Albums

Album Review: JME – ‘Integrity’

The cool and collected co-founder of Boy Better Know, JME, has dropped his third studio album, Integrity.

The 16-track release is yet another undulation in the already tidal wave that is today’s Grime scene, and it’s heading for shore. In the preceding few months, grime music has surged to global recognition through JME’s senior sibling Skepta, with tracks such as ‘Shutdown’ taking fans by storm. Integrity’s timing could not be more integral for JME’s progression in the business – this album is as much a pedestal as it is a par [noun: a diss or breach of social standard].

JME’s grime career thus far has been modest, having lain low in the music industry game. With no manager, no promoter, no stylist and no PR, his endeavours appear independent, and this is only further reflected in his latest work. Avoiding meat, eggs and general debauchery, JME isolates the beats and the bars.

The album features all the heavy grime vets under the sun; namely Frisco, Jammer, Big Narstie, Giggs, Skepta, Shorty, Wiley, D Double E. As close-knit members of BBK, it was inevitable that these would feature. As well as the aforementioned, all of the beats are tied down by producer Preditah, revealing an electronic instrumental spine. Grime fans are all too familiar with this, and it continues to do the trick.

It all kicks off with ‘Pulse 8’, a track where JME tells us about JME – we hear about how his life has changed from having ‘ten youts knocking at [his] door’ to billing up fatties for his bredrin at twenty-past four in the morning. For some, this beat will be a second listen, with it featuring in the Red Bull Culture Clash with BBK late last year – an energetic yet equally pensive way to get things going. The composed vibes continue in ‘Again’ featuring D Double E, and listeners are furthermore subject to JME’s apparent apathy towards haters and the like: ‘I don’t need no fame or paps – on road, everyone’s rating man like iPhone apps’. The message is clear.

Then comes arguably the most exciting track on the release, ‘Don’t @ Me’. Featuring feisty figureheads Skepta, Frisco and Shorty, this is nothing short of a treat for flow fanatics. The track comes with more aggression than the others; this dauntless defiance is exemplified when Frisco says: ‘I’m my own boss, who’s gonna sack me?’ The ante is considerably upped by this addition.

jme

And following the ante comes the Uncle – Uncle Pain to be precise. Big Narstie, as he’s otherwise known, sides with JME in ‘Break You Down’, another offensive offering,  featuring bars such as ‘With me there’s no compromise; it’s my way or everything dies’. I have a sneaky feeling JME would slide right into a seat in the House of Commons.

If you are a man and you don’t care, then ‘Man Don’t Care’ may be worth a listen. Featuring the dark, deep-voiced  Giggs, this track adds eeriness to the picture. Although he doesn’t frequent radio or media platforms, JME can be seen spraying this oral artillery over the phone to a phony PPI scammer on Keeping It Grimy last week.

Integrity is most definitely exciting – not just for Grime followers, but for poets, for clubbers, and for those looking for a bit of motivation. If you crack open your dusty Collins Dictionary and have a fiddle through, you’ll find:

in·teg·ri·ty

in?te?r?d?/

noun

  1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
  2. the state of being whole and undivided.

Although anomalies such as ‘anyone that’s dissed my mum/Suck your dead great gran through your dad’s batty crease, rudeboy’ pop to the surface now and then, listeners get the picture. JME is not here to mess around. He’s not here to earn money. He’s here to prove his individuality in the heavily stereotyped Grime wave, and to thank those that stood by him since day one. So to anyone who wants to challenge Jamie Adenuga and his integrity, he’s “been doing this for over ten years so shh hut yuh muh, ‘llow it!”

Will McCartney

8/10

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