Prodigious “Mellow Grime” pioneer KwolleM has dropped a brand new project, taking us ‘c2c’ alongside an all-star cast of features
Eastsider KwolleM has long been respected as one of the UK’s (and if we’re being honest, the world’s) most innovative producers – at the forefront of the “Mellow Grime” movement. After a few years without any official releases, this is KwolleM’s sophomore project. On ‘c2c’, KwolleM showcases the level his sound has now reached excellently with a wonderfully crafted body of work.
The project features bars from some legends of the grime scene, putting into a fresh new context over KwolleM’s chilled, alternative beats. The first track on the project is a perfect example of this, featuring some iconic bars from none other than Crazy Titch (from his song ‘Singalong’) in between two more deliberative verses from Joe James.
The project is themed around a journey across the Essex/East London area from which KwolleM himself originates and this is shown in the titles of each track – starting at the seaside and travelling through towards Fenchurch Street. Each track pays clever reference to the area around which it is themed; normally through the voice of the aforementioned Joe James, who serves as a perfect narrator for this journey, or through clever use of samples. For example the second track ‘Basildon’ begins with Joe James musing slightly tongue-in-cheek about experiences reacting to racism in Basildon over a more jazzy, blues inspired instrumental from KwolleM. Joe James’ storytelling shines in the project, touching upon deeper societal issues and introspection through witty use of anecdotes. The feeling of a journey is also cleverly mimicked on the project through the use of sounds from trains and TfL.
As we get to ‘Barking (& Dagenham)’, it is only right that the track is finished with some classic bars from local icon and grime veteran Devlin. The next track that follows takes us to ‘West Ham’, where we get another grime veteran and local legend Roachee barring after Joe James. Roachee’s verse is a definite standout, touching upon the pressures of life in London and systemic problems. An interlude after all the high intensity grime bars from grime legends takes places in ‘Stratford’. This track still features the words of Crazy Titch once more though (this time from an interview reflecting on his past), placed in the middle of some slow, haunting melodies from Rayf.
Another standout feature on the project is DC, whose melodic rhymes and style fits seamlessly with KwolleM’s production on cut ‘Woolwich Arsenal (DLR)’.
After the project’s journey is complete in Fenchurch Street, KwolleM breaks from the theme to complete the project with his ‘Mellow Mix’ of Manga Saint Hilare’s ‘Never Invited’ (which features Flowdan and Novelist).
‘c2c’ is a brilliantly put together body of work, with many well-thought out and cleverly executed touches working with the theme and adding so much to the project’s overall feel. The level of deliberate thought that has gone into every aspect of the project cannot be understated – the project’s artwork, a shot of KwolleM at a covered shelter on a train platform at Grays station, is even an allusion to covers by Mike Skinner and Skepta – two of KwolleM’s key influences, both pivotal figures within the UK music scene.
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