New artist of the week: Slowthai
Bad boy of alt-grime with a ‘There’s nothing great about Britain’ tattoo? What’s not to love?
Alt-grime rapper and producer
A Slowthai gig is known to be a unique night out. Since arriving last year, the rapper and producer has been carried on stage in a coffin, has disparagingly rapped over the English national anthem and routinely performs in his underwear.
Sure, that makes Tyron Frampton sound more like a wrestler at a pay-per-view event, but his taste for theatrics bleeds into his music with a punk-style energy. With his “There’s nothing great about Britain” tattoo, Slowthai has emerged as an artist not afraid to react to the state of Brexit-torn Britain while reflecting on his own personal life.
Frampton’s voice is what will strike you first. His nasal English colloquial whine finds peers in American rap with Ratking and in the UK with Dizzee Rascal. Slowthai’s lyrics address multiculturalism, a reluctant drug dealer, the role of women in his life and being a British youth in the 21st century.
Frampton’s music hits hard – sinogrime tones, deep sustained bass and eerie horror synths are common. His latest song, Doorman, is a collaboration with producer Mura Masa and eschews his hard grime sound for high-tempo BPM electronic-punk to rival Death Grips.
The videos also feature the macabre, echoing the uncertainty of his homeland’s future and the current world climate. The clip for Rainbows features Frampton’s transformation into King Kong, who raps while hanging off Big Ben, and with it, Slowthai pitches himself as a conscious bogeyman of UK music.