Boomkat Product Review:
Killer mixtape from 67’s DJ and UK drill don Bempah, supplying up-to-the-second selections for Felix Hall’s Chrome label following the label’s 7” reissue of Edison Electric’s hugely influential Acid Hall productions.
Repping for South London, Bempah is the DJ for UK drill pioneers 67, and his monthly NTS show Scary Things regularly ranks amongst the station’s most popular programmes. While UK drill first emerged in the mid ’10s as Albion’s offshoot of the Southside Chicago style coined by Chief Keef and Yung Chop at the start of the last decade, its London cousin has evolved into a closely related but distinct genre of its own in recent years. It’s the real sound of the roads, reclaiming the idea of “UK rap” from dodgy 8 Mile style ciphers and stodgy beats to a formula of razor sharp rhythms, glyding bass, and bars about gully life in London that (perhaps predictably) have parts of the mainstream UK media clutching their handbags in horror, while the wider music media have typically been caught napping on one of theee major movements of the last few years.
Bempah’s ‘Drill Mix Vol.1’ arrives in a long tradition of dialogue between US and UK rap, with the original American style now evolving in its UK translation with traces of grime and Afrobeats, leading its London-accented spin to be adopted by the likes of Pop Smoke (R.I.P.) and to lesser/greater extents Drake. Bempah’s exclusive picks and fluid mixing prove why he’s a crucial catalyst in the scene; sequencing both UK and US voices and toggling the pressure gauge from industrialized to spaced-out and paranoia, skulking vibes surely familiar to anyone who lives in UK inner cities, or the scene’s ever growing number of online observers. With drill already infiltrating the charts as major labels scramble to get a piece of the pie, trust this tape is full of the prime, uncut crud you won’t hear on commercial radio any time soon. Fair to say that UK drill could hardly be a more apt, unflinching soundtrack to the pure worries of modern life.