta later left to strike out on their own, founding what has grown to be one of the scene’s most successful and influential collectives; Boy Better Know. With more and more people paying attention, especially since the release last year of his second album Blam!, Jme has decided to refresh our communal memory on how he got to where he is by combining the majority of his first three mixtapes - Shh Hut Yuh Muh, Poomplex & Derkhead – into a retrospective called History.
Presented in chronological order, the 32 tracks offer a thorough profile of the emcee’s lyrical style and preferred subject matter, summed up succinctly in the first bars of track one, Serious: “everybody thinks to emcee tough your lyrics must be about negative stuff. Just because we come from the gutter and know about scraping the bottom of the butter don’t mean we have to be sinners.” Jme has, from day one, disapproved of the clichéd lyrical approach of many of his contemporaries, whose style he criticises on 96 Bars Of Revenge; “”bare emcees just lie too much. If not then they say ‘like’ too much. Easy-peasy similes used too frequently just gets on my nerves,” and on Don’t Get Rude: “don’t chat about guns 24/7 as if you were in the World War.”
What’s more, he backs up his critique of his fellow emcees with intelligent lyrics of his own. On Deceased Jme tells the story of being stabbed, and does so with honesty rather macho posturing, but then proceeds to parody himself on the sequel, Deceived. On R U Dumb he fills his opening bars with Spoonerisms, for example, “you think you’re a badman to the fullest cos you got a couple of shotbun gullets,” or “tell your girl to leave me alone, stop calling my phonebile mo,” concluding his verse with the punchline “I spit like I’ve got dyslexia.” He even shows that grime emcees can use their influence to be positive role-models, deriding excess drinking and smoking on Eat Junk.
A variety of names grace production duties, including Skepta, Wiley, DaVinChe, Grime Reaper, Plasticman and Jme himself. The majority of the beats are old-school grime – simple, steppy and slightly dark – but there are also some different flavours on offer, from Wiley’s characteristic eskibeat to more synthy tracks like Poomplex or Blind. There are also a good range of guest emcees, including Scorcher, Tempa T, President T and, once again, Skepta and Wiley.
Those who have been into grime for a long time are more than likely to have the majority of the tracks on History in one form or another, but for those just getting into the genre this compilation is a great way to become better acquainted with one of the most individual and intelligent emcees in the game.