It's Footsie again...

Hard as it is to believe, in all his many years in the grime scene, we've never actually had a solo album from East London's Footsie. When you sit down and actually consider it all—his formative years in N.A.S.T.Y Crew, the birth of Newham Generals with D Double E, the King Original shows, the innumerate production work, the clashes, the radio sets—it's actually not too surprising that he never found the time.

Still, that comes to an end today because we've finally got his debut, No Favours, and it's a monumental project. All of those moments and achievements we just summed up (among others) come to a head here. Of the many highlights, the most evocative is probably his use of Skream's "Orchestral Keas" on "FWD Skit" before bringing in the full version for "Pattern & Program" and rest of the set continues that theme. The stop-start choppiness of "Pepper Stew" with Jme (and production from Kwes Darko) and the rowdy menace of "Restless Jack" with CASisDEAD were some early indicators of the sort of classic grime energy he had in store for us, and that carries through the dubby march of "Finesse", the space-age flourish of "My Own Wave", the ominous "Spookfest" vibes of "G Set" right to the bitter end. There are quite a few features, but only from those in the inner circle of his orbit. Footsie productions are only meant for the very best MCs and only he could have brought in top tier names that include CASisDEAD, Jme, President T, P Money, Frisco, Durrty Goodz, Jammer, Triggz, J Appiah and of course, D Double E. Even among such big personalities with such renowned talents, he never once slips from centre stage.

Perhaps most impressive of all for a man who can handle the entire process himself, is that he brought in trusted collaborators to provide not just guest verses, but beats as well. As mentioned, Kwes Darko and Skream gave two of the biggest highlights, but special mention should also go to Chase & Status whose work on the title track gives Footsie a subtly crafted low-end backing that pulses and throbs like the cavernous heart of a sweat-soaked nightclub. And with so many hands involved, it's testament to his talents as a producer that he's able to tie them all together and put his stamp all over every single track.

Footsie's always been known for his ability to play well with others, but No Favours is definitive proof that he's also one of grime's greatest auteurs.

4/5

Also Watch