Girls I rate in 2020 by @cammy_camilla
(Intro on why I joined Grime Originals, and what lead to this feature)
When I was asked a few months ago if I’d consider joining a team of writers at Grime Originals, I was apprehensive (not because I don’t believe in, love and support the brand with my whole chest…I even wear it ON my chest most days as my wardrobe is patterned with nuff grime originals garms!), but because it’s no secret (for those of you who have followed my write-ups over at ‘Dine on grime // Munch on music’), that my journey as a writer over the last 4 years has not been an easy one. I was more than ready to park my pen permanently, due to direct experience of colourism, negativity, and suspicions regarding my intentions, which I deemed as pure. My intentions were, and still are, to write passionately ‘For the music’ (Word to Sharky) that I grew up with, and is very much a part of who I am, due to its Caribbean lineage. However, when Sharky came along, offering an anchor and a major opportunity that was too good to turn down – Join the team, and continue to write about women in Grime, while also having the added advantage of introducing female Grime (and rap) artists, from Manchester, and other regions – ‘I must be dreaming’ I thought; after working with Grime Originals in 2018 interviewing artists, I’d enjoyed the experience so much, I had wished then I could work with them permanently. Once I knew my long-time on/off collaborator Dirty Cipher was on board, it was a done deal! So here I am – A fully-fledged member of the immensely talented team of writers at Grime Originals, and it feels like I’ve come home.
My specialty will be to bring you the hottest single, EP and album releases from women in grime and rap, who are based primarily outside of London first and foremost. I’ll also be sporadically dipping in to write ups about female London artists, and I’ll be flinging out wild card write ups from time to time, regarding my fav old school male grime artists who spun me as a yute, and continue to do so to this day, hence my recent write-ups focusing on D Double E and Saskilla.
So without further ado, let’s unwrap my 2020 Girls I rate, so you know who to keep a close eye on throughout 2021!
OneDa – Manchester music maverick, OneDa, had a BIG year and managed to keep herself busy during lockdown. After she was given the honour of headlining the BBC Introducing Takeover showcase last year, My fellow Manny native had a massive collaboration in 2020 with Jazz/hip hop/ and all round creative collective ‘The Mouse Outfit’, with the single -‘Follow Me’, which saw OneDa further push her creative boundaries, by immersing herself in alternate music genres. OneDa also released her debut E.P ‘OneDa Land’ – reviewed by yours truly exclusively for grime originals. She also had a sick feature on Coventry artist, Skatta’s E.P ‘Hardships.’ If OneDa can achieve all this in the year the music industry stood still, get ready for an unstoppable 2021!
FFSYTHO – What a year FFSYTHO has had! She’s managed to keep the momentum hyper with her spitfire flow and no nonsense bars, while keeping us all entertained on twitter with her antics which play out like one long comedy sketch. She secured a clothing brand endorsement with King Apparel, and was added to the Tranzmission festival line up before Ms. Rona came along and decided she was going to be messy all year and ruin just about everything she ran into! (2021 soon come!) Despite the cancellation of Tranzmission festival, FFSYTHO’s work rate showed no signs of slowing, with fire singles – ‘Target n Aim’, ‘Mad’ original and remix, and ‘You Next’, all released in 2020. We can’t wait to see what’s next from Northampton’s nuclear weapon in 2021!
Lady Leshurr – Another lil lady in stature, but definitely not persona is Lady Leshurr, who has made power moves all yearlong. Leesh has successfully branched out into TV and media work, with her bubbly, energetic personality, it’s no wonder we have seen her become something of a fixture on many well-known TV shows such as, ‘Celebrity MasterChef’, ‘Shopping with Keith Lemon’, and her upcoming participation in ‘Dancing on Ice.’ Leesh was even grilled by the one and only Wossy on the Johnathan Ross show just before Christmas. There’s no doubt ‘Leshurr has gone from strength to strength with her TV career, which makes it all the more of a win she has found time to not only keep her music career on track, but also managed to spin Ivorian Doll to outer space, on her celebrated diss track ‘DIV’ AND she followed up by releasing a brand new E.P – ‘Astronaut.’ Now we know why the queen decided to give our scene queen a birthday honour (BEM) accolade. I was tried just typing that, so after a well-earned rest, we can’t wait to see what’s unleashed in 2021.
Ms Banks – The South London sweet one, Ms. Banks, has gifted us with a steady stream of single releases throughout 2020 including – ‘Issues’, ‘Still The best’ (as a featured artist on both tracks) and ‘Bad B Bop’, ‘Novikov’, ‘Again’ and recent smash – ‘You don’t know (Pepper Dem.)’ Ms Banks’ flow on all aforementioned tracks has been nothing short oftop tier, with production on her accompanying videos, looking slick, stylish, and pristine, exuding elegance and queenlyenergy; just like the lady herself. For me, Ms. Banks’ biggest feat of the year, was her double nomination in Best hip hop artist (the only woman in her category) and Best female artist categories at the MOBO awards on 09th December 2020. The certified snack then eclipsed her own recognition at the MOBO’s, when she delivered one of the most socially political and powerful live performances of 2020. Ms. Banksused her platform to draw attention to the lack of care and attention given to black women in pregnancy (fatality rates are 5X higher for black women during / after pregnancy), and paid a heartfelt tribute to Nicole Thea and baby Reign (god rest their beautiful souls.) She also pleaded with authorities to end SARS in Uganda, in a necessary and provocative moment, challenging oppressive regimes within her live set. It’s a guarantee Ms. Banks’ emotive performance will be remembered for many years to come.
Queenie and Lioness – Veteran spitter in the game, Lioness,has had a relatively quiet 2020, although she did give an open and insightful interview to Laughta for Reprezent radio, if you missed it make sure you go and reload it right now on you tube! What has really grabbed my attention this year, was observing Lioness comfortably adopt the role of Lioness to her lion cub; rapper Queenie. Lioness has used her longevity and experience within the grime genre to steer, guide and advise newer artist Queenie. ‘Ness used her influence positively when she invited Queenie to feature on 2018’scolossal ‘DBT remix.’ Both women have also done the rounds on various sets together as a dynamite duo, It was a beautiful thing to see both Lioness and Queenie shell down on Grime Originals virtual showcase episode 2. Lioness’ tutelage is clearly steering Queenie in the right direction, as Queenie was selected as Amazon music’s +44 series artist of the month, they also invited her to give an exclusive interview to discusswhat it means to be connected to her fans and fellow artists.’ You can see Queenie in all her 50 foot glory across Amazon music billboards, in and around Croydon. BIG tings!!
NoLay – NoLay is ending the year as she started it – With an earthshattering, BANG! My first piece of the year back in January detailed NoLay’s lyrical assault, as she let off her arsenal of weapons in Wiley’s direction on the phenomenalwar dub ‘The Godmother.’ Disappointingly Wiley chose not to respond to Nolay’s send, but the razor tongued assassin of grime, found a willing (and brave) competitor in TrillaryBanks. Trillary tried it, but Nolay came back like a nuclear warhead to terrorise, destroy, and lick arf head tops, with a trio of lyrical grenades slung in rapid succession at enemy trenches, launched from Nolay’s army tank overloaded with tekkers in the form of ‘Corn’, ‘Hate Me freestyle’ (where sheeffortlessly duppies a Drill beat.) and ‘Stop Acting’, complete with a ballied up violinist in the video. Nolay’s ability to turn Trillary Banks’ bar into an own goal, by agreeing that she is Trillary’s auntie, therefore Trillary should humble herself as Nolay’s niece; was one of the coldest moments of the year and reminded doubters, Nolay will never be knocked off her winner’s podium in the premiership of pars. With the trailer dropping just days ago, announcing her upcoming E.P ‘KALAS’, NoLay is here to stay, spray and slay!
Bonus Mention: Abigail Asante – Let me tell you something, it’s a ‘Big Fact’ that me and drill were not friends. Although I respect the hustle and expression of raw grit and truths, detailed from the perspective of its young artists, my ears were not attuned to its sonic whatsoever. Maybe it’s a generation gap, or maybe my often giddy / bubbly disposition does not mesh well with Drill’s slower tempo and ominous overtures, but I credit one person who made drill click into place for me, step up Abigail Asante. Abigail’s diss track ‘Big Facts’ aimed at Ivorian Doll (Who seems to be busy on the beefin front) were stinging, raw, and a big rude gyal flex for Abigail. Abigail’s multi-layered and complex wordplay had me wheeling up the track to catch all the lyrics, as I do with any grime banger, and now I can say with my whole chest – I need to hear more girls on drill beats in 2021 thanks to Abigail. Abigail should also be praised for speaking out on the issues of colourism which continue to permeate the music industry, media and society as a whole to this day.
And there we have it, my 2020 round up is DUN KNOW!!!!!! To all the ladies mentioned in this write up, THANK YOU for your skill, talent, truth, persistence and barz. See ya on the flip side! 2021… Ayyyyyyyyyy
…and Non Grime, here!