Footsie – ‘Scars’ (Butterz)

Whether going by his own name or as one half of Newham Generals with D Double E, Footsie – as Butterz point out ahead of this release to commemorate their own five year anniversary – ‘has done it all in Grime’. The three tracks collected here are previously unreleased and will no longer be unheard beyond the faithful, serving as a great primer for anyone new to the genre while offering heads the opportunity to own two rare occasions when Wiley, the Godfather, joined the Generals on wax.

It’s not difficult to see why the lead track was a cult favourite, with the buoyant beat and Wiley’s pop sensibilities combining in timeless style and each MC delivering his own inimitable moment. Wiley boasts about getting down ‘from Harrow to Plaistow’, Footsie admits that, when producing the track, ‘I used Cubase coz I found Logic hard!’ and D Double does his best Eskiboy impression, rhyming for days on one syllable.

‘Move To The Beat’ is vintage Newham Generals, and comes complete with rudimentary production flourishes, but Footsie’s brilliant earworm melody and the duo’s momentum stop it from ever sounding quaint. Footsie leaves you in no doubt that he is, in fact, from E7 on ‘Prangman (Remix)’, where the presence of original Newham Generals member Monkstar alongside Wiley and Bruza brings home the strange truth that this all happened a decade ago.

The similar but shinier ‘Prang Boy’ opened Footsie’s 2013 compilation ‘King Original Vol. 2’, and Chemist’s remix of that track for South London’s rising Coyote Records was one of the best releases from the latter end of last year. To compare either with the ‘Prangman’ remix here is intriguing. For one thing, Chemist’s woozy new school instrumental take serves to illustrate by contrast how Footsie, having himself clashed on the original Lord of the Mics DVD, is an MC’s producer at heart (the ‘Prangman’ remix’s tearaway guitars even recall Dizzee Rascal’s mic monument ‘Boy In Da Corner’).

The murderous low end on Chemist’s offering does serve to expose the lack of bite on this release, but a cursory listen to any earlier versions of these tracks online shows what a good job Butterz actually did with the remaster. They may come unstuck on the system were any of the Butterz stable to drop them during one of their fabric sessions but ultimately these are honest documents of a time when the scene was still largely based around bedroom production and pirate radio. The EP evokes both Newham Generals’ classic radio blasts and the visceral thrill of the rave itself, capturing Grime’s very essence as it enters an exciting new era.

‘Scars’ is out on now on vinyl. Buy it here.

Gabriel Everington

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