Slim Set bring grime to Sydney with ‘Cooked’
There’s a quiet revolution bubbling away in Australian hip-hop right now, as emerging artists diversify the look and sound of the genre in this country. Add to that ever-growing list of artists contributing to that movement Western Sydney duo, SLIM SET (Rapper Dev and DJ/Producer Atro).
What sets Slim Set apart in this contemporary landscape is their noticeable grime influences. Taking that genre’s lyrical focus on documenting the day-to-day life of living in London, the duo applies that to millennial life in Western Sydney whilst always, refreshingly, being sure to engage in respectful cultural exchange rather than appropriation.
They continue to stake their claim as a vital new voice in Australian hip-hop on the recently released ‘Cooked’, the second single to come from their upcoming sophomore EP, Feed, following on from the previously released ‘Lazy’.
Co-directed by Sejon Im and Slim Set themselves, the video depicts scenes from the everyday lives of the duo – they cycle through the streets of Parramatta, they order snack packs and cut their hair, they hang out in parks, in each other’s backyards, out the front of the Peter Wynn store. These everyday, seemingly mundane scenes are imbued with a higher sense of life and energy through the sheer presence of the duo and their performances.
The track itself features a truly insane beat built from some piercing, syncopated percussion, subterranean bass, atmospheric chopped vocal samples, and that tinny, kind of noticeably artificial MIDI brass sound characteristic of grime. If that wasn’t enough, DJ Atro’s production also seamlessly incorporates the kind of experimental electronic sounds that you’d expect to hear from a SOPHIE production. (At one point, emcee Dev even gives an underhanded shout-out to Flume: “Dead set, wrecking this Atro tune / don’t give a fuck if you’re name is Flume / Cause another white boy could’ve made it too”).
Dev’s lyrics, meanwhile, dart between being self-deprecating as he claims that “Parra’s next top model is me,” satirical as he shouts-out “gronks at the back of the doof,” and completely serious as he reps his hometown, but they’re constantly infused with a high-energy personality and a hyperactive flow. The fact that Dev can sit so smoothly over such a complex beat, twisting and weaving his bars into the instrumental, is testament to their cohesion as a duo.
It’s not hard to see why Slim Set are quickly gaining a rep for being such a singular – and vital – talent in Australia’s emerging hip-hop scene.
Feed is out January 23rd – you can preorder it through Slim Set’s Bandcamp here.
WORDS BY KYLE FENSOM
IMAGE: KRISTINA YENKO