In Conversation With Grim Sickers: One Of Grime’s Rising Stars

Written by Edward Burrell

Bristol-based Grime MC Grim Sickers absolutely tore up the scene last year when he released the track KANE, now the most popular and well-known songs of his repertoire. It was a veritable banger, heavy, fast, entertaining; dropping countless pop culture references in along the way. One verse name drops people from Jamie Vardy, to Steve Jobs, to Stephen King – that’s what you call variety.

In honour of his exploding popularity and growing talent, our resident Grimehead Edward Burrell got in touch with Sickers to learn about him and his craft:

So us a little about yourself and how you got into music

GS: “I’m originally from Swindon but I’ve back and forth between Swindon and London. Started MCing when I was 19 years old and I really got inspired by old sidewinder tapes. It was a form of music I liked, the energy especially, something I wanted to be a part of. But obviously when I started I was shit. You don’t start off amazing, but yeah, it’s been a journey.”

I remember Ghetts saying something similar about when he started MCing, and he was trying the jungle style of MCing, like Skibadee and that movement, but he said himself he was shit then. He mentions it on a track off Momentum 2 if I remember correctly.

GS: “Wasn’t I on that Mixtape?”

Yeah you were, Death Penalty it was. Do you think KANE did better than you thought it would?

GS: “Put me on map, I’ve spitting KANE on a lot of sets and I never really thought too much of it. I thought I was a good bar, got me a couple reloads but I didn’t think it would launch me on such a platform. But yeah I’m gonna be up and down the country tearing up raves with that one now.”

You see I had a feeling you could make a good tune out of it especially with the “Rhonda” lyric, definitely a reload bar there but on a track it would do some work.

GS: “Yeah? Fair enough, I never truly saw it myself.”

Do you enjoy doing the ‘all-star’ lineup kind of tunes? (Bread, Black Bin Bag) Should we expect more?

GS: “Yeah, I’m doing an all-star remix of KANE, should be out just after this interview. It’s a big line up with Funky Dee, President T, Jaykae and few other names so be sure to check that out.”

What inspired you to do these, because you’ve been on a lot of them as well as created a lot of them?

GS: “It’s because of the sidewinder tapes, back then 8 bar riddims were a big part of grime and I’ve always wanted to be original. Stick to the culture, that’s not something we should let die out.”

So were talking tunes like SKA Riddim? 8 bar riddims were very popular back then so it does make sense and I personally did enjoy those times.

GS: “Yeah exactly like that, as I said it was such an important part of the culture, one of the first tracks I was ever on was an 8 bar riddim so it has been a big thing for me.”

Do you have any producers you have your eye on to collaborate with?

GS: “Well I have a good relationship with Rapture 4D currently”

That was for 200 Bags right? What about Zeph Ellis?

GS: “Yeah of course, Zeph Ellis has done a lot of remixes of my tunes so we’ve done plenty of link ups. I’m comfortable with the those at the moment to be honest, but yeah, I do scout out for riddims I can ride or producers I rate.”

Any in particular?

GS: “A tune with Sir Spyro is a must, he’s doing so much right now.”

Spyro is the GOAT right now that’s the truth. Any MCs you have your eye on to work with?

GS: “Two MCs that I rate as up and comers are Jay Amo and Reece West. I think they’re both sick spitters still.”

What about veterans that you look up to and inspired you? You pay homage to Monkstar on KANE for example.

GS: “Yeah I had to shout out Monkstar, I mention his name in the tune so I got him in the video and yeah I very much rate him. I very much was influenced by Dot Rotten, favourite MC of all time.”

Are we talking Young Dot or Dot Rotten?

GS: “That is a very good question, and I would have to say a bit of both.”

My favourite tune would have to be Shapeshifter.

GS: “Oh you know that one? That’s hard but I’ve always liked his singing stuff. He’s a very good all-rounder, he’s done rap, he makes tunes, he can do everything.”

Ever thought of joining something like Tizzy Gang?

GS: “Truth is I’m a very selfish MC so I feel like I have a lot to offer as myself. So, no I wouldn’t want to join a crew. There a lot of crews such as Tizzy Gang that I rate but I wouldn’t join them. I reckon for an MC like me joining a crew wouldn’t work because…well…. how can I put?”

You’d get drowned out?

GS: “Yeah yeah, “lost in the sauce” is the word I would use for it. There is a new crew about to touch the game but, It’s not my place to announce them. They would want to do that themselves but there are some certified spitters, some of them friends of mine so look out for that.”

How did you meet MIK, Nasty Jack, and other FT/Tizzy Gang members?

GS: “Social networks. I just added them on Facebook and got chatting to them, simple as that. It just makes the whole thing so much easier”

What about upcoming projects? EP? Mixtape?

GS: “I’ve got the “Intercontinental Champ” coming out soon, It’s a wrestling belt, an old WWE belt”

You spoke about that on your 1Xtra appearance, right? On Sian’s studio with JME?

GS: “Yeah, I’m working on that right now, so that EP will done by the end of the month as well as new single getting dropped at the end of the month so yeah. I’ll get those out there and hopefully they will do what they’re meant to do and keep up the work rate.”

Radio sets are a big thing for you, what’s the favourite set you’ve been on?

GS: “Well I’ve got one tonight to be fair so it’s a good question.”

What’s your favourite one so far? So out of all the ones you’ve been on which one have you enjoyed the most?

GS: “Fucking hell that’s a great question, it has to be KANE on Sian’s Studio, that did a lot for me. I had a good go on Rudekid’s show but the problem is not all of them get out for different reasons.”

You’ve been on Rinse FM several times though and they’ve got out there quite well.

GS: “Yeah, I’m on there again tonight (Tuesday) with Slimzee and I’m due to make history. It’s gonna be a big set, penty of other spitters with me so that’s gonna be hard.”

Fair enough, I’ll tune in. Speaking of radio sets you said you were inspired by old sidewinder sets, but what’s the one set that stays in your mind?

GS: “You’ve caught me off guard here bruv, probably an old Roll Deep one, can’t remember a set in particular, but defo one of those.”

How was your Lord of the Mics clash?

GS: “If I didn’t do it I wouldn’t be where I am today. It gives you a chance to get exposure you just have to do something with it. There are so many clashes that have been forgotten now, but my one, I kept the momentum going.”

Yeah I get that, for some MCs an appearance on Lord of the Mics is the highlight of their career.

GS: “Yeah yeah, but as you know Lord of the Mics was only the beginning of Grim Sickers.”

I heard your dub Cillit Bang, with all the stuff about Tez Kid. Would you clash again?

GS: “Yeah I would but only against the right opponent. If it makes sense and the money was right course I would but I’m awkward opponent. I’ll put it in boxing terms, I’m like Tyson Fury, awkward to box, hard to fight.”

Yeah I get that, you never really get cornered. What are the top 3 MCs you would never want to face in a clash?

GS: “D Double E. Ghetts. And JME, you can’t beat someone like JME he’s too much of a nice guy. How can you beef JME?”

You can check out Grim Sickers on Facebook here, and on Soundcloud here. Keep a lookout for the all-star remix of KANE, which should be dropping very soon.

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