Trim. Trimbal. Trim-Trim-Cheroo. Trimanosaurus Rex. Osama Trim Laden. Aside from possibly his age-old adversary President T, it’s hard to think of anyone in the scene with a flow as unique as Trim’s. Frankly it feels slightly wrong to refer to Trim as being in the scene; it hasn’t always been clear where he fits into the wider world of grime. Yes of course he was in the preeminent crew Roll Deep and his recognisable voice appears throughout the annals of the genre’s history — from challenging Roachee and Wiley for the best verse on ‘When I’m Ere’ to sending for anyone and everyone on pirate radio and on ‘The Lowdown’.
But in the intervening years he has been something of an anomaly. While Wiley, Dizzee and Tinchy were topping the charts with crossover pop hits, Trim was undertaking more leftfield collaborations with the likes with Skream, Mark Pritchard (AKA Harmonic 313), Dusk & Blackdown and even Riva Starr. They weren’t always great (Lord of Lord’s very much excepted) but they demonstrated that Trim is not one to crave the limelight, or shy away from an interesting or experimental project.
Trim refers to this directly to this on the opening track of the album: “The kid’s from grime but I don’t think the scene could’ve held my weight / Most man need a collective but I’m just me, doing this on my Js”.
‘Stretch’ is the perfect introduction to what the album represents — Trim rejecting the pigeonholes of the conventional grime and UK rap scene, over-the-top production that would sound out of place underneath anyone other than one of the country’s most unique voices. Second track ‘Before I Lied’ immediately introduces the inimitable 1800-Dinosaur sound that would undeniably work on its own. But yet again, the self-referential Trim (“they said the flow seemed as weird as fuck”) adds an extra dimension to the distinctive production stylings of Happa.
The James Blake-produced ‘RPG’ might attract the most attention (for obvious reasons), but despite being a fantastic track it is by no means the best on the album. ‘Man Like Me’ proves that Airhead could easily refashion himself as a grime producer, while ‘Waco’ is a fresh take on the dubstep sound that both collective and MC have previously experimented with.
While the initial thought from some quarters may be that Trim has landed on his feet due to a strong personal and professional relationship with global superstar James Blake (following the incredible ‘Confidence Boost (Harmonimix)’), that would be doing the veteran MC a huge disservice. This album as a whole is without doubt greater than the sum of its parts, but it just so happens that those parts comprise one of the most intriguing production collectives in the industry, and arguably the most unique MC that this country has to offer.
Words: James Kilpin
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