Amongst all the rapid fire spray of energetic grime; underneath the frenetic, syllable heavy artillery of emcees rhyming the same word 8 or more times on each verse stands a flow that rides distinctly differently. You can find it further explored over 10 mixtapes, on multiple online TV channels and in collaborations with producers like Dusk & Blackdown and Becoming Real; but it all stems from the same dude. Trim.
An accomplished battle rapper (in the English pirate radio/YouTube diss track sense), the former member of Roll Deep stands in a league of his own. Blessed with a deep vocal that mirrors the depth of his lyrical content he’s a refreshing example of the UK underground. Where someone like Wiley pounces on a beat, maintaining its energy through the rambunction of his delivery, often physically attacking it, Trim lets his tones roll, vibing off the space between sounds. Choosing to slow up his pace lets the productions shine and his forthcoming collaboration with Mark Pritchard (Harmonic 313, Africa Hitech) for Planet Mu really emphasizes that.
Two tracks strong it’s a great pairing. Where Trim’s mixtapes impressed, giving the perfect outlet for his wordplay, they also demonstrated his need for an established producer. Exploring all styles and dimension across that material there is, at times, a confused level of cohesion, as if the beats weren’t really living up to Trim’s widescreen vision. His work with people like Becoming Real and Mark Pritchard displays the impact he has on a fine tuned production perfectly. He doesn’t have to work to propel the beat, it can work in tandem with his vocal and even accentuate the darkness on tracks like ‘Like Me’ with Becoming Real or the right track can epitomize his playfulness like the Mu release does.
Trim – Stereotype [forthcoming Planet Mu]
‘Stereotype’ tumbles and bounces around a straightforward hip hop drum pattern with Trim addressing people who assume too much and lump emcees together whilst ‘Kiss My Arse’ sounds like an offcut from the Africa Hitech 93 Million Miles album, all dancehall pound with flaming percussion and pan pipes. They’re light, melodious and suit the meticulous path of Trim’s lyrics, backing off enough to let him grab the attention. It’s a great example of a guiding hand helping refine the pressure of the vocal, something Trim himself does on the next release to come on Butterz, his I Am EP.
Produced by TRC ‘I Am’ has a garage skip that Trim hits in his stride supplely filling in the gaps of rhythm and restraining the 2-step pressure of the instrumental with his one line chorus.. The midi horns and pseudo jazz of it push a melancholia that sits underneath the self deprecation of lines like, ‘put myself in a pickle and belittle myself, piggy in the middle trying to wiggle myself out, I’m the only one who can let myself down,’ poignantly. Ever the catalyst Trim balances out the introspection with ‘Notice Now’ a bravado chatting uptempo number produced by D.O.K that chats about how everyone should take note of his style, touching on the feuding cornerstones of his career (referencing his ongoing clash with Flow Dan by mocking his trademark stutter) in emphatic style.
Trim – I Am [forthcoming Butterz]
Trim’s balance and poise are by far two of his defining trademarks. Over the course of these two 12”s he makes you listen and digest what he’s saying, always providing a memorable hook whilst coming differently, and always at his own pace. If you wade into his stream of mixtapes – he’s released four already this year – you get sizeable glimpses of just how good Trim is, but his star really shines when you get a concentrated dose such as this.
Words: Oli Marlow & James Balf // Out: Sept/Aug respectively.