Thursday, 7 May 2015

JME - "Integrity"

JME's new album "Integrity" was released earlier this week, approximately 2 months after the video for the title track from the album appeared online, accompanied by a sparse, but effective video, which features JME rapping with a determined intensity to a single camera, surrounded by a hefty collection of records.
The track itself is firmly rooted in grime, accompanied by a beat that has strong dubstep influences. It's a really moody piece of atmospheric music. I love the way it features a bassline that alternates between 2 notes, held for about 4 beats. It feels like it keeps the track centered and is duplicated with a higher sounding synth playing the same notes. The whole beat is centered, giving JME a chance to tell his story, which is what I love about the track. I have always been aware of his existence since he emerged back in the mid 2000's as a member of the Boy Better Know crew, but what I find particularly intriguing is the bits where he talks about his dealings with major labels, when he had a hit with "Serious" in 2006, which is from around 2:30 in the track. With a more animated flow than he displays at the beginning of the track he details such experiences as "bare meetings with pricks". With Skepta reaching the top 20 and the performance that Kanye West put in at the Brits, featuring a number of prominent grime MC's it could be a very interesting time for the genre. But another truth is that it could lead to a rush of labels eager to sign young MC's, many who are building up their following through their YouTube plays, rather than the pirate radio days where Boy Better Know established their following. Is it strange that Kanye West's performance reinvigorated the genre's mainstream cache? (I say this as if you hear Skepta's track "Shutdown", it features a sample of an outraged critic who was intimidated by the visual of a gang of young men all on stage in black). I think the answer to that is probably.

Anyway, the JME album called "Integrity" is well worth a listen. The thing I appreciate most about JME's flow is the controlled intensity. That is featured throughout the album. I'd love for it to be a mainstream hit, showing you don't have to compromise anything to sell records. It won't, but I certainly appreciate his work and with some of the excellent reviews the album has received I imagine many more will check out his work.

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