Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Slowthai – Doorman

Next up, an artist the BBC scribes call “a combination of grime, rap, dubstep and garage.” But we hear something else…


Joshua Minsoo Kim: Didn’t expect Slowthai to make a post-punk track, let alone one produced by Mura Masa, but “Doorman” is competent enough that it’d convince a first-time listener that this is the primary type of music these guys make. Alas, this doesn’t have the provocative lyrics or the lightning-in-a-bottle energy needed to sell this as something beyond a fun novelty.

Julian Axelrod: Slowthai combines my favorite aspect of grime (the earthy, granular snapshots of working class London) with my least favorite (the oppressively tense M.O.) to create a vivid short story of glue sniffing, pub fights and social media pettiness. It sounds both strikingly familiar — think “Mr. Brightside” by way of Death Grips and Mike Leigh — and like nothing I’ve heard before.

Maxwell Cavaseno: I’d kill for Slowthai’s publicist. Compared to the majority of left-field British hip-hop artists emerging in the last couple years like Lancey Foux, Octavian, Sam Wise, Jesse James Solomon, Little Simz and dozens of harder workers, Slowthai’s gotten away with actively dumber results to much more acclaim. The kid’s management clearly know how to give him tunes that appeal to as many demos as possible, as “Doorman” is a thudding track that’ll easily cross over to festival markets and impress those who’ve copped Sleaford Mods or Young Fathers albums. But his delivery is reductive and cheap even by his usual Dizzee Rascal-aping standards here, and after a minute you’re ready to leave this monotony and aggravation behind for something a little nicer and a little less resembling Slaves.

Ryo Miyauchi: Slowthai’s drummer is a machine, and his backing band is a kit of crunchy electronics controlled by Mura Masa. His cadence and insert of wit takes from a casual listen to rap. Yet “Doorman” is no different from the juvenile punks whose song lengths match the short span of their anger. It’s shallow as youth frustration can be, and I’m sure people who can relate to being blocked on private finstas get more use out of this than me.

Nicholas Donohoue: Slowthai and Mura Masa genuinely did make a nice little hard rocker, and I was really into it. Then I wasn’t, specifically at “you make me melt, sun, ice cream.” On repeat listens, the song is as lyrically mushy, and its punk vibe could have been a great contrast, but the schmaltz broke the effect.

Will Rivitz: If you’ve ever asked for more clash in your electroclash, this one’s for you.

Thomas Inskeep: “Doorman” is like if peak-era Gang of Four appeared today, swallowed a handful of uppers, and rapped. Which is a recommendation. 

Katherine St Asaph: I wouldn’t be upset if an entire subgenre — post-punk grime? — arose patterned after this track. I almost suspect it already is, or has.

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