‘London City Warlord’ MC Riko Dan features twice in Elijah & Skilliam’s enormous Grime 2015 compilation, amongst a collection of the year’s best and most popular vocal Grime tracks. He’s not just a Grime MC, however, as he’s said himself in an interview with Noisey, ‘I’m not a grime MC. I’m an MC. I’ll be an MC after grime passes. I love grime, but I don’t see myself as a grime MC. I’m part of grime. I might spit on a different tune.’
One of the most impressive aspects to Riko Dan as an artist is his versatility. He has the ability to shut down different types of raves: from grime to bass, drum and bass to garage. He has worked with an array of artists from different genres, a further representation of his impressive versatility.
So, I’ve decided to look back at Riko Dan’s extensive catalogue of releases and freestyles to bring you some of my favourite moments from the East London MCs, moments which re-inforce him as a true unique asset to UK Underground music and club culture.
See how many of his trademark bars you can spot across the five…
Black Dragons (feat Riko Dan) – Rabit
Originally meant as a dubplate, the crowd reaction was so big that Houston-based Rabit felt compelled to release it on Glacial Sound. Riko Dan said that at first he didn’t think the track would work, but now it’s one of his favourites. It’s easy to see why he borrowed some of these bars for Rinse release Zone, his link-up with Jack Beats.
Big Slug (feat Riko Dan) – Pinch & Mumdance
Riko Dan warned us about this one after he’d heard the thumping instrumental from Tectonic’s dubstep maverick Pinch and Grime & Techno muse Mumdance. He comes in so hard and his bars really work with the instrumental, switching up his style up to show it off. It was chosen for Grime 2015 alongside Black Dragons.
Play Your Corner (feat Riko Dan) – Wen
Dropping down in tempo, this entry comes from Wen’s highly-anticipated debut album, Signals. The talented producer’s use of strings gives the track an almost cinematic feel, while Riko Dan brings a suitable menace to this modern classic. It’s even had remixes from Kahn & Neek and Walton.
Kingpin (feat Scrufizzer, P Money & Riko Dan) Skream & Friction
Riko Dan dominates the opening of this huge and hectic half-step D&B track from Skream and Shogun Audio boss Friction. Scruffizzer and P Money absolutely smash this tune too, each showcasing their signature style.
FACT Magazine Freestyle
Riko Dan has slewed many an MC so it’s fitting that his FACT Mag freestyle was filmed in a graveyard, with Kahn & Neek mixing the beats with their inimitable sound. Initially Riko Dan was best known for his hard-hitting bars as part of legendary Grime crew Roll Deep, which he demonstrates here perfectly.
Written by Simona Morar