JME – Integrity>
Journeying into 2015, names such as Stormzy, Bugzy Malone and Novelist have all shone through as the newcomers to watch in the grime scene. However, JME has once again proven himself to be a staple for the genre, with his newest record, Integrity>. The album is full of what you’d expect and want, from the ever-so Serious(!) MC: grimey beats, blissful puns, comedic bars and catchy flows.
In classic JME style, the album starts off with a bang. A heavy synth is thrown to the fore on the track ‘Pulse 8’, making sure the listener is well aware of who they are listening to. Next comes ‘96 Fuckries’, where JME declares himself as not caring about your T’s and C’s, as he’s J to the M to the E, and he makes G R I M E. The following track, ‘Taking Over’, produced by Predator, showcases JME’s ascent to the top of the scene, with Wiley (godfather of grime) hailing him as the genre’s new king.
“You gotta put in that work”, spits the Tottenham MC on the very aptly titled track, ‘Work’. Once again, JME brings grimey production to the track – one that you could only imagine JME spitting over. Indeed, the entirety of the production on this album is best described as “JME-style”. It seems like a bit of a copout to say that, but it’s the truth. JME’s production is just so quintessentially JME that you couldn’t imagine any other MC spitting over it, let alone any other MC or producer creating it.
So is JME just a good producer? Of course not. In fact, he is far from a shoddy lyricist. “I’ve got a black ski mask, but I don’t ski / But I snowboard, dash an MC off-piste”, proclaims the MC on ‘Man Don’t Care’, featuring the ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In’ artist Giggs. Indeed, throughout the album, JME portrays incredibly witty and catchy bars, such as “I’m an Xbox man, fam, FPS / Badman on any FPS / I’mma get a PC so I can leng man on 120 FPS”, on the song ‘Game’, and “Your new fans come like tans, they only wanna bred man’s skin after man got hot”, on the title-track ‘Integrity’.
The features on the album are far from disappointing. From Jamie’s brother Skepta, to fellow Boy Better Know members Shorty and Frisco, to the infamous Lord of the Mics creator Jammer, to the Grime legend, Wiley, this record has them all. However, the most exciting feature of all has to be the appearance of the gully-gully-godfather himself, D Double E. With an appearance on the song ‘Again’, D Double compliments JME’s flow and production with ease. To my discontent, however, D Double failed to introduce himself with any of his impeccable mannerisms, such as “oooh oooh, das mue mue”, leaving the song feeling somewhat lacking.
Integrity> as a whole, however, is a solid grime record, in a genre that has never coexisted easily with the album format. The production is archetypally grime, and the bars are playful, portraying JME’s personality with clarity and precision. There is no part of this album that makes you wonder whether JME has lost his touch, or whether he has departed from the genre that raised him. The record is grime, through and through.