Reviewed: 27/05/2020

Rating: 0.9 // 10

Genres: Grime, UK Drill

Released: 22/05/20, Studio 55

Footsie may have taken 16 years to release a solo debut LP, but one of the forefathers of Grime will never be forgotten with an explosive album full of highs.

One half of Grime MC Duo Newham Generals with D Double E, the pair have helped pioneer a genre that has crossed the ocean in terms of popularity.

Whilst Giggs, Skepta and Wiley remain prominent with their own solo careers, Footsie has been quietly working hard in the shadows, first with his series of instrumental albums, before making another mark on the history of Grime.

The first track, Spread Love, introduces us straight into the energy and tone of the album, with a classic grime beat inspired by jungle music.

This project is feature heavy, but never relies on the guest performer, as seen on the second track, Restless Jack. The suspenseful strings at the start continue the energy from the opener, but already Footsie has switched up his flow. CASisDEAD builds on the flow Footsie lays down, matching the tone of the track.

My personal highlight of the album is the single, Pepper Stew. JME joins Footsie on the second half of the track, an intense song with some serious, proper spitting from Footsie. Unlike CAS, JME switches up the flow and feel of the song, culminating in a serious banger.

Throughout the project, Footsie is remarkably witty, with some of my favourites on Pepper Stew:

“I am a striker, HernĂ¡n Crespo

Could’ve said Vardy but I went retro

Back in the day I had a Mini Metro

Fling in a fiver, bare petrol”

“Man will get a peppering

Put a man in a hole like Ketamine

Doing this ting for years, I’m a veteran”

Despite having multiple features, the middle leg of the album is Footsie spitting on his own, and at no point does it feel like he needs another MC to share the mic with.

The titular track No Favours has this washed out vibe, and a feeling of reminiscing. The flow, more measured yet driven fits really well over the faded siren-esque synths.

On Finesse we return to a jungle based beat, with a throbbing bass and another switched up flow. It’s this versatility that keeps the album fresh – even if the beats are familiar.

Fwd Skit is a beat we have heard before – it’s a live recording of Newham Generals playing at the FWD club. Whilst the recording isn’t crystal clear – it’s was from an era when we didn’t have pocket HD cameras – it clearly places you back into the early days of Grime, almost a historical artefact.

Pattern & Program takes that similar beat from the skit, and turns it into a proper banger. The last solo track on the album, Footsie goes in hard.

My Own Wave serves as the introduction of the other half of Newham Generals, the aforementioned D Double E. The pair’s chemistry is apparent, but we have to wait a bit as the song opens with some lovely vocals from Pepper Rose.

Lyrically, there’s a slight hint of afroswing on this, but it is a proper grime, more drill track. Music Money also features D Double E, and here it’s like the pair never stopped.

The track is straight out of the jungle scene, with the dirtiest and loudest bass on the album. The pair are bragging the most on this track, almost a triumphant victory-lap after their careers.

Hills of Zion heavily features a sample of the same name from Trinity in 1977, with added cowbells for a unique sound. Frisco and Durrty Goodz both join in on the fun, and the flow between all three is natural and sounds good.

G Set steers towards the more commercial sounds of modern grime, following a clearer radio-hit pattern and repetitive chorus. However, at no point does it feel purely fodder, and the guest appearances from President T and P Money add to the track.

J Appiah helps us round off the album on two tracks, firstly on Underwater. Appiah’s vocals add a slight R&B flavour to the heavy synths in the background, with the beat again leaning towards the more commercial trap-rap dominating the charts. However, by the time Footsie is spitting, it clearly has a grime vibe to it.

Named after the black British Heavyweight Champion, Frank Bruno is based on the idea of being exactly that – black British heavyweights in the field of grime. Triggz also features on the beat, and he understands the theme and vibe of the song.

Easy For You again features the signing voice of Appiah, which causes the song to again lean towards a poppier market. Appiah dominates the track – it takes two minutes out of the three for Footsie to start spitting, however it creates an emotional sounding track to see out the album.

Overall, this is Grime past, present, and hopefully, the future. Despite the 13 features, at not point does this feel like anyone else’s album, but they all add something to how great this project is.

A genuinely fantastic album that will definitely be near the top of my end of year charts – and has a decent chance of being my favourite grime album of the year.

Track Listing

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