Big H – Street Crime UK Review

From its inception, the Grime scene has been a world leader in utilising the Internet to expose audiences to new material. YouTube for example, has enabled many Grime MC’s to promote themselves and acquire fans without a CD to their name.

Whilst many of these artists undoubtedly fall into MPEG oblivion never to be searched for again, some become enigmas; their profile bolstered by elusiveness.

Big H is one such artist.

Hailing from North London, Big H has for years maintained a small, yet solid fan base via sporadic guest appearances alone. This clip, taken from a Practice Hours DVD is but one example and cited by many Grime fans as a classic; his voice hints at a childish innocence just as his dangerous lyrics destroy any semblance of it.

H has always maintained he is a road man and has shown little interest in Grime. This makes the release of his debut CD Street Crime UK, last week all the more surprising.

One of the most anticipated Grime releases of the past couple of years, Street Crime UK consists of 15 tracks and, as you would expect, is as dark and deadpan as a playing a B note in a cemetery. Despite an all-star Grime line-up featuring all the old Meridian Crew stalwarts, H somewhat confusingly takes his musical cues from Southern-American rap, often sounding at odds with the music.

Album opener Streets & Crime for example, is as much Texas as it is Tottenham, replete with tin-pop snare crescendos and grinding clubby synths. The CD continues with a heavy focus on crack selling and shooting throughout and whilst this hardcore content is what H is known for, at times it gets a little overbearing – especially for the more casual listener.

In fact, bar upbeat number Life & Death featuring Skepta and Bossman and Real on Road featuring JME and President T, I expect this was not the release many fans expected – especially those who have heard H himself say this release will bring focus back in the Grime scene.

With so many fans making their gratitude for this release known already, it’s unlikely to be a flop. However, after the hype subsides, it will be interesting to see whether Street Crime UK rips are subject to the same MPEG oblivion that has befallen so many of H’s contemporaries.

Kristian

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