To understand Wamp 2 Dem, you have to understand the journey. In the past 12 months, Giggs dropped his 2016 album ‘Landlord’, shut down his first ever headline shows and featured on not one, but two tracks from Drake’s ‘More Life’ playlist. Giggs’ name and sound have carried outside of the UK and he’s picked up fans from all over the world.
But nothing is easy, and for every fan gained, there are always gonna be haters. Back in September, when Giggs announced the project’s release date, he dropped it alongside a promotional video for the mixtape, featuring a montage of critical tweets and a clip of DJ Akademiks describing his ‘KMT’ verse as “wack”. ‘Wamp 2 Dem’ (“what happened to them?” in jamaican patois) was warming up to be a single aimed shot at the naysayers and the anticipation was bigger than ever. His social media was littered with snippets of tracks and rumours of who he may be working with and last week finally saw its release.
With a total of 13 tracks, this mixtape could easily be an album with an impeccable audio quality and a host of special guests. Giggs also expands on the producers he’s worked with on this project in comparison to ‘Landlord’. Miami’s Cool & Dre produces two tracks on the project while he also taps London On Da Track and Zaytoven for production. The project’s opener ‘Gully N***as’ starts off as a hypnotic blend of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy‘ and a thumping undertone which draws you in straight away. When Giggs eventually takes to the mic, any doubts that we wouldn’t see the old Giggs are dispelled with hard hitting lyrics;
“So disrespectful, feel so disrespected. Called up the 6 god, phone just connected!”
The message is clear – while he may have had one of the craziest years (and most successful), nothing will change him and he will always remember his roots.
At first glance, one of the most interesting features is the inclusion of US rapper 2 Chainz. On ‘Ultimate Gangsta’, both drop incredible verses, both taking to the clapping beat and making it their own, Giggs barking his way through and Chainz using his signature style of laid back rap. The only downside to this collaboration is that it seems almost too contrived and feels like two seperate tracks stitched together. In all honesty, this is probably down to Chainz recording his verse and sending it over but with such good chemistry shown on later tracks with Dave and Popcaan, it feels like this one stands out for not being so.
‘Straight Lifestyle’ is up next and allows Giggs to kick back and deliver with this monotone flow, dropping a set of quotable bars (“It’s an old school, it’s a Maggie Thatcher“) and sees him cracking up throughout. This track reminds us that ‘Wamp 2 Dem’ is a mixtape and some track’s inclusion are just for showcasing his lyrics and having some fun. In stark contrast to this, ‘Time Tickin’ is a track that could be featured on any album and sees Giggs link up with the unruly one, Popcaan for a hard hitting road anthem. The verses are low-toned with hints of patois while the chorus is a sing-along affair which gives the tune an extra breath of life.
“Giggs have the ‘matic and the metric mi ah brace. The whole world know seh London ah mi place”
Showing that ‘Wamp 2 Dem’ is not only all about rap bangers, ‘The Essence’ sees Giggs in one of his most intimate states, talking life on the road, his current success and what the future holds. The track is a reminder that while many of his fans, especially his new ones, may only see big bad Hollowman, Giggs has always shown that he is not afraid to get deep on tracks. He’s also not afraid to rerun a tried and tested combination and ‘Linguo’ sees him team up with Donae’o again, creating a follow up to 2016’s ‘Lock Doh’ – a virtual smash hit for the pair. While ‘Linguo’ is not a carbon copy of ‘Lock Doh’, the tracks do share similar elements but that is no bad thing as the track has the potential to be one of the standout tracks from the project.
Young Thug and Lil Duke jump into the booth for ‘Gangsta & Dancers’ and while the combination doesn’t seem like the most obvious, the final product is a unique track. Duke & Young Thug handle the hook while Giggs handles the first verse and Thugger takes over the second. It’s certainly a hype record and Young Thug’s touch on it brings it to another height. Giggs experimentation with trap at times has been a hit and miss affair but ‘Gangsta & Dancers’ is certainly a hit in a big way. The track is sure to get some more notice overseas and with the inclusion of Thugger, people should begin to see the worth of Giggs.
Both ‘Moist Pussy’ and ’50 Cali’ sound like they could have been pulled from 2008’s ‘Walk In Da Park’, with themes such as sex (reminiscent of ‘Best Pussy’) and beef penetrating through the speakers, backed by thumping and dark instrumentals. As said before, ‘Wamp 2 Dem’ serves as an intersection for Giggs, balancing his new found success while maintaining his core sound, the sound of the road. This idea of celebrating what has come before is reflected perfectly with features from D Double E & Footsie aka the Newham Generals on ‘Outsiders’. Produced by Footsie himself, the track sounds a classic Grime hit with punching trumpets and hi hats and sees all three go back to back. Credit goes to Giggs here on adapting his flow and style to fit with the fast paced Generals, a trait that he’s previously shown on tracks with Kano (‘3 Wheel Ups’) and Ghetts (‘Gas Mark 9’).
“I don’t trust that yout, he’s lookin’ like he’s Trident”
The final quarter of the album is a personal favourite with Giggs looking to end the project on the bang. Leading the charge is ‘Horror Movie’, a dark and hauting (surprise) number with Giggs dropping a signature flow, stabbing the beat and making it one that needs to be pulled up again and again to catch a bar. The same can be said for ‘Peligro’, a team up with fellow South Londoner Dave as both go in with a classic flow. An interesting point is that while both Dave and Giggs have had the rub from Drizzy, both have used this to their favour and capitalised on the initial buzz.
The project’s closer ‘Ruler’, is another hard hitting and powerful track and sees Giggs reflect back on the past 12 months (“man dropped the big boy album, man got congrats for that“). The final track holds a similar message for the whole tape – “what happened to them?”. In terms of what happened to the haters, they will surely catch wind of ‘W2D’ and Giggs has gone out of his way to prove them wrong. What happened to the game? Well the game is constantly evolving and Giggs has always stayed on top of his game and the inclusion of Dave, Young Thug and Popcaan shows how versatile he can be. What happened to Giggs? Well this past year will surely be seen as his crowning year and ‘Wamp 2 Dem’ is his thank you to those who stuck by him and a f**k you to those who doubted.
The album is available to download or stream here.