Lots of lyric quoting without a repeat is a good sign…
Katie Gill: Nadia Rose starts “Skwod” off with two promises: she’s here to kill them with flows, and some punchlines that go over your head. While I’m not sure she achieves the second, she more than fulfills her first promise. The end of the second verse has Rose spitting verses at a rapid-fire rate, showing off how damn talented she is. I really hope we see more of her around the Jukebox because even if her next singles are half as good as this one, it’ll still be impressive.
Will Rivitz: A few weeks back, Pitchfork ran a feature on the women blowing up in the grime scene, asking why they hadn’t breached the scene’s upper echelons. I don’t know if “Skwod” will be the song to resolve that gripe, but I certainly hope it is — its instrumental is quintessential Eskibeat, melding early-period Hyperdub and 8-bit flourishes, and its vocals are straight fire, Nadia Rose swaggering like a kingpin with the flow to match. This shit bangs.
Alfred Soto: “Excuse me, ma’am, how’d you get on the premises?” — I might ask Nadia Rose the same question. Over a vintage garage beat, Rose includes enough snarl boasts to give serious pause to the late ’90s American R&B strings.
Katherine St Asaph: A baroque synth weave like the opening of “The Boy Is Mine”; given the wry brag that follows, perhaps the better simile is like rolling out a red carpet.
Iain Mew: Nadia Rose delivers on the promised punchlines without the track feeling tilted towards them, she shows an effortless change of speed, and she turns a potentially cold and minimal production into something fitting for a group celebration. The low-key confidence of it all would be impressive even for someone more established.
Natasha Genet Avery: “Guess who’s baaack?,” Nadia taunts — a delightfully bold intro for a young up-and-coming rapper. From the crisp percussion to the grime synth-string stabs, the production matches Nadia’s boundless energy and is the perfect backdrop for her playful eccentricity. And Nadia’s squad highlights female friendship without the tedious posturing of #squadgoals: I love the loyalty in “cause if my bitches need me there/well I’m coming” and the familiarity of taking pics pre-clubbing “if the lighting’s good.”
Will Adams: Nadia Rose is such a convincing and deft performer that when she taunts me with lines like “I’m your worst nightmare stood over your bed,” I have to stop myself from looking behind me. The production — a flurry of strings, wide bass and occasional textured synths — can barely keep up.
Edward Okulicz: Her rhymes, not just the words she chooses to end them, but her actual compositions, are creative, clever and tough at the same time. The grime backing has fantastic ominous strings that remind me of “In Da Club.” There’s a tonne more personality than can really fit in three minutes here — please let this be just the start because when she learns how to craft a chorus on par with the rest she will be something brilliant on the promise of this.
Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Lord knows what comes after this for Rose — the future appears bright, but the stop-start nature of UK hip-hop chart success, even in the current boom period, comes tinged with uncertainty. She’s done well with “Skwod,” though, an almost perfect radio single that succinctly details her attitude, pop nous and wordplay in a cool (but not too cool) package.