Strict Face Mix For The Astral Plane

strict face cover art

A few weeks ago, Wiley ignited a debate regarding the distinctions (or lack thereof) between grime and hip hop via his Twitter (as he’s prone to do). The conversation over whether grime is more firmly placed in the hip hop continuum or the hardcore ‘nuum has raged since the London sound’s arrival in the early 2000s and while authoritative sources like Wiley have had their say, the answer is ambiguous at best. A more prescient conversation between hip hop and grime has arisen (or at least been given its fair due) over the past few years and it’s one that focuses not on genre semantics, but on finding new ways to incorporate tropes from both sounds into exciting new hybrid tracks. This conversation is largely held in London and hubs of American club music like Newark/New York and Chicago, but some producers who reside outside of those meccas have taken it upon themselves to stretch, reorganize and, in some instances, rip apart the line (real or imagined) between hip hop, grime and R&B.

Hailing from Adelaide, Australia, Strict Face is an exemplar of the genre blurring, blueprint trashing ethos laid out above. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when we fell in love with Strict Face’s music. It could have been when a friend sent his Velour/Ciara bootleg our way. Or maybe it was when we found out he produced Le1f’s “Autopilot”. Regardless, we’ve been smitten ever since and have consistently rated him as one of the more convention-less, innovative producers in the extended grime world. For the 10th edition (!!!) of our guest mix series, Strict Face laid down nearly an hour of club-ready material, matching ethereal melodic content with the heft of tracks from JT The Goon, Air Max 97 and Blackwax. While largely composed of what is commonly considered to be instrumental grime, the mix traverses effortlessly into the R&B and hip hop realm, matching vocals from the likes of Tinashe and A$AP Ferg with the clicks and bass stabs that pervade the eski style. In the end, Strict Face falls more towards Kelela or Murlo than Ruff Sqwad or Roll Deep, preferring to update the sounds up yore with modern signifiers than purely channel the originators. Stream/download the mix below and hit the jump for the full tracklist.

E.M.M.A. – Glitter

Sully – Arco

Blackwax – Grimace

Dellity – Trop Timide

Nammy Wams – India

Arctic – The Sicilian

Dark0 – Ghostmode (Kakarot Edit)

Rabit – Streets Chose Me

Zenwan – Frisson

Marcx – Caged

William Skeng – Rains

Frett – Runnin’

JT the Goon – Defect

Logos – Seawolf

Inkke – Yorda

Mike G – Nuvo

Chemist – Blocks

Strict Face – In Evergreen

Sadie Ama – Fallin’ (Korma Remix)

Tinashe – Black Water (SF Edit)

A$AP Ferg – Hood Pope (DJ Milktray Edit)

Steely – Time Afta Time

Murlo – Marble

Shriekin’ Specialist – Mad Mean

Air Max 97 – Progress

Plata – Bieldub

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