KwolleM hasn’t been heard of for a minute, but there was a time when he was one of the most exciting producers. His mellow remixes of old school grime tunes; everything from Skepta to AJ Tracey - were forward thinking reinventions of the persistent aggression in grime, instead reimagining them over brilliant, wavy and blissed out production.
But on ‘c2c’, he stepped away from the DAW and from Soundcloud, and picked up a mic to make a real body of work. And the hard work paid off.
‘C2c’ is an inventive and energetic take on what a grime artist can do right now. The perspective that inspired the mellow remixes is still here, but Kwollem puts his own spin on the genre, not just a couple specific songs. It sounds like a modern mix between Kanye’s first soul sampling albums and an old JME album, and it's an exciting mix.
The album takes its name from the East London public transport line, and once you take a look at the tracklist and listen to the lyrics, it's pretty obvious why. This is one of the biggest dedications to the East side since Ramz had a ting from Barking, or since ‘say East London’.
With bars referencing the Kray Twins, and one line flows like ‘I put the don in Basildon’, Kwollem makes it clear that he’s an East boy through and through. He makes the interesting decision to tag on samples of old grime verses from East London grime legends, from the always missed Crazy Titch to one of Devlin’s best sixteens.
Jumping on the mic was unexpected, and while you can tell KwolleM is new to rapping, he’s far from amateurish. The flows and rhyme schemes on ‘West Ham’ weave in and out of his dark and eerie production, and his tongue in cheek punchlines come off pretty well.
Tying the album together is a throwback to his tool of the trade, the remix. Reimagining Lewi B’s beat for Never Invited off of Manga’s Outbursts from the Outskirts, he makes it into a new banger entirely, with a powerful and intricate beat.
In short, this is the perfect commute album. With familiar and nostalgic grime samples matching the familiar train stop announcements in the skits, this is a quick project that will get you from A to B.