Track Chat: The Grimy Side of Ed Sheeran's New Album

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It's prime time when It's grime time, five rhymes on all five lines. Okay… so I'm not a grime artiste or much of a grime fan, but Ed Sheeran displayed his versatility with some of the UK's top grime (mix between rap, EDM and other influences) artistes on his latest album. Not to mention the rappers he took a chance with… like Chance the Rapper. I'm all for it.

Ed Sheeran's new album 'No. 6 Collaborations Project' lived up to its name. Every single track has some feature. Every feature brought out new colours in the kaleidoscope of musical styles Ed displays. I, for one, wasn't shocked that he could rap, I've seen snippets from a few live shows after all. Ed did not disappoint.

The album features Grime artistes Stormzy, J Hus and Dave, and rap artistes Eminem, 50 Cent, Chance the Rapper, Meek Mill, Young Thug and a Boogie with the Hoodie. Yes… all these artistes on Ed's album. I didn't ask for it, but I'm glad I got it. But, in actuality, how good were the songs?

Back to London featuring Stormzy was definite a storm. It produced a deluge of flows and lyrical lightning. The boughs broke under the flows of the punch lines, and it was truly Grimey. The simple instrumental provided sonically soothing sails, and it was amazing. To top it all off, Ed spits some fire with an impeccable motor-mouth flow. Now let's talk about that track with Eminem and 50 Cent. It needed a better beat, but ironically it still slapped. Eminem, the Rhyme Minister, Rap G, Trailer Track Wrecker, B Rabbit… okay, let me stop. He was what we expected. He was Eminem. Better yet, he went Slim Shady. 50 also did his thing and should probably change his name to 50 sense because he unlocked 45 new senses to this music thing. What is the meaning of genre after a track like this, after an album like this.

Likewise, no one would cross Cross Me with Chance and PnB… don't criticize it, Chance's girl be doing CrossFit. Meek Milly went silly, Young Thug thugger thugged his track. Dave came to save and J Hus hustled hard.

The album to me presented the merging of rap, grime and other genres like Pop and Indie that artistes like Eminem have successfully done. This project may just signal a new era for music, one where genres are minor and it won't be about niches but simply the music. Not to mention, the resounding rise of alternative sounds, electronic beats and the hybridization of harmonies are making it hard for one to even restrict them self to merely listening to one genre. Take the Billie, Justin crossover, or even the recent Dreamville project which was to be Rap but featured so many other styles. That Dreamville album is a whole other discussion by the way. Feel free to come at me with your views. I'm here all week.

Let's get back on the right track… or album… my favourite song off Ed's project has got to be Back to London. The production, the rap, grime, and pop flows sandwiched by scintillating vocals makes it a true musical masterpiece. I'm glad UK Grime is getting more recognition, and I'm even happier for the Chimera-like sound that this track is.

Fabrizio's overall No. 6 Collaborations Project rating: 8/10.

--Fabrizio Darby



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