Giggs 'Landlord' review

With collaborations aplenty and hip hop grooves thrown in amongst gritty grime numbers, the rapper's fourth release could well be his most complete to date. Henry Lewis reviews.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 11th Aug 2016.
Originally published: 10th Aug 2016

Image: Giggs

There's little doubt that grime is now firmly lodged in the mainstream, 2016 going a long way to further prove that.

Skepta tore up Glastonbury's hallowed Pyramid Stage and joined Kano in receiving a Mercury Prize nomination, while Stormzy and Big Narstie have shone on social media with Thorpe Park takeovers and Uncle Pain therapy videos. Beneath the glitz and glamour however, the areas of London that spawned the genre are still as dangerous as ever.

Only four months ago a young Peckham rapper named Myron Yarde was stabbed to death, prompting Giggs to take to Instagram to pay tribute.

In many ways you feel like Giggs is still a big part of this world, whereas it seems like some of his contemporaries have become much more separated from it.

This is true enough if the rapper's latest record, his fourth, is anything to go by. Old habits die hard, with gritty beats and rumbling bass lines prominent throughout The Landlord - as is Giggs' trademark grunt - while the lyrical content speaks knowingly about drug dealing and violence.

This is certainly the case in the likes of 'Just Swervin' and latest single 'Whippin Excursion', the latter sporting bars like "White so clean, you know I'm flipping that Persil/ Soon be the million dollar man, like I'm living with Virgil/ Real shit, seen a little rehearsal/ Big gun like Rick, it's like I'm living with Herschel".

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In all honesty, that kind of bragging is exactly what you want from a grime album. We'd be happy if the majority of the LP was made up of it, but Giggs has a trick up his sleeve - and a funky one at that. 

Lodged in the middle of the 14 song collection is a duo of tracks with the kind of hip hop swagger that Dr Dre would be proud of and this helps to break up the grittier moments nicely.

The first of which is 'Lock Doh' which is built upon a head nodding bassline and a trap song like hook which fits perfectly. 'The Best' is aptly named and features scouse MC Aystar whose slick verse is distinctive and fresh.

In a record full of collabs, the most notable is naturally attributed to Storzmy's contribution on 'The Blow Back' which is the kind of big name hook up we are so used to seeing on grime albums, and obviously sounds brilliant.

There is also a softer side of Giggs on display here, particularly in 'The Process'. In what can only be described as a hood love song, he riffs "Man hit that chick/ And just kept it/ And when I watch Netflix/ She just gets it". It's a true modern day romance that would sound wrong in any other genre aside from grime, the simplicity endearing.

Similarly, 'Of Course' has a touching sentiment about Giggs' deceased Aunt which also leads him to talk about his children and how tough it is growing up on 'the streets'. In that respect, you can draw parallels between Snoop Dogg and Giggs where the gangster exterior masks a sensitivity that seeps out more and more over the years.

Having said that, don't be fooled by the Landlord's smile. If your rent was late, you'd know about it. 

Like this? Check out Raw celebrate first anniversary with Giggs live show.