The 'EP'. It is still difficult, even today, to know what constitutes such a body of work, especially with Kanye declaring that his 7 song projects have all been albums. Often though, artists are guilty of making some of their best work in just a few tracks. If you want to prove your artistic decadence, and the prospect of a debut album seems particularly daunting, an EP can really consolidate your name in a respective scene. 2020 has brought countless incredible micro-projects from some of our favourite artists, and we haven’t had time to review them all. So, below, are a list of recommendations we think you should be listening to at the moment.
LOUIS CULTURE - SMILE SOUNDSYSTEM
Brimmed with breaks, beats and bars, Louis Culture’s Smile Soundsystem blew us away earlier this year. We did actually get around to reviewing this suggestion, so you can read our full write up here. We will give you a brief summary anyway. The Battersea emcee’s debut EP explores his journey thus far through a mixture of rave-ready instrumentals and powerful verses. Featuring Master Peace and production from PULEN, we really needn’t say more than this is essential listening. It’s just a shame clubs haven’t been open to blare the likes of ’21’ through their sound system.
LITTLE SIMZ - DROP 6
After the success of GREY Area, Little Simz had every right to kick back and watch the praise role in. Drop 6 came out of nowhere, but it provided a banquet of new material for fans during lockdown. Lead single, ‘Might bang, might not’ is a scintillatingly sharp opener; it’s as direct as you’d expect from Simz and sets the tone for the following 4 tracks. ‘Where’s my lighter?’, a question I think we can all admit to asking ourselves at some point, features Alewya and hits different. There isn’t a bad song on there.
JESHI - BAD TASTE
This is far from Jeshi’s debut EP, but Bad Taste feels like the project he always wanted to make. Refining elements of ‘The Worlds Spinning Too Fast’ and ‘Pussy Palace’, the East-Londoner has harvested a rich palette to back his elegant wordplay. COMING DOWN is a hit in the making and accentuates the more flush sound Jeshi has manifested for himself on BAD TASTE. Our pick is SWAN LAKE with John Glacier.
BACKROAD GEE - MUKTA VS MUKTA
We interviewed Backroad Gee off the back of his Party Popper remix. With such a tune, it would have been difficult for any artist to follow up with the same energy… and then MUKTA VS MUKTA hit our streaming services. ‘Commando & Steve’, the EP opener, mixes grime and drill into its instrumental - two of Britain’s most visceral musical exports. If you needed anymore intensity, Gee barks and howls over the beat with his intrinsic delivery and maintains such stamina for the proceeding 6 tracks.
SL - SELHURST SE25
SL’s latest EP is only 4 tracks in length, so if you need to get anywhere in 10 minutes, this is the perfect project to stick on your headphones. Kwes Darko provides the beat for ‘Hit The Block’, which features PA Salieu, whilst Kenny Beats supplies his steaz for the following 3. SL’s wordplay has always been unique, and this project makes such a statement hard to disagree with.
CHANGING CURRENTS - EXERTION
One of Brighton’s finest beat smiths, Changing Currents has been very prolific over on soundcloud, but Exertion marked his first project elsewhere. An international affair, the EP features BINA. Bawo, Nelson Dialect and Chris Snake, who all contribute equally ablaze verses and vocals. From afrobeats to trap, the 6 tracks indulge in a variety of sonics, which all work well in its soundscape. Stick on Advantage Love in our current heat. 🧀
SCUTI - THIS IS SKOO
If you haven’t heard the insanely infectious ‘Skoowup’, where the fuck were you in 2019? Since then, we have been waiting for a debut project from Scuti, who’s distinctively versatile flow had us going mad this year. She’s attacked this EP with the energy of her former singles; ‘Huh Yeah’, for example, combines the tendencies of U.K. Rap with the groove of American trap. Corona may have pushed back her tour, as well as a few fezzie appearances, but This Is Skoo should quench fans’ thirst for 2020.
KEYAH/BLU - SORRY, I FORGOT YOU WERE COMING
There is no one quite like KEYAH/BLU. Singing with a vulnerable innocence and rapping with ferocious rhymes is a dichotomy any artist would love to have, but unfortunately it feels pretty unique to KEYAH. This EP matches the eeriness of Portishead with modern, trap sensibilities… among plenty of other genres. If You Know, one of the project’s more melodic affairs, matches deep house with the South-East Londoner’s raspy delivery. Keep a firm eye on KEYAH/BLU en el futuro.
DEEMA - CHEW YOUR FOOD
Deema was doing up grime radio shows alongside the square crew for quite some time before he started experimenting with his new style. This aggression and dexterity is prevalent in Chew Your Food, but the EP is more than just an ode to the sound that made him. HASH BROWN is an absolute bop, featuring bouncy production from long-life collaborator Dom Valentino. It comes with a cracking music video too, which we have always been a sucker for. Listen to CHEW YOUR FOOD’s entirety first though.
FEUX - WHAT’S DONE IN THE DARK
In an age when everyone wants to ‘do rap’, no one is really looking back at its roots to move the sound forward. Feux’s What’s Done In The Dark uses bilingual soliloquies and boom bap production to cook up a coherent and conscious 5-track project. A little birdie has told us plenty new music from the artist will find our airwaves soon, so stay locked here for more news on that, and go listen to this stellar EP whilst you wait.
WRITTEN BY LIAM CATTERMOLE