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SAMRAI (ALLEY) - KATIE COOPER

Over the past few years, 90 – 100 BPM, DJ Mustard-style rap music has rivaled Atlanta’s supremacy over the part rap-scape and with it, Caribbean riddims at similar speeds have also slowly begun to creep back into the popular sonic lexicon. From Bobby Shmurda’s dancehall-tinged “Hot Nigga” to the success of New York label Mixpak and their key artist Popcaan, it appears that American audiences have slowly begun to accept everything from contemporary dancehall and soca, as well as native Miami bass and New Orleans bounce sounds. Of course, those sounds have always found a home in UK carnival culture and beyond, but the confluence of American rap and Caribbean sounds has begun to spread across all oceans.

Manchester crew Swing Ting, made up of Samrai, Platt, Joey B, Murlo and MC Fox, has been championing those sounds at their club night of the same name since 2008, pushing West Coast rap alongside grime and the solicitous sounds of Jamaica, Trinidad and beyond. And with everyone from Jam City to Drake embracing mid-tempo riddims, the Swing Ting crew looks to be playing the current role of both influencer and educator. Samrai, who has been a key contributor to Keysound’s compilation efforts for years, has proven to be one of the UK’s most invigorating producers, harnessing Swing Ting’s adventurous spirit in his ebullient production work. And alongside producers like Famous Eno (who contributed a remix to the first official Swing Ting release), Jubilee and crew mate Murlo, Samrai is one of only a handful that seems to truly appreciate and engage with bashment.

While we’ve never been lucky enough to make it across the ocean and up to Manchester for Swing Ting, Samrai’s Astral Plane mix is about as sure of a party starter as you’ll find in the series. From E-40’s absurd “Choices (Yup)” to a who’s who and what’s what of recent dancehall numbers, the mix is a rapid fire assemblage of cross-generational and cross-oceanographic heat. Also, be sure to catch SWINGTING002, a collaborative effort between Samrai and Platt featuring London MC Trigganom.

madam-x-kaizen-movements-vol-1

As one of the key stones in Manchester’s growing grime foundation, Madam X has proven more than capable on major outlets like BBC 1Xtra, but her efforts have always filtered into her label Big People Music and the Murkage collective she takes part in. Her latest efforts were announced over the weekend and take the form of Big People’s first compilation, the finger-on-the-pulse heavy Kaizen Movements Vol. 1. Rumbling soca from Murlo, orchestral patois from Samrai and metallurgic electro from Sudanim take center stage on Kaizen Movements, but the rest of the 10-tracker (Trap Door, Timbah, Dark0 and more) is far from a slack-jawed effort. Download the full comp or individual tracks below and be sure to throw the Madam some praise on her Facebook or Twitter.