Giggs’ newest release Wamp 2 Dem – pronounced “W’appen to dem”, a nod to the South London rapper’s Jamaican roots – comes hot on the heels of his controversial features on Drake’s More Life. Where as British listeners generally agreed that his flow on KMT – which climaxed with the oh-so-memorable line, “Could’ve just slapped man, but he wanted it further/Batman DER NER NER DER NER” – was hilarious, many Americans weren’t feeling it. In a serious of interviews conducted by Noisey UK, a host of American fans said, “his flow was wack”, “straight garbage” and “monotone”, with many remarking that when it comes to UK hip-hop, they much prefer Skepta.
But what many of our friends over the pond don’t realise is that Giggs and Skepta inhabit slightly different genres: Skepta is straight up grime, whereas Giggs is more of a hybrid. Although often lumped in to the grime genre, Giggs flow is technically road rap – a name recently formulated for a heavier, trap-influenced style of British hip-hop. It’s this nuance that makes Giggs’ flow what it is – aggressive, raw, and relentless. And besides, how can these kids come through with complaints about his style being monotone when some of the biggest noise in the States right now is 21 Savage and Lil Pump?
Wamp 2 Dem proves to American audiences that the streets of South London are far from the Britain of gentile cream teas and scones they imagine. As Giggs said to Beats1 DJ Ebro Darden, he doesn’t care about whether or not people think London is tough, it’s more about the fact that he “didn’t really like the disrespect of what man’s been through”. Raw, rough and ready, Giggs paints a dark picture of London with an ominous flow that is distinctly his own.
True enough, on a cursory listen Giggs’ lyricism doesn’t amount to much, but his bars are perfectly matched with the beats. Don’t let the sample from the Sugar Plum Fairy that opens the tape lull you in to a false sense of security – Giggs’ drawling, bassy mutter takes no prisoners. As the opening tune Gully Niggas continues ominously over the classical sample, the rapper’s monotone voice jars over the twinkly piano and pitch shifting drum pattern, setting the dark tone for the rest of the tape.
The second track, Ultimate Gangsta, follows a similar pattern. Combining an eerie violin sample with nervous, jumpy gunshots and clattering hi-hats, with a surprising trans-Atlantic 2 Chainz feature, Giggs tells us “I said Batman/They thought man was joking/ When I’m talking ‘bout dressing all black/A nigga was scopin’/ ‘Cause I’m fucking this rap shit.” Reminiscent of some of the merciless darkness of Lil Wop’s Wapavelli 3, less than ten minutes in to this tape Giggs makes sure we know he hasn’t come to play.
Further excellent features on the record include more trans-Atlantic guests like Lil Duke and Young Thug, proving that Drake’s attempts to build bridges between UK and US acts has longevity beyond some of the dubious moment on More Life. Still staying true to his Jamaican roots – and a marked nod back to the UK scene – Time Tickin’ draughts in dancehall legend Popcaan for a dark take on some island vibes.
Truth be told, there isn’t a dud track on the mixtape. Despite all the celebrity features, Giggs runs the show the entire way through, clearly making his point that there’s a lot more to the British rap scene than Skepta. We’re not going to act like he’s the Yeats of British rap – the lyrics of Moist Pussy are just as grim as you’d expect from the title – but you can’t argue with the production. Behind the boards for Wamp 2 Dem was Florida pair Cool & Dre, Zaytoven, Londoners Donae’o and Footsie, as well as the aptly (but perhaps inappropriately) named London On Da Track from Atlanta. With this eclectic mix of US and UK production, the result is a blend of ferocious trap strings mixed with an attitude that’s quintessentially London. One you’ve made it through 13 tracks of grim, grey, Peckham menace and reached the closing track Ruler, Giggs has made his point – these mans in ‘Merca don’t know nothing about South London.
Giggs – Wamp 2 Dem Tracklist
- Gully Niggaz
- Ultimate Gangsta (ft. 2 Chainz)
- Straight Lifestyle
- Time Tickin’ (ft. Popcaan)
- The Essence
- Linguo (ft. Donae’o)
- Gangstas & Dancers
- Moist Pussy
- 50 Cali
- Outsiders (ft. Footsie, D Double E)
- Horror Movie
- Peligro (ft. Dave)