I often seek out grime artists myself, but rarely does grime get promoted to me. So imagine my surprise when Jammer‘s latest album, Jahmanji came across my desk. Jammer is a veteran in a relatively young genre. Early in his career he started the 187 Crew, where he worked as a producer with D Double E and Hyper. He later joined the N.A.S.T.Y. Crew which includes one of grime’s brightest stars Kano. Despite his long career, Jahmanji is Jammer’s first proper album.
When you have been in the game as long as Jammer people come out of the woodwork to be on your first proper release. The album’s list of guest appearances is a variable who’s who of grime. Guests include OGs like Skepta, JME, and Frisco; the album features new school artists like Newham Generals, Jammin, and Hainsy.
With the star power in the guest list, it would seem that Jahmanji has all the makings of a classic grime album but it has to avoid the pitfalls that many grime artists have fallen into lately. Grimeheads will tell you, the biggest flaw grime artists have is getting signed and then abandoning the genre. While that’s not exactly the case with Jammer, there are some tracks that veer dangerously away from grime.
For example, the album’s first single “Party Animal”. The track has an electro feel similar to Dizzee Rascal‘s “Bonkers”. Worse is that the track features a female vocalist on the chorus that makes the track sound more like C+C Music Factory than a grime track. But “Party Animal” is not the only track with a poppy dance vibe. “One Too Many” is basically a trance song with rapping. It sounds like some Tiësto production.
Fortunately it seems whenever the album is moving too far out there, Jammer ropes it in with a classic grime track. The album closes with the single “Better Than”. The track is the ultimate name checking, grime track. Jammer shows off his peacemaker mentality in a traditionally violent scene by specifically pointing out that he’s not better than Dizzee or Wiley. This type of humble hip hop is something completely foreign in a traditionally bragadocious genre, but what makes the track even better is that it is a well produced banger.
Overall, Jahmanji does not quite live up to my expectations. The album has some bangers and some instant classics but too many tracks veer away from the grime roots and end up sounding watered down. The album is a little better than mediocre but not quite the classic I expected from a veteran grimeman’s first proper album.
MP3: Jammer “Better Than”