New Gen

New Gen

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New Gen Review

by Paul Simpson

This is the first album by a collective of U.K. rappers and singers assembled by Caroline Simionescu-Marin, an editor for grime website GRM Daily who also works A&R for XL Recordings. The album showcases emerging talent from the British rap, R&B, and dancehall scenes, including BBC Sound of Music 2017 winner Ray BLK and hotly tipped MCs Avelino, AJ Tracey, and Stefflon Don. While much of it can be classified as grime, and all of it distinctly sounds like London, plenty of it sounds just as indebted to American trap (especially the ragga-trap hybrid "Money Haffi Mek" and the Future-esque "Top Floor"). "Rather Get Money" (featuring Te Dness) is a straightforward grime banger, and is an early highlight. A few tracks are equally split between hip-hop swagger and R&B sweetness; of these, AJ Tracey and J Warner's "My Ways" is a standout. "All Saints Road" is a brief jungle interlude which would've been more than welcome as a full song. The harsh, eerie "Fuck Your Feelings" balances sparse, Timbaland-esque beats with layered R&B vocals. "Thoughts," an introspective ode to survival, has off-time beats similar to underground West coast American hip-hop, and so does the harder "Say Those Words Again," which ends the album. At 17 tracks, it covers a lot of ground and not every track is a winner, but there's a decent number of promising artists here.

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