It’s another wintry Friday in Lockdown The Third. Storms have raged, and a certain football team prematurely described as the “best in English history” are being disgraced casually. Silver linings and that. We’re in the third week of the new year already, despite not being able to move as freely as we might’ve hoped by now, there is a lot to be hopeful about. FDT.
To begin with, we’ve got RV, Chip and Backroad Gee going back-to-back on ‘Moonwalk Slide’ Backroad is making a claim for having some of the coldest ad-libs in the UK right now, while RV teases his hotly-anticipated new EP. Chip is busy doing what he does. The nonconforming Lancey Foux continues his hot streak on ‘Steelo Flow’ – it’s typically futuristic in sound, with a sci-fi edge to it. The ethereal vocalist RIMON put together a live session of her tracks ‘never learned to cope’ and ‘feed me’ – since there are no gigs right now, artists have to branch out and put experiences like this together. Not mad at all. Erick The Architect of Flatbush Zombies jumps across the pond to link up with Mancunian songstress Pip Millett, to bring us the calming vibes of ‘Selfish’. Fredo finally makes his return, with Dave on the production on ‘Back To Basics’ preparing to drop his new album that’s been overdue for a minute now.
RV x Chip x BackRoad Gee – Moonwalk Slide
Anything drill production extraordinaire M1OnTheBeat makes turns to gold. This unexpected collaboration is no different. The typically spectral underscore is cut open explosively by each artist. Backroad energetically sets it off, which is definitely by design. He’s proven himself to be a human ad-lib generator “Moonwalk, slide, tell the opps them come outside” starting a song with a chorus is bold, but it sets the track up in a way where each artist can literally slide in and out of verses – as these guys do throughout. Every time they switch it up, they slide in and out of the shot throughout. They definitely had fun cooking this up, and even Headie One makes a cameo, he’s not to miss out on the energy.
Lancey Foux – Steelo Flow
Lancey Foux is all about metamorphosis. Every single, every release, represents a new transformation. Inspired by the likes of Prince, David Bowie and Fela, Foux always aims to explore new personas through his music. Steelo Flow starts in cinematic fashion, a dosey security guard loosely protecting the building, while Lancey and a group of aliens begin to infiltrate the space. Then the glitchy bassline kicks in with Lancey on a motorbike, saying he’s “On a whole new swag, new steelo, I’m in a whole new bag”. The beat switches up, as does Lancey’s fit – from white to black – he’s the Louis Vuitton villain “I’m popping several tags, I only shop with those yellow bags”. Lancey’s music always has a hint of drama in it, the production always frantic, his delivery is always on red alert. He’s always had a unique sense of aesthetic style and now the music is matching the imagery. It’s a big year for him.
RIMON – never learned to cope + feed me
The ethereal songstress RIMON crafts an audiovisual experience to match her tender delivery and her overall artistic vision. With a grand Renaissance sculpture as the backdrop, which reminds me of the GOOD Music ‘Cruel Summer’ album artwork, RIMON’s live band match the energy she’s curating – all draped in earthy YEEZY-esque tones. In a space so grand, when the piano starts hitting, your ears take note. And if that doesn’t do it – then her magnetic voice will.
The song is about being transparent, speaking of past times, where she could’ve done better. The original of the track was powerful, but in this space, supported by a group of great singers and pianists and drummers, the whole sonic experience is heightened. The pandemic has totally removed live music as an option, so artists have had to find new ways to express the feeling that a live performance can bring to audiences. Watching football on tv is great. But being in the terraces roaring your team on? Priceless. The visceral feeling that comes with being there live is gone – so curating experiences like this is becoming the norm. But, what RIMON does differently is the theatre-like switch into a different form for b-side track ‘feed me’. The tone shifts, the light becomes dark, her costume changes – the drama rises. Flipping the video on its head isn’t a new trick. But, with these pared-down, Tiny Desk-like performances, you always expect something more kitsch in its execution. But RIMON went for scale, for something grander. It’s a well-delivered fusion of live performance and music video – making the most of what we have access to for now. I’m a fan.
Erick the Architect Feat. Pip Millett – Selfish
Erick the Architect, producer of the dark and ghostly Flatbush Zombies beats, switches directions to shine a light on the issues of our day. He taps up the talented Pip Millett for some yang to match his yin. Erick muses solemnly on the state of race relations in the United States right now “we could stand to settle, every black boy isn’t born ghetto, but we in this racket, police tactics / we need more metal”. His flow is calm and sombre, sounds similar to that of Earl Sweatshirt. It’s a rhythmic release of thoughts – that never feels over the top. Erick crafts a beat that suits his delivery to perfection – the slow piano loop and gentle bassline let his story take centre stage. Pip Millet jumps into the chorus to change the flow a bit, her soft delivery acting as a balm to the heavy home truths Erick drops throughout. In the current renaissance of British R&B, Pip Millett’s neo-soul inspired deliveries stands out. Her music is more full-bodied, in a more classic mould than a lot of contemporary R&B is. This collab was unexpected but definitely welcomed.
Fredo – Back to Basics
Fredo keeps it simple on his return to the spotlight. But simple doesn’t mean basic. Produced by the hyper-gifted Dave, Fredo’s languid delivery tells us that he’s only warming up. Kicking back in a penthouse with the gang, evoking imagery of a mob boss in his downtime. Fredo’s smart wordplay is generally underrated, but the slow bass cooked up by Dave gives his quips space to breathe: “you ain’t seen a hundred racks? Well I can demonstrate, young nigga blowing up the flat, I detonate, glass AP is shattered, my wrist needs a rest today”.
In between flexing next to the Lambo Urus and having STK delivered to the spot, Fredo’s a long way from the bando now “yo my lady woke up with bruises, tryna find who did it, silly girl, you must not realise how my diamonds hitting”. Fredo’s last drop was a track dedicated to his childhood friends Muscle and Billy Da Kid, who passed away recently. Now he’s got that off his chest, he’s back to deliver his best flexes. Dave and Fredo’s last link-up ‘Funky Friday’ was a problem – also produced by the man himself. Hopefully, Dave’s got more production cuts on Fredo’s Money Can’t Buy Happiness – releasing on the 29th of January.