Dexplicit: The Dex Files and #ThatBassLife are coming and Pow ‘came out of nowhere’
Back in 2004, when grime was very much still the preserve of the youth of London, Lethal Bizzle was very suddenly and unexpectedly shot to fame with the release and chart success of Pow. The song peaked at number 11 and remained in the UK singles chart for 7 weeks, despite bans from many radio stations due to references to gun culture and bans from nightclubs due to its tendency to start fights when it was played.
Almost a decade later, grime has changed substantially; Wiley is now a chart-topping popstar and Lethal Bizzle is one catchphrase short of being a certified meme machine.
Looking back at the success of Pow, Dexplicit, who produced the beat for the song, claims it “just happened out of nowhere” but it significantly altered his direction as a producer, after spending a while making hip-hop and “messing with garage” in the late 90s and early 2000s.
After Pow, Dexplicit decided to stick with grime, bringing with him a hip-hop and bashment influence.
Since the track, Dexplicit has become one of the grime scene’s most respected producers and DJs, so any news of upcoming releases will be greeted with enthusiasm from the grime faithful. However, his latest project has an exciting difference. Dexplicit plans to release twelve instrumental EPs over the next 12 months, with the first coming out at the end of February.
After each release, fans will be able to vote on which track they would like to be vocalled by an MC by tweeting with the hashtag #ThatBassLife or commenting on a relevant thread on the Grime Forum. There will be an EP release roughly once a month and each one will be released alongside the winning track from the last EP to be released as a single.
As a taster, Dexplicit is releasing “Live It Up” featuring Tulisa and Big H, one of grime’s cult heroes, as a free download. The song will receive its first play on Logan Sama’s Kiss FM show and is available as a free download now. Live It Up highlights Dexplicit’s experimental approach to music, with Tulisa’s remixed hook sitting comfortably between a fresh, Jamaican-influenced flow from a reinvigorated Big H.
When I asked if the EPs will be more experimental, Dexplicit told me “I like to experiment and not make the same stuff that everyone else is making; you’ll notice that if you listen to my EPs,” but that ultimately “grime is the ethos”.
As far as the list of MCs goes, Dexplicit says “I’m hoping to get all my favourite MCs on there… obviously there’s a few different types of MCs who like different types of beats and sit comfortably on different paces, so I’ll choose the relevant MC to match and we’ll take it from there… I’ve got a few guys who are not from grime that can jump on grime and kill it… I’ll bend the rules if it sounds good”.
As well as releasing the EPs, there will also be a competition, courtesy of experience days website BuyAGift.co.uk, where budding MCs can win a six hour studio session with Dexplicit himself and a professional studio engineer. To compete, MCs or singers simply have to vocal a Dexplicit instrumental – past or present – and he will be choosing the winner himself.
“The project is about putting the power in the hands of the people.” He tells me, “I’ve been making music for years and you never know what people want to hear until you make it and put it out there. I’m looking forward to see the votes flood in and hopefully also get an aspiring MC in the studio with me as a result of the competition.”
The first of Dexplicit’s EP releases is out on the 28th of this month, Live it Up is available now and you can vote for which instrumentals you would like to hear vocalled either on the Grime Forum or on twitter using the hashtag #ThisBassLife#ThatBassLife, Dexplicit, grime, MC, Pow, Producer, That Bass Life, The Dex Files
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter