Written by S Bambina
Illustrated by Jennifer Backman
The 0121 is the place I’m lucky enough to call home. Birmingham is the City of a Thousand Trades so it is no surprise that the music scene is just as colourfully represented across an array of genres. Each genre has a diverse and unique approach to cultivating the City’s sound and whilst Preditah, Jaykae and Lady Leshurr have put Brum firmly on the map, the city doesn’t stop there. It is bursting with talent and these are some of my current favourites.
BEGUN – GALLAH x Horrickle ft. Snowy
South Birmingham’s finest Gallah and Horrickle are mavericks of the city’s grime scene. Here they’ve teamed up with Nottingham’s Snowy to bring one of the bookiest Grime tracks of the year. Keeping straight 140 riddims alive and well in their new EP that this features on, GALLAH and Horrickle have captured the essence of the new direction of grime. Bookey Blvd is a must-have for any grime DJ.
SLY DIGGERS‘ Jaydonclover – I Wish You (Remix)
Sly Diggers is one of the baddest UKG producers the second city has to offer. This remix of Jaydonclover’s dreamy, I Wish You, draws on what I love the most about UKG; soulful vocal melodies partnered with beats that make you dance in the club but cry when you deep the lyrics in the taxi on the way home.
ROMderful – Run Tings ft. Shakka & Dounia
An all-round talent. ROMderful remains faithful to classic R&B whilst paving his own way within the genre. Featuring New York City’s Dounia and London’s Shakka, this transatlantic collab carries an undeniable energy which captures a nostalgia for those teenage house parties back in the day that you’d hope to see the guy you fancied at.
Romey Five – Bling Bling
My top picks without a feature from Romey Five would be redundant. This future classic has been in my heavy rotation since it dropped a few weeks into big Boris’ lockdown back in April; not least for its catchy hook. Bling Bling is a true lone-wolf anthem, exemplifying the maturity that Romey Five has shaped his sound into over the course of his long-standing career.
YASeen RosaY – iDunnoY
A regular feature on many Jaykae tracks, YASeen RosaY’s solo work is phenomenal. YASeen’s melodic rap style unapologetically forces you to focus on straight-forward-no-thrills conscious bars. Moody and self-reflective, iDunnoY is a timeless hip-hop banger.
Mayhem NODB – FM Allstar Riddim featuring JackDat, Jammz
When this track dropped I remember telling a friend that there was not a single thing that I could fault. In his notorious manner, Mayhem tears through bars at speed and with an ease that a lot of MCs would struggle to do. From Mayhem’s flow to the riddim, it’s an instant classic.
Dapz on the Map – Shinobi II (Safe and Sound)
Dapz is always pushing the boundaries of grime and this track is no different. His melodic approach to spitting bars makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen. The music video for this track feels like I’m watching Grand Theft Auto: Brum Town Edition. I love it. Mean and clean!
Tempa – Road Rage
The final track in my list and maybe my favourite. Tempa’s Road Rage takes Kano’s Garageskank and makes it 0121’s very own. Tempa’s aggressive flow combined with his playful bars makes this an untouchable feature on this list. What’s more is that his recent release, That Feeling, pays homage to New York City’s 80s hip-hop era, proving that he is a flawless talent on any BPM.
S Bambina is a Birmingham born and bred DJ with a penchant for UK native genres. Playing in venues across Birmingham, her sets fuse UKG, Bass and Grime. Her monthly #0121 playlists can be found on both Apple Music and Spotify and serve as the inspiration behind this piece. In the playlists she explores her favourite sounds of Brum, both old and new. You can find her MixCloud here and her Instagram here.
Edited by Stephanie Kleanthous