Curated by GRM Daily creative director Caroline SM, and featuring a tracklist that reads like a who’s who of underground UK rap, ‘NEW GEN’ functions as a yearbook for one of the most exciting periods in the scene’s history.
Never mind the headlines that grime’s grabbed this year, 2016 has been a far more exciting year for the relatively nascent rap scene. ‘NEW GEN’ is not a compilation per se, and there’s a consistency to the production throughout, but the collaborative nature of the way the album was put together - Caroline opened up studio space in London and invited artists to pass through and collaborate - means that it remains varied enough to hold the listener’s attention throughout. This is a balancing act that’s no mean feat in a day dominated by playlist-based streaming services.
Highlights comes from, well, nearly everyone — but AJ Tracey, Dotty, Avelino (on ‘Welcome To The New Gen’), and Stefflon Don offer particular standouts.
Kojey Radical deserves a particular mention, too, for picking apart the often-stringent confines of the genre to deliver a disjointed, James Blake-ian workout.
As with any project such as this, though, everyone will have their own favourites. It’s just a blessing that picking one will prove so difficult.
Words: Will Pritchard
- - -
- - -