The latter part of 2022 involved record high temperatures, furnace hot nights and train strikes, but none of those factors were an obstacle for a second Block Report live show taking place, brought to us by Mr. Block Report himself, who most know by the alias Flashy Sillah. Fast forward to February this year, and creatives that attended the previous exhibits, would have realised they were simply the pilot episodes leading up to another culturally powered night at Peckham Rye, which witnessed the continuation of what the creator has in store for us this season. To date, notable guest performances include the likes of Youngs Teflon, Tiny Boost as well as thriving performers who’ve soaked in the spotlight, among them being the winner Shakes, J10, JM7, Velkaz and Mosey.
Show number two witnessed how Shakes shook the venue in a refined manner, beyond what you would expect for an artist his age; this set the precedent for the kind of talent Sillah would be on the hunt for in preparation for show number of three. Commentated a success by numerous members across the scene in attendance, this explosive re-up like its predecessors fell nothing short of them.
A fresh line up of underground acts that included Elt Cheekz, AE, EmanfromDaA2, Kzee and OVE (Riskey), came to dominate the stage, following the Block’s first live Cypher that had served as pre-game for the evening. Each individual who made their presence known didn’t fail to immerse themselves in their performance, but there could only be one winner. The prize in question? An exclusive instrumental from acclaimed producer M1onTheBeat, alongside a music video upload to Mixtape Madness on the house, to push their next single. When making the announcement, Sillah adopted the style of 8 Mile’s underground rap battle host, ‘Future’, as he called out to the spectators; using noise levels as an indicator for the one who should be crowned victor.This time it was ELT Cheekz securing that much deserved, champion spot – with the artist’s performance of Estates being a notable number from his set list.
In the words of Sillah himself, “My goal with the live shows is to showcase undiscovered talent as well as ease the pressures of artists having to pay for a video upload onto a major platform. I wanted to do something I could provide for them.” Given that the shows are self-promoted by the man of the hour, the turnouts are indeed commendable. What’s important to recognise here with the Block Report and alike mediums, is that they have utilised a platform built on their own identity and attracted a core audience – an authentic one – which resonates with the values their character portrays. The open mics so far, have served as a means for Sillah to actively unite those who create their art – rap, synths etc. – with those who consume art – the tastemakers. This alone highlights a significance, but let’s bring it back to the basics of how everything begun. A boy, a bench, a block, and his takes on music that blossomed into the show it is today. Respected by other creatives. Honoured by notable individuals who have stepped through to make an appearance, including characters in alignment with the Block Report’s purpose. Early episode footage pictures a legend in the making suited up with some ripped denims, cap, reflective tech jacket and a stack of paper sitting comfortably between his silver kicks. He’s then interrupted mid shoot to be questioned by a passing resident about what was taking place, to which he responds,
“This is my new music show… with my hot takes of the week, my hot topics,”
At this point filming had taken place for a length of three to four weeks, and only the boy on that bench, in front of that block – with the vision – could have anticipated that laying those foundations, would go on to create something meaningful for a wider collective of people a part of what many now refer to as, the game.Currently the Block Report is a perfect hub for curating discussions around everything there is to music: genres, upcoming artists, success stories, rivalries, and here’s what Mr. Block Report has to say regarding his creation.
The concept of the Block Report deviates away from conventional studio set-ups because it’s you, the bench, a communal residence, and the camera. What was the inspiration for such an authentic idea?
I came to form the concept of the Block Report accidentally when I started. It was covid, lockdown happened, and we couldn’t hire any studios, so I told my director “yo, let’s set up a tripod and we’ll do it on my block,” but more so the reason for doing things this way is because it’s what represents me; a young person who comes from a council estate. I realised that council estates do have a negative perception attached to them. I wanted to create something where you can do media, and come from a council estate, and represent the place you’re from without any shame. In a positive light.
Can you list the core values that you hold yourself and your platform to; how are they important to the culture?
The core values that I hold dearly to me, myself, my brand and my platform include respect. Definitely treating others the way I would want to be treated and how I do that is by involving the creatives I’m familiar with – who I have a good relationship with – by inviting them onto the platform to contribute. That could include A&R’s, bloggers, or content creators in the same space as myself. By giving these personalities the opportunity to come onto my platform, that goes onto my second core value, and that’s responsibility. Embracing the opportunities to contribute by inviting other creatives to contribute to what I’ve built myself, and helping them build it up to another level, because you can’t do everything alone. Being a servant leader is another one. That means to serve the common good. We all share common ground as creatives in music, and that is our love for U.K. rap, hip-hop, RNB, house music and what not. By doing that, you have to contribute as much as we can to take the scene to another level. Integrity is another cliche one – knowing and doing what is right. Finally, sportsmanship by bringing my best self to all competition, mainly directing that towards mainstream platforms because what I have is independent. I wanna bring my best foot forward when competing with the likes of shadeborough, the foot asylum’s and the JD’s.
When that boy who was in the early stages of filming took the bench for the first time, could he have imagined the outcome of his show today?
These are good questions you know! Could I have imagined the outcome of the show today? I dream big and don’t set limitations on anything creative that I go on to birth. When I did start the Block Report, it was more than fun because I did want to take it further, hence why I pitched it to Mixtape Madness. I had it in mind that it was always going to be proposed to a bigger platform from the first episode on the 90’s Babies Network. Could I have imagined two live shows in year though? No. That’s just my character though. I hate feeling too comfortable, and I like to push myself to a point of discomfort. To the limit. That sort of pressure takes me to another level.
If you can rewind time, what would you say to him?
What would I say to Flashy Sillah who started Block Report on 90’s Babies…I would tell him: do not fear anything that comes your way, and don’t fear your own ideas. That’s a key point I even wanna send out to content creators. Don’t fear your own ideas. If you come up with an idea that may feel a bit outlandish. Do it.There’s no limits to content. I would also tell myself from two years ago, don’t fear the possibility of taking this nationwide. Don’t fear the possibility of this being your life. It’s a thing that connects you to a lot of people, and I knew that from the first ten episodes I had, but I kind of fell back from developing a lot of the concepts I had with the block report, because I had a fear that it would fail. So, the message of “do not fear,” is definitely something I would tell myself.
In the future the Block Report will continue to solidify its place in UK popular culture, sealing a permanent stamp from this present moment in time, onwards. There’s an extreme beauty to public figures who are a part of the culture – pushing the culture – giving back to it. The numbers game should never be the main consideration when tailoring such shows or content to a specific demographic, but more about the organic chemistry generated by the recognition. As indicated by the critical acclaim of the open mics and reception of each episodic upload to date, there is clarity to the kind of potential residing in the realm of this platform, and that potential proves to be limitless.
You Can’t Kill Me. That’s the message Danielle Balbuena unleashed to the world when she revealed her sophomore album, successor to 2020’s Modus Vivendi. Encountering Shake at this point of her rise has been intriguing. Away from the 070 collective, her affiliation with Ye’s Wyoming albums, and the viral traction gained from her version of Madonna’s Frozen, 070 Shake is in fact, an enigma. The major difference in cover art used for her debut, illustrated by Sam Spratt, where she’s pictured as a futuristic android-like astronaut – the 070 face tatt in clear site – compared to the smudged out, earthy oil painting repping You Can’t Kill Me – where her identity is beyond recognition – adds to the mystery. It gives newer listeners a reason to backtrack. To get to know each part of Dani Moon: from the voice, to the distinct sound that doesn’t seem possible to describe.
This second body of work proves otherwise as with each listen, new tiers unveil the spectacle that comes with indescribable music; the expansive production courtesy of Dave Hamelin. In their first written collaboration, Mic Cheque and iamkingawritings provide a track-by-track breakdown of 070 Shake’s critically-acclaimed, You Can’t Kill Me.
Web is a well-engineered, expansive opener. It sets up the progressive nature of the album, gradually rising over the two minutes to grant blissful harmonies by the end. Lyrically, it sets the tone of You Can’t Kill Me, a microscopic focus on romantic relationships. Here, Shake warns her love interest to not “go get caught up in that spiderweb”, setting up the journey of emotions that follow. Despite just being a two-minute intro, Web is an easy standout that represents the best aspects of the record. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Picture a moment that’s tempting you to experience presence in all its eternity. No fears of the past, or worries about the future. The introduction to You Can’t Kill Me captures this, as Dani Moon succeeds in creating a positive cascade effect with Web. From the way her androgynous voice floats between husk spoken words down to the harmonisation, this combination results in a blend of vibrant voltaic tones that blissfully fade into Invited.– amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Invited takes the slow, emotive pace introduced by Web, up a notch harnessing a steady-climbing, light harp-strung tempo; building alongside a layered hook delivered by Shake, before plateauing into her auto-tuned vocals that maintain the integrity of her natural voice. Invited’s narrative unstably shifts between details of a failed connection and the attempts to mend it, but despite this, the song is paradise personified. Even down to the spiritual references made in the hook – “I’m hoping you got, the blessings I sent, under Allah” – tells listeners that Shake is in fact attempting to mend whatever’s been destroyed. She makes this her mission with Invited. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
The most minimal track on the album, Invited tiptoes around the senses, harnessed by electronic vocals that contrast with the harp which feathers through the production. Listening to Invited is like walking through a field of mechanical flowers. It isolates Shake’s vocals in ways you’ll rarely hear in the mainstream. That gives the track a unique sense of the natural and unnatural. Unlike the rest of You Can’t Kill Me, Invited holds off on building intensity, but that works to its advantage. That may make it feel flat initially, but the minimalism works with more exposure. There’s enough in place to conjure the dreamy atmosphere Shake’s aiming for, while nailing the romantic angle as well. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
A three-part spectacle: from church hymn to Great Gatsby score, followed by a gripping breakdown that brings finality to the lovesick tale. History embodies the remarkable production of the record; luscious strings, banging drums and mechanical synths all mesh to drive the intensity of the track. The fact there’s plenty cogs in motion makes History a treat of an experience. It is ever-changing, evolving minute by minute in ways that throws all conventional structuring out the window. It is the most ambitious track of the album, reaching multiple peaks along with one of the best hooks. This is all done while maintaining an addictive aura at every moment. As a whole piece, this is Shake at her most vulnerable and poetic. – Hamza | Mic Cheque– Hamza | Mic Cheque
History sucks us into a journey through its orchestral opening; symbolic to the artist professing her love to whoever is being addressed. Shake uses this track as a timestamp to proclaim that whatever has been with the significant other in question, will always be memorable. “For the books,” as many would say. The sudden turn of events one minute in, brings out a darker, highly theatrical side, paving way for a high-energy, electronic essence to power through. The rockstar guitar grooves, and sophisticated beat alternations, alongside the continued play on the symphonious aspect, elevates 070’s romantic, escapist-like lyrical delivery. Powerful enough to trigger goosebumps. An ambitious work which will indeed make History, as one of the best-composed track’s in Dani’s discography when we listen back a few years from now. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
A slow reverb work fuelled with passion in the way the lyrics are slurred. A dark essence is buried at the core of this song, that’s accentuated by hard electrified vocals laced through the production. Despite the total running time being three minutes fifteen, There’s an interlude-like feeling brought to us by Medicine. It fulfils its purpose of being the calm before the storm. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Medicine is a moment that feels more like an interlude – though an enjoyable one. It continues to apply the muddy synths that are found across the album. Shake’s lovesick writing is direct, though not her most creative or insightful. That means it relies on the production to be the track’s highlight, bringing the progressive synth-pop template that funnels throughout the record. Luckily, it is Shake’s raw, lifeless emotion that makes Medicine another moment that grips your attention. –Hamza | Mic Cheque
Skin and Bones
The album’s lead single is the most conventional track you’ll find here, but also the most addictive. Skin and Bones showcases Shake as a natural romantic, marrying synth pop with alternative R&B, while lyrically exploring the substance her lover brings to their relationship. Shake’s writing abilities are on full show, carrying a poetic touch that’s equally melodic. The final third takes the song to galactic territory, bringing forth the VN album’s signature synths. It’s another well-constructed, expansive cut that both separates itself from the mix and simultaneously meshes with its peers. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Skin and Bones debuted as the pioneering cut for the album’s roll out. It’s presence on You Can’t Kill Me is a gift that evokes nostalgia, something which many early listeners of an artist they love, can get a thrill from. The theme here is an epic love that would make anyone listening crave for that person they can slow down time with. Here, Dani gives off the impression that reminiscing about what is expressed as an explosive but elusive romance, is in fact her favourite pastime – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Blue Velvet catches fire with fast thrumming at the beginning, serving as a thunderous warning. However, the sudden switch to a very slow, sombre pace – joined by subtle taps on what could be a handheld Ashiko drum – tells us otherwise as Dani pours her heart out at the fear of losing someone in the split moment. Shake creates variation in her vocal presentation by lying between a mid-tone that’s true to her authentic annunciation, a vocal that’s doubled up with auto-tune, and a higher more erratic frequency. Through hearing this style of delivery, we’re taken on a rollercoaster of the highs and lows that come with her fear. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
A downtempo track that initially strips back the layers to leave Shake’s vocals isolated in their most vulnerable state. Vocally, Blue Velvet is one of the album’s best moments, reigning in the raw emotion that grips the heartstrings of the listener. But it ensures its repetitive percussion doesn’t remain stagnant, switching to portions of airy production during the post-hook. It’s a fine example of You Can’t Kill Meusing simplicity to its benefit, which helps provide a break from the complex makeup of the album. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Cocoon is a dance number that’s the biggest surprise of the record, carrying lyrical themes of growth. It’s a motivational song, showcasing Shake’s versatility in songwriting as well as her ability to fit any style of production thrown at her. Even with its dance elements, the track is hard to pin to a particular era, carrying a unique flair synonymous with 070 Shake’s experimentation. Although it never explodes into life, Cocoon is finely placed in the tracklist and gives another necessary break from typical expectations. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
A high-tempo, bounce in the bass gives Cocoon the kick it needs to set anticipation for the type of song it will be. Built up by Shake’s eerie vocalising, this proceeds to go hand in hand with her imperative lyrics that almost serve as instructions to rise up, amplifying the need to break out into dance. Cocoon peaks at the point where the audio takes an insane turn with its extraordinary beat alternation, creating shock waves that are further driven by Shake’s artistic magnetism. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Body (feat. Christine & the Queens)
Shake serves us a magnificent work of art that’s sensually explosive, with emotion holding up the skeleton on Body. The production sends vibrations throughout its duration, heightening everything that comes on this expressive trip. With Christine and The Queens applying a softer touch, this establishes the dynamic nature harnessed throughout. Alongside History and Come Back Home, Body joins these two picks to complete You Can’t Kill Me’s holy trinity. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Body brings a collaboration with the album’s sole feature, Christine and the Queens, who owns the song’s minimal portions. This is a subdued, subtle cut that demands patience from the listener. The appeal lies in the nimble nature and sensual performances from the duo “Talk to me with your body when your words can’t anymore,”. Christine’s vocals contrast with Shake’s robotic performance while asserting dominance in her writing. The listener’s rewarded whenever the synths jump in, disappear then reappear at various points of the track. Body is a tune that keeps surprising despite its simple nature. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Wine & Spirits
Wine and Spirits ditches the synths for a melancholic guitar ballad, reminiscent of material found on Post Malone’s Stoney. It’s perhaps the roughest cut of the album, opting for a barren hook and underwritten verses. However, it continues to uphold the album’s intent for progressive production, eventually moving from its acoustic guitar to an electric guitar solo. Even if it’s not among the album’s best, Wine and Spirits isn’t a track that comes and goes. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Wine and Spiritsbeing the only track with Acoustics makes it an instant stand out. This sudden shift away from the heavy metal guitars encapsulates the vulnerability of Shake’s soul, as she proceeds to warn listeners about the danger of self-destruction in something that’s real, being blurred with an answer that can in fact further enflame a volatile situation: the feeling of needing someone. A merge of the all-familiar rock sounds weaps through at the end, demonstrating a difficulty to let go of old patterns or parts of a persona, for Shake is set in her ways. Here, romanticism meets escapism as the cure for the condition that’s causing hurt, appears to be in the need for “each other,”.–amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Come Back Home
Confession at what the narrator hints to be are sins, confusion in the varying lyrical structure which diverges into numerous narratives, and a multi-dimensional production brings out a compelling energy that becomes Come Back Home. The tempting build-up with the piano and continuous repetition of the question, “is it okay, if I come back home?” really sets us up to embark on a lyrically ignited, operatic voyage hit by fierce digitalised fusions. The heavy rock n roll tones combined with every other musical element that’s utilised to a maximum potential, is the way Shake truly solidifies the rebellious, self-aware rockstar image that she’s illustrated for us. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Abstract and experimental, Come Back Home is the best example of You Can’t Kill Mepushing the needle in sound and structure. Come Back Home takes pride in its structural shapeshifting, impossible to predict the next turn over the five minutes. The production is electricity, powering the track to send its shockwaves to the listener. Lavish strings, patient piano keys, punchy electric guitar and warbling synths all stamp their authority on the song, daring to reach monumental peaks of sonic complexity. The second part is the most addictive, sounding like a robotic symphony from the production to the vocals. The latter’s fabric are soulless mantras, acting as hysterical voices in Shake’s head that have taken over her psyche (“This one talks ‘bout that one, that one talks ‘bout blah”). Lyrically it relates back to album opener Web through the line “I found out I was your last ride home”, a bleaker flip on the intro’s line “What kind of person would I be? / If I let you drive hours here for me”. We can see how the perspective has changed during the course of the album, which makes Come Back Home a worthy centrepiece of You Can’t Kill Me. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
The banger of the album that will rock any show of any stage. Its repetitive lyrics are hypnotic, as are the drops on the hooks. Blissful in sound and attitude, Vibrations feels like a worthy closer to You Can’t Kill Meif it was one. There is an impression of conclusion where Shake finally begins to focus on her own feelings without anyone else in the picture. However, its eerie intro is unnecessarily long. The track would benefit if it jumped straight into the actual song. That aside, Vibrations is a head-banging anthem that asserts a triumphant energy. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Envision being in a dream, running into hollow territory. Unable to find an exit, until hope powers through to provide proof of existing. Then it’s right there, in front of you. A passage, an opening, an ingress, bringing you to a place of harmony. Despite how strung-out the beginning is, that’s what Vibrations is. Embodying every quality of an enigmatic aura, this seismic sonic flows through with a euphoric sound that meets with Shake’s higher-pitched vocals; a fierce contrast from the deep, soothing metamorphic delivery that we’re typically accustomed to. When performed live, the intensity leading to the stage where Shake cries out that first distinguishable verse will cause any concert hall to erupt. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
The piano-strung Purple Walls reveals a weary, restless version of Dani. A heartthrob element is implemented into the DNA of this track; allowing for Shake to express her loss of words or avoidance of a past love. The interlude-like nature initially introduced by Medicine is mirrored here, except that a lighter aura carries the song through, hinting at closure from what was, and acceptance of what will be. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Shake enters her most vulnerable state on Purple Walls, a tender ballad that touches on the safety found in romantic intimacy. This is one of the few tracks that escape the album’s synthfluence, aiding it to stand on its own accord and offer something different. It helps break up the album’s complex sonics which can be overwhelming to hear back to back. Once again, Shake’s emotion is utterly convincing. She is able to transmit her intentions with genuine warmth – which is why even the album’s weakest tracks avoid the skip. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Kid Cudi’s influence is on full show here. Stay pleads for a lost lover’s commitment; the album’s last attempt at saving the relationship. The imperfect, strained vocals are what add to the emotion found on the second verse and hook, “I feel so alone, I can’t let that go,”. It’s unclear whether the plea is successful, but the driving production hints there’s light at the tunnel. Even at the closing stages of the album, Shake is able to deliver the same emotion heard at the start on top of killer melodies.– Hamza | Mic Cheque
An anecdotal love letter detailing a disconnect in love. Shake sets the scene, opening her mind to let us into the Polaric moments detailed by Stay’s lyrics; giving us the highs and lows of that love. Prompted by an iconic rhythm and transcendent adlibs, Stay takes us on an adventure to be persuaded hold on. To remain by Shake’s side, even if the person who she wishes will, doesn’t. In particular when those call-outs of “hold on, don’t let me go,” are repeated sequentially. The energetic accumulation leading up to the moment of the chorus is thrilling; emotively fuelled. It’s an embodiment of how the artist’s alternative sound, can not be limited to one sonic category alone. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Se Fue La Luz
Se Fue La Luz translates to The Power Went Out, and with such a title to the outro of what is the definition of a powerful creation, this is Shake singing off. The perfect victory lap track, for a track-star, as she waves goodbye to this era of her discography. There’s something Gatsby about the way the song fades out through its Jazz-like ambience; prompted by triumphal trumpets. Instead of seeing Leonardo Dicaprio raising his glass for that sweet toast in his big reveal as Jay Gatsby, it’s Dani Moon replacing the image of him, taking that shine and letting the fireworks go out with her. –amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
You Can’t Kill Me seemingly ends with Shake in solitary. Se Fue La Luz is a heart-wrenching closer that closes the chapter of hope. The chorus is sung in Shake’s native Spanish, the cherry on top of the album’s poetic writing (”Light of my life / When you went, the power went out”). Structurally, the track is thin, but the album’s emotional weight all bursts on“Se Fue La Luz, highly reminiscent of the gut-punch Terminal B off Shake’s previous album, Modus Vivendi. If there’s one thing 070 Shake knows how to do, it’s how to end an album in tear-jerking style.. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
If there’s one thing about Dave, he’s a king when it comes to creating parallels within his own musical universe.
The long awaited arrival of his sophomore album We’re All Alone In This Together accounts for this, as the resemblances he’s created don’t necessarily lie in the continuation of songs he’s previously released, because they can present through structural similarities and emotion they evoke from listeners.
Pairings from WAAITT and Psychodrama standing at a cross roads that are comparable in a versus include:
We’re All AloneandPsycho
Think of the feeling experienced from listening to both intro’s back to back. When WAAITT dropped, did your mind take a hit of nostalgia, and associate it with Psycho? Can you pick up on the truthful elements which turn the artist’s reality into your own? With these two, everything comes down to how heightened our senses become as the storyteller unleashes his candour.
Verdansk and Screwface Capital
Both are dominated by a piano in their intros, honing in an intense cinematic feeling. The visuals for Verdansk account for this, from the concept, down to the style of execution. Despite its notorious rival, Screwface Capital not having a music video, eliminating this one factor still places the pair on par in what could be classed as Dave’s version of luxury rap – with a crud-esque touch. The verse arrangement, build up in production all the way through to the core beat transition are in alignment; presenting a parallel by structure.
Heart Attack and Panic Attack
Dedicated to the Six Path‘s era – which looking back at David’s journey, this was the beginning – Heart Attack’s steady heartbeat, chaotic sirens, news voiceovers and sombre acoustics deviate away from the 140bpm, Grime heavy elements that were laced into the prequel; creating a state of hyperrealism. The fabrication of this effect is intentional; aiding listeners to understand that even though time has passed between Panic Attack, and it’s accentuated continuation, the themes touched on in both – crime, justice, social exclusion– are still prevalent problems of today.
The arrival of My 24th Birthday, successor to My 19th Birthday joins this ensemble; demonstrating that any genius mirroring isn’t purely limited to the above.
My 19th Birthday is by far one of Santan’s most lyrically powered tracks; a top contender from his Game Over chapter. A true embodiment of every element that comes with pain rap when delivered by him. Fast forward five years, My 24th Birthday shines light upon the Streatham prince’s growth, creating major contrast from the anguish detailed in its predecessor; the growing pains of becoming an artist, alongside the struggles of rising to become who Dave might now refer to, as Him.
There’s a desolate essence to the tone of delivery. Arm in arm with the unpredictable melody (possibly lifted from his own vocals as hinted by the Instagram post paying tribute to the release), the story graces our ears, giving us a moment to reminisce with the rapper, about times prior to this, that had far less favourable circumstances. Despite the fame, opulence and success that can accompany a 24-year old poet, he doesn’t hold back on centring what he spits about, around honesty – detailing how regardless of his present, there are moments in this current reality where he lacks complete fulfilment.
Those who are new to his music will find their love for him continuing to grow, whilst those from the Blackbox days will commend him for upholding his artistic integrity. Through the mirror dimensions David creates, honesty propels him forward. Besides proving to us that he is a king when it comes to creating parallels in his music, he also doesn’t fail to remind us that he is in fact, the truth.
The arrival of Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home has generated an ecstatic buzz among MCU and cinematic enthusiasts because this third instalment to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man series serves its purpose of an incredible pop culture moment, as we witness him share the big screen with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. This highly anticipated cross-over has been a trending topic since the trailer’s reveal, which initially introduced nostalgia through the prolific re-appearance of Dr Oc. Likewise, it’s been a big year for UK rap, as many artists are experiencing their ‘main character moment’ having delivered projects that will go onto be hot topics of discussion for years to come, whilst others are still acknowledged for the timelessness of their art.
Seeing as we’ve now been introduced to the concept of the Multiverse, and watched a handful of home-grown talents flourish, the timing is perfect to present you with a breakdown of UK rappers if they were characters in Spider-Man: No Way Home!
Peter 2 | Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man – Kano
Both OG’s in their fields, and the type of individuals who have a character profile that brings about nostalgia when music or MCU lover’s hear their name. If there was to be a Tobey Maguire on the UK rap scene, it would be the maker of Home Sweet Home, and our favourite Top Boy, Kano. Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker is constantly credited for laying solid foundations in a world where Spider-Man would exist, having been the first to remarkably portray Peter Parker, and just like him, our old school favourite spitter, doesn’t go unnoticed for his contribution to Grime and UK Hip-Hop, being among the first poets of his kind on the scene.
Peter 3 | Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman – Little Simz
As of recent, there’s been a huge wave of love that Little Simz and Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker have received – and it’s about time. Rebellious in the way she constructs her captive sonics, this rap Goddess and our favourite introvert, SIMBI would be the Amazing Spider-Man. Andrew’s Peter, like Simz, has an introverted aspect, but when it’s time to embrace the hero part of himself, and come out of his shell – even as Peter – he captures the attention of audiences by bringing out a highly eccentric persona, that diverges from the one in both Tobey and Tom’s portrayal; as does Little Simz when she’s out for blood in her bars. Both Simbi and Garfield are magnetic standouts in their own universes, no doubt.
Peter 1 | Tom Holland’s Spider-Man – Dave
Rap prodigy and going strong in his lead for the younger gen, Dave, embodies the qualities of our current Peter Parker, Tom Holland. Both appeal to the masses, by setting a high standard, and hold a place in the hearts of many, with the way they’re able to transcend audiences of all age groups through the delivery of their art. No Way Home’s Spider-Man, and the platinum selling artist, hold traits that truly make them the “people’s champ.” Just as we witness Tom share the screen with Andrew and Tobey in No Way Home, Dave also stepped forward to share the mic with Stormz, Meekz, Ghetts, and, Giggs on his most recent project, ‘WAAITT’. This pairing defines the aspects, of how the old gen meets with the new to create a feeling of what can be best referred to, as ‘new school nostalgia‘.
Electro, portrayed by Jamie Foxx | Skepta
This comparison shouldn’t be surprising, because it goes without saying that when it comes Skepta, everything about his sound and artist: is charged up. Electric. Whether it’s what he’s given to us in projects, features, or live performances. Much like the Tottenham spitter, Electro, represents a character hungry for power and quick to adapt to the frequencies of a different universe; both him and Skep are multi-dimensional figures. So the UK’s Electro would be our Greaze Mode beast, Skepta.
Lizard, portrayed by Rhys Ifans | Giggs
Dr Curtis Connors carries himself as a perceptive, methodical man; driven by the determination to succeed, as seen with his genetic hybridisation trails. Having taken interns under his wing whilst working at Oscorp, it’s clear he’s very open to the ideas of youngsters. Similar to Dr. Connors, Giggs – despite maintaining his signature, tranquil flow, and road rap style throughout the years – has in fact demonstrated innovative approaches with his music; especially with the collaborations on his last Mixtape Now or Never, and sparking talks of a potential link up with Kentucky sensation, Jack Harlow, during the summer. Also it’s uncanny how the two parallel each other with their, deep, gruff voices, and something about The Lizard’s humour in NWH, really gives off a Gigg-esque vibe.
Dr Otto Octavius, portrayed by Alfred Molina | Ghetts
Ahead of his time no doubt, and consumed by the art of technology, Dr Otto Octavius is GOAT’ed as villain in the Spider-Man series, and the origins of his villain story lead him to become an antagonist that truly thinks outside the box – whether he was under the control of AI or not. If there’s a scientist of the game in the UK, it’s Ghetts as he’s highly experimental and given listeners evolutionary material in his 2021 album, Conflict of Interest. Like Dr Oc, Ghetts takes his art into different spaces and is a true, sonic shapeshifter.
Sandman, portrayed by Thomas Haden church | Stormzy
Sweet by nature, but ready to unleash a storm if it comes to it, Spider-Man’s Sandman doesn’t hold traits of a villain with a poor temper, but rather those of a force that should not be reckoned with because he can easily adapt to and fuel the conditions of a fight through manipulation of his abilities, to cause damage. Stormzy, like his super human counterpart, brings a chaos – a sandstorm – to his raps, and has mastered the art of adjusting to more contemporary styles, as seen with his recent features on Dave’s Clash, Ghett’s Skengman, and the progress in his discography which has put him at the forefront of UK Rap.
Green Goblin, portrayed by Willem Dafoe | Little Simz – The People’s Choice | Chipmunk – In Reality
Willem Dafoe delivered a masterclass performance in No Way Home with the reprisal of his role as Green Goblin, embodying every aspect of a villain that needed to crush Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, pushing him to becoming the Spider-Man he is. Simbi is no villain, but she has never missed with the delivery of an album, woven with words, sonic styles, and flows that are truly top of their league and tump out her male counterparts on the scene. She’s previously proven this with the 11/10 Grey Area, and this year, the Brit nominated SIMBI. If there’s anyone who’s capable of a Green Goblin style execution, whilst being labelled a hero for her impact as a female rapper, it’s Islington’s very own, Little Simz.
On the other hand, if there’s a spitter who can hold his own in a feud, and deliver antagonistic pen in the same way that Green Goblin delivers lines that go on to be ingrained in the minds of the protagonists he impacts, it’s Chipmunk. Notorious for being in a number of heated UK Rap wars, and a very skilled bar-er when sending shots, in reality Chip does have what it takes to be the scene’s Green Goblin, whilst maintaining the status of an acclaimed artist, among his core audience.