Even cuts such as DJ Mondie’s flatly titled “Straight Riddim Medley,” which holds an early slot in the Heavy Meckle mixtape, throws plentiful light on the abrasive, unshakable rumbling that grime is generating in the United Kingdom. The genre with the unfortunate moniker has made considerable waves in the United States, too: Once the topic of message board conversations, somewhat prevalent in blogs, and a place in a Guardian column or two, grime’s still-surfacing stateside presence is causing shit talking and pants pissing. Heavy Meckle, in its impressively expansive glory, floats on the side of the latter.
Manhattan deejay/producer Matt Shadetek (now living in Berlin) trades off the Heavy Meckle mixing duties with another New Yorker, DJ Sheen. Shadetek is half of Team Shadetek, a deejay production duo with a post-urban electronica release called Burnerism (Warp, 2004) under its belt. The two are now primarily grime advocates and purveyors, pushing their Bangers & Mash raves and bragging about exclusive ties to East London emcee/producer Jammer and his crew/lable Jahmek the World Productions. Jammer’s all over Heavy Meckle, so much so that part of mix’s title is his own bastardization of the word “mental.”
The roster of producers and emcees on Heavy Meckle span a sizable portion of grime’s pirate radio and DVD stars. A jaw-dropping forty-one cuts pack stomach jabs from Ruff Squad, Lethal B and Jammer, to name a few, and the mix’s girth and occasional searing, wordless riddim is the mark of an exhaustive collaborative effort from Shadetek and his girlfriend, DJ Sheen, and an evident enthusiasm to bring grime into more U.S. circles.
Sheen’s end of Heavy Meckle launches with a series of freestyles from Jammer’s Neckle Camp. The deep dub scrapes of DJ Mondie’s minimally stunning “Straight Riddim Medley” precede the thick, momentous beats from Lewi White and Jon E. Cash before Jammer’s frenzied “Feedback” ensues, laden with his own cryptic slang shouts. Sheen splits her crash course into thirty- or forty-second freestyle pit stops from any of several threat-strapped emcees Flamin, Al Blaze, host Ears, Jammer or Knuckles, who runs his mouth over a section of DJ Wonder’s “What,” a meandering series of slaps and metal plinks made famous on Dizzee’s “Respect Me” from the Showtime LP.
Shadetek, who is currently producing grime beats and dancehall/hip-hop stateside (he just dropped the “Brooklyn Anthem” twelve-inch, which features dancehall emcees 77Klash and JahDan), starts his half of the mix with a beat of his own. Jammer and Knuckles’ brawling “Bust Your Head” revels in vicious call-out rhyme (“I’ll leave your chest with a circle”), and Mr. Wong rides tense fuzzed string synths in “Orchestra Boroughs.” Dizzee guests on the tumbling buzzes of threesome East London More Fire Crew’s “Still” before speedy-lipped Run the Road alumnus/Brit TV celeb Shystie’s spot toward the mix’s final sputters of Black Ops’ shuffling Justin Timberlake homage, Ruff Squad, and Davinche (with KT and Kano). With more than an hour of sometimes indecipherable emceeing over a framework of momentous thuds and sub-bass pummeling, Heavy Meckle’s energy is relentless: a non-stop mash of one of the most exciting rhythmic hybrids in recent years, selected and mixed with generous precision and skill(z).
Sound Ink Records (home of Team Shadetek’s forthcoming Pale Fire LP) Web site