"Vol 1" may be optimistic; in spite of having been a presence on the UK music scene for half a decade now, grime has yet to make a convincing crossover into mainstream pop, the way American hip-hop has come to dominate popular music culture. This compilation of old and new cuts serves largely to remind one of how genre stars such as So Solid Crew, Dizzee Rascal and even the hugely hyped Ms Dynamite - represented here by "Envy", "I Luv U" and Sticky's "Booo!" respectively - have failed to capitalise on initial chart incursions. Part of the problem is the bogus anger and antagonism of many performers, a syndrome sharply observed by JME in "Serious", his update of Maxwell D's dancehall/garage stepper from 2000, where he professes bemusement about an MC who, even though "it's his birthday/ spits lyrics like it's the worst day". Not all Roll Deep alumni are thus afflicted: Kano's "Boys Love Girls" follows Dizzee in offering an amusing update of the current state of play in the battle of the sexes, and there's an engagingly squeaky charm to Stush's "Dollar Sign" that bodes well for her/their future.
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