If you've never heard of Lewi White, you're not alone. He's a London producer who worked with some massive names back when they were lesser known (e.g. Devlin, Ed Sheeran, Yasmin, Griminal). And now he's trying to make it big, and he's called up his old buddies to help him. The track's called Young Guns and it's HUGE. Why Young Guns? Because that's what they are; five up and coming (like their f*cking in an elevator) artists that are shooting out tunes. Bang bang bang.
I'll start with Lewi - the semi-automatic revolver. He may be the smallest of the lot but he's been around for ages and doesn't let it get to him and still puts in the work. His production on Young Guns is excellent. He's got no lyrics to spit but with all the computerised beats throughout the song there's no way you can miss him. It's a simple, grimy, thumping bassline that sounds even better when the UK's freshest new talent's rapping/singing over it. Keep your eye on this one.
The first rapper on the track is Ed Sheeran - the machine gun. He just spits out lyric after lyric, hit after hit. This guy has talent and, after The A Team, he's one of the most blogged about artists in the modern music world. His has to be my favourite verse on Young Guns because he doesn't put on any swagger or try to act cool yet manages to trump all the others with his rapping skills. When he gets to number one then Chipmunk and Dappy may finally realise that you can still sell music without it being generically awful.
Then you've got Yasmin - the sniper rifle. She sits their quietly in the world of pop, letting all the tone-deaf bimbos do their thing and then, pow, she drops another hit record with Labrinth. She hasn't even released an album yet but still massive names want to work with her. Why? Because she does what she does incredibly well and, even though she only occasionally pops up on our radar, she makes one hell of an impression. Carly Cussen gave her the wind power in the music video for one reason: she'll blow you away.
Verse two is Griminal - the shotgun. He's not the most famous or fancy but he's pure, simple and does his job to an impeccable standard which is all you can ask. You might not have heard of him but do you remember Supa Dupa with the lyric "keep going more juice than a satsuma?" That was him. Check it out if you don't know. He brings the "cool" to the song and attracts the youth that would otherwise miss out on such a banger.
Finally it's Devlin - the rocket launcher. Smash hit after smash hit. Whether it's on his own, with the likes of Giggs, Labrinth and the aforementioned Yasmin or as part of The Movement anything from Devlin is officially awesome. He attacks that microphone in a way most of us can only stare at in amazement. He's the slowest of the rappers (which I never thought I'd say about Devlin) but he has so much raw emotion and such a distinctive voice that it more than makes up for it. I'm predicting several number one award winning albums.
But Young Guns doesn't just sum up these five artists, it sums the UK grime scene on a whole. Last year it was Game Over and by comparing the two you can see how the scene has evolved. It's a lot less dark and depressed if you just look at them as songs but there's more with the artists. Young Guns has them working together whereas Game Over was very much a competition between the seven of them. Devlin is the only artist that appears on them both but there are others who can still make big tunes (i.e. Pro Green, Tinie, Example), and then those who've either fallen by the wayside or just turned to making terrible pop and left the scene completely (i.e. Tinchy, Giggs, Chipmunk). It also shows the dance influence that hip hop has undertaken and guarantees that the rest of 2011 will be a great year for cross-genre music.
Lewi White and his mates make excellent tunes that sum up exactly where grime is in the UK today. You really need to keep your eyes (and ears) on all of them.