LISTEN HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GtVUkyzvhU
In the first of a five part series, five of the most exciting prospects for the next year will be examined. First on the list is Lewisham rapper Elf Kid, who has received attention at both Apple Beats and BBC Radio.
There are some songs which simply demand to be noticed. These songs are basically impossible to listen to and not pay attention to – they cannot be played in the background. One of these songs is Elf Kid’s Golden Boy. The intro takes your breath away so precisely that it’s impossible to go with it, the quick change in pace matching the excitement of its listeners. If this is what this kid can do at 18 with no major label support then the world needs to give him a record deal, for its own sake.
Moreover, this appears to be a continuation of the recent grime revival. It’s an important revival because it was a much needed revival. Up until 2014, grime had moved away from its cheeky, Boy In Da Corner roots and had become aggressive and introspective, choosing authenticity over popularity. This process culminated in wonderful innovations such as ‘instrumental grime’ and the complete demise of the juicy Run The Road compilation series. This collective choice is not a problem in itself, but it is when a genre collectively decides that authenticity means danger and ‘grittiness’. It’s a story that has been seen in music time and time again, and has damaged the broad appeal of many a genre. The hardcore punks of the late 80s and the exclusively male enthusiasts of ‘dark’ DnB can testify to that.
No one can level that accusation at grime’s next step. Skepta, Wiley and JME – all members of the old guard – have all seen an increased level of popularity over the last few years which cannot be unconnected to their increasingly accessible sound. Is it ageist, then, to suggest that despite all this it remain the new breed of grime stars who are more exciting? Possibly. But it is in fact impossible to deny that Elf Kid and Stormzy have brought an energy back to Grime. It’s an energy which feels very punk (not Punk), an energy of destruction. It’s an energy that is immediately obvious to anyone listening to their records. These artists want to destroy everything in their path. And the fact they have a path is really the most exciting thing. They are looking forwards, not backwards, just like their genre now.
Inn the case of Elf Kid and Golden Boy, it’s an energy which reaches an almost unbearable level during that intro.
Whatever he does next – according to his twitter his ‘voice is getting deeper’, which is both great for him and devastating for everybody else as we realise we have achieved less than a Child – we can be certain about two things. Firstly, it will be vital to Grime’s prospects, and secondly it could spell the continuation or part of the end of music with real immediacy.