thu 13/08/2020

Album: Footsie - No Favours | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Footsie - No Favours

Album: Footsie - No Favours

It's only taken two decades but the grime mainstay's first album is here

Footsie might not have the profile of a Skepta or Wiley, or even his Newham Generals partner and recent IKEA advert soundtracker D Double E. But anyone halfway schooled in grime will know that both as MC and producer he's a key player from grime's original generation, and still a pillar of the scene. Amazingly, though, despite the fact he's released a couple of mixtapes and four compilations of his instrumentals, he's never made an official solo album until now. So given that, since his beginnings in N.A.S.T.Y. Crew, he's been in the game for some 20 years, there's quite some weight of expectation on this record.

Thankfully it delivers. And it's his producer's ear that makes it. Though it's classic grime through and through in pace and structure, the beats – some by himself and some by guests from outside the scene like Skream, Chase & Status and Kwes Darko – fizz and crackle with invention, elevating him and star guest MCs' swaggering verses. On the whole, the subject matter doesn't diverge from tried and tested assertions of excellence and street credentials, though there's an interesting undercurrent of tributes to previous generations of black Britons: explicitly on “Frank Bruno” which also namechecks Footsie's uncle, a judo champion, but also in references to his dad, a reggae soundsystem operator. But the lyrics too crackle with wit and love of wordplay.

The guest vocals – JME, CASISDEAD, Durrty Goodz, Frisco, P Money and co – form a rollcall of fan favourite grime survivors. But this isn't a free-for-all of clamouring voices: while all of these MCs came up fighting to be heard, jostling for the mic in grime's pirate radio studios and raves, now they're all adult men, proud of their craft, and happy to play supporting role to Footsie in his own project. So despite all the sonic variety, despite all the voices, it's remarkably consistent and maintains its momentum from start to end. And while these artists may be well-rehearsed professionals now, that rave energy is still there in bucketloads. This album is a rowdy joy.

@joemuggs

Watch "No Favours":

The beats fizz and crackle with invention, elevating him and star guest MCs' swaggering verses

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4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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