Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
I noticed the buzz around Ramz’s debut single Barking before Christmas, and included it in my Future Hits playlist, but it was still a shock to check the official charts for the first time this year and discover it had already reached the top five. Now that even my mum knows who Stormzy is, there’s no denying grime has gone mainstream, but what Barking demonstrates is that there’s a fanbase large and connected enough to propel a track by a brand new artist to the top in a short space of time. The fact that Ramz got a major label deal without having a large existing following is another telling sign about how the genre is being perceived, and the money labels expect to make from it. Polydor saw potential, and decided to take a chance. Like Not3sand Dave, Ramz (aka Ramone Rochester) is a young, charismatic performer who blends rapping and singing in a distinctly British style. His subject matter is everyday life, with a good dose of humour and cheeky references – there’s even a line in Barking about Hannah Montana-era Miley Cyrus. He ticks every box for the new age of accessible grime, which makes his speedy rise make total sense.