Release Date: May 24, 2011
Record label: Big Dada
Perhaps the oceans ’twixt indie and grime will forever run shallow; characterised by mutual respect, rather than collaboration, integration. Or, I dunno, perhaps come 2021 Team GB’s Eurovision entrants will be splicing roughshod rhymes over pleasant jangle pop - Ocean Colour Scene feat. Kano, perhaps - provided those rapscallion Tories haven’t paddled us away to a continent all our own by then.
It would be disingenuous to call what Dels does on his debut album GOB unique. There are plenty of artists who have come up with a hip-hop formula that features smart rhymes and production styles that owe at least as much to Warp Records-style IDM as they do to so-called “classic” hip-hop. Plenty of those artists even share a record label with Dels, as Big Dada seems to have made seeking out this style a habit.
DELS, alias Kieren Dickins, may have the dubious distinction of being the biggest East Anglian rapper in the game, but he’s no backwoods slouch. Instead, his debut shares genes with the introspective sounds currently coming out of the capital from the likes of Ghostpoet, Sampha and Kwes (who produces a clutch of tracks here).Elsewhere, Micachu brings all her talent for earache soundz to bear on [b]‘Violina/Bread Before Bed’[/b], while [b]‘Shapeshift’[/b], the collaboration with [a]Hot Chip[/a]’s Joe Goddard, might just be the best electro-hop banger since [a]Roots Manuva[/a]’s [b]‘Witness (1 Hope)’[/b]. Which is weird, ’cos the UK rap don also turns up for a spot of Cameron-bashing on [b]‘Capsize’[/b].
A fresh sound in UK hip hop, Dels’ debut LP is an off-kilter winner. Ele Beattie 2011 Despite the best efforts of us Brits, hip hop has predominantly been a US thing. That doesn't mean to say we haven't had our fair share of terrific MCs: Roots Manuva, Jehst and Skinnyman have been representing for years now, and Dizzee and Wiley introduced audiences to grime, but the scene has threatened to lapse into stagnation.