London boy Skepta and Harlem based Young Lord (who you may know as A$AP BARI) bridged the Atlantic divide this weekend and released their new single ‘It Ain’t Safe’.
We went to the live premiere of this track a couple weeks ago in Hackney. It was an intimate Sunday night show, and only about 50 people turned up, hardly filling up even a quarter of the room. Skepta didn’t seem put off though, and compared the settings to ‘chilling with the mandem’. As you can see from this video, however, things got lively:
After performing it at another East London show a week later, they decided to premiere it via the I-D Soundcloud account, since which it has already had a number of very positive reviews and healthy radio play:
It’s a boundary-pushing song. Young Lord takes care of the memorable hook (‘It ain’t safe on the block, not even for the cops’), while Skepta spits with an aggressive flow over what is quite clearly a Mike Lowery inspired bassline (listen here for the similarities). While there have been a number of U.S Hip Hop x U.K Grime linkups in the past (mostly Skepta driven), this is the first time I think it has really worked, and should hopefully please audiences on both sides. Going Stateside is clearly something Skepta is pushing extremely hard for (see for example, the That’s Not Me Remix with New York’s Wiki from Ratking). Who knows, with North American artists such as Drake trying to be roadmen these days, maybe this linkup is something that could really take off.
Look out for the ‘It Ain’t Safe’ official video, which should drop alongside the official release of the track on Boy Better Know recordings on November 2nd.