South London icon Giggs continues to solidify his legendary status with a worthy post–”KMT” project.
2017 has been the most high-profiled year of Giggs’ career. He broke through the American market through his features on Drake’s More Life, “No Long Talk” and the controversial “KMT”. Amidst all the backlash for his verse, Giggs had a point to prove to people who didn’t understand his style.
Wamp 2 Dem serves that purpose, a 13-track mixtape that is distributed by Island. It’s not doing anything new, it merely continues to show the public what Giggs does best. The fact that he’s rapping over American-styled trap beats is nothing new, nor is the fact that he’s working with American artists (he collab’d with Waka Flocka as early as 2012).
Over the 46 minutes, Wamp 2 Dem doesn’t give the chance to provide a low-point. From the get-go, “Gully N^^gaz” presents an enjoyable spin on The Nutcracker song, something which was done in Giggs’ collaboration with Dizzee Rascal except this opening track slows down the sample to allow Giggs to flex his slow, quotable flow. The second track, “Ultimate Gangsta”, is the unofficial yet undisputed sequel to “KMT”. Its menacing beat is able to match the hype levels of the “KMT” beat, while 2 Chainz delivers an enjoyable extended verse. Recreating the energy of “KMT” wouldn’t have been easy, yet “Ultimate Gangsta” manages to match it completely.
“The Essence” is the most mellow and introspective track of the lot. It also stands out because it feels like a throwback to some of Giggs’ earlier mixtape work (particularly the Ard Bodied era, ten years ago). “Linguo” gives “Lock Doh” a run for its money in terms of the best Giggs–Donae’o collaboration, including the same spaced-out bouncy style of production. “Lock Doh” showed that the formula works, so it’s clear “Linguo”‘s gonna get the push for the clubs and the charts.
Bar “Linguo”, “Times Tickin” and “Peligro”, Wamp 2 Dem stays true to the dark, foreboding production. The London on da Track–produced “Gangstas & Dancers” clearly sounds and feels like a Young Thug song but manages to suit Giggs, allowing him to sound natural on such a track. Zaytoven brings the explosive production on “50 Cali”, putting it in the same territory of “Ultimate Gangsta” in terms of being the best bangers on the mixtape.
“Peligro” is the suit-and-tie track of the mixtape. Giggs does his thing, but Dave steals the show with his subject matter and memorable wordplay (“But manna just call them Simba / Dem man are just kings of lying / Dem man are just lyin’ kings / They ain’t coppin’ no diamond rings”), (“‘Til Jus pulled up in a Jurgen Klopp BM, that’s an angry German”).
The “Man ain’t” / “Man just” motif of bars are available in abundance over the mixtape, yet never gets boring or annoying. Despite the repetition, Giggs’ raspy voice and flow makes every line incredibly catchy. If the new American rappers do it, why is Giggs criticised for it when he has been doing it for years?
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the work of Giggs, Wamp 2 Dem will show you that you don’t listen to Giggs for incredible wordplay or substantial content. Giggs does what he does best; bring hard one-liners and catchy flows that make you want to flip a table over.
But there is some substance here and there. Giggs clearly has got things to say to his critics, particularly the Americans who ridiculed his “KMT” verse (“Man’s just cheeky, man’s just neeky, plus embarrassed / Why’s he even speaking or discussing talent?”), (“Cause I’m fucking this rap shit, niggas is soaking / Fuck your little chit chat talk show, niggas is smoking”). He responds with style to critics like DJ Akademiks, letting everyone know he sees what people say but will not compromise his work to please them.
The final track “Ruler” is a great way to round off the project, practically sounding like an intro which makes you want to replay the tape from the start.
If I had to be critical, a few tracks lack replay value and stick out like a sore thumb, such as “Outsiders”, and “Horror Movie” doesn’t provide anything memorable. During the course of the listen they blend in well but make you feel as if Giggs could have done something different with a few of these tracks.
If I was an American listening to Wamp 2 Dem, I wouldn’t be able to completely disregard Giggs’ work here without being a hypocrite. Wamp 2 Dem showcases all of Giggs’ strengths and leaves little room for error. There’s bangers, catchy flows, memorable bars, impressive features and strong cohesiveness. Its post-release success is deserved as well. Wamp 2 Dem has to be one of the strongest UK releases of the year.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Best tracks: “Ultimate Gangsta”, “50 Cali”, “Straight Lifestyle”, “The Essence”, “Ruler”