Let me keep it 100 from the jump. I wasn’t aware of Syer B’s past prior to the collaborative EP with Devlin, last year. I came into grime in 2010 and stuck to likes of Chip, Marvell and Ghetts. I was more into Movement and BBK than Roll Deep. I know the hits. I know Wiley. I know some of the other stars but there’s probably more MCs that I don’t know have heritage from Roll Deep.
With the release of Fire x Frost, this is my first real introduction to Syer Bars from the DagNam village. Through that lens, first impressions are incredible. Its easy to draw comparisons to Devlin with the style of rhyme schemes Syer showcases, but there’s further comparisons to be made to the likes of Crooked I and newcomers like Just B.
Its these rapid fire rhyme schemes which draw you into Fire x Frost EP, but its the content within the lyrics which leave a lasting impression. The whole of the double EP is more fitting to the latter half of its title, perfect for the recent freezing temperatures.
The eight-track opus is genuinely outstanding from start to finish. Its not your run-of-the-mill grime project. Although there are familiar faces handling production including J Beatz and Filthy Gears, there’s more depth to Fire x Frost than we’re used to hearing on 140 bpm.
Although there are increasingly more examples of mature music being produced from grime MCs, the genre is more synonymous with hype tunes. Bars that artists can spray to get reloads on radio sets are more popular than introspective inspections of self. Syer subverts this on Fire x Frost.
Go Deep in particular is phenomenal. Powerful even. I don’t know that I’ve heard a song quite depict my connection to music with such precision. Macklemore’s “A kid with some headphones covering his ears / Walking ’round a hallway, dreaming of ideas / Find himself in the sound ’cause music is a mirror” might be the closest example but thats just a small part of Excavate.
Elsewhere Blessed Or Cursed tackles alcoholism and Everywhere I Look examines the loss of Syer’s mother. Devlin pops up on EP closer Madman Skills adding excitement for their follow-up collaborative effort. The Jammz assisted So Wait is a record that will probably be a favourite for most looking for braggadocios bars, and I wouldn’t mind a remix featuring P Money and Frisco if anyone’s asking.
Writing this review a month after release isn’t ideal but it does allow me to confidently say it was the best drop from January. I don’t see anything on the horizon beating it either. If Fire x Frost isn’t a top 5 grime release of 2019, we’ll have had a very good year for the genre. Now, its time for me to go and dig into Syer’s back catalogue to find what I’ve been missing out on all these years.