Two years ago, If you’d have told me that one of my favourite ever albums would end up being a rap album, i’d have probably laughed. However that is just what Integrity by JME has become.
I should mention early on that I don’t really have any knowledge of rap music in general; only what I’ve picked up over my past 12 months or so of listening to it. But it really has grown on me, and JME’s latest album was a real gateway drug.
The first thing that stood out to me about JME was his interesting ways of writing and forming rhymes. He has a real talent for writing with clever, and sometimes even humorous, lines. The album’s second track, “96 Fuckries” has one of my favourite verses in:
I roll with Aaron and Aaron
Frequently I get stopped by the gammon
Because my whip looks like it should be owned by Jeremy Clarkson or Richard Hammond
Feds pull me like I’m a drug baron
Chatting bare shit, can’t understand ’em
In the stereo I got Krept & Konan
In the boot I got my creps and my Canon
I don’t own a BlackBerry
Ask for my pin and get slapped heavy
Call me a rude kid or a maniac but beats?
I ain’t sharing ’em like Teddy
from 96 Fuckries by JME
Just to point out one of the cleverest parts of that song above, specifically in the last two lines: “Call me a rude kid or a maniac but beats? I ain’t sharing ’em like Teddy”. A mate at work explained to me: Teddy Sheringham is a football player (I aint “Sheringham” liked Teddy). Get it? Such clever word play and the album Integrity is littered with clever word play like that.
For example, in one of the album’s later songs “Don’t @ Me”, featured guest - and JME’s brother - Skepta raps the following:
Why you wanna diss man online then say “hi” later
I already said don’t waste my time
Now I’ve gotta tell ’em don’t waste my data
I don’t wanna write a diss track for an MC
Nah, I don’t wanna waste my paper
from Don’t @ Me
In fact every line on this album is expertly written and performed by both JME and the guests featured throughout.
“Integrity” also has featured a host of other great rappers from the same grime scene. Jammer; D Double E; Big Narstie; Skepta and Giggs to name a few.
Arguably the album’s biggest song was the one that Giggs features on - “Man Don’t Care”. I say featured, but I think the split is pretty much 50/50 between the two of them. I actually heard JME speak in an interview recently about how “Man Don’t Care” came to be finished. I find it interesting hearing about how great songs and albums came to be.
Skepta, as mentioned before, is actually featured on two of the album’s songs, “Don’t @ me”, as mentioned above, and “Amen”. And he kills it on both.
Big Narstie is always great to listen to, whether giving advice as Uncle Pain or killing it on Fire in the booth. On “Integrity” he features on the track “Break You Down” and he doesn’t disappoint. He gives it the gusto that any fan of Narstie’s would expect from him.
The closing song, which is also the title track, “Integrity” is my favourite song on the album. This song is as great an introduction as any to JME’s music - you’ll be introduced to his skill as a writer, rapper, producer and his ability to weave his sense of humour through his lyrics. The guy absolutely nails it on every song I hear him on and I’ve heard the song “Integrity” so many times now that I can almost lip-sync it perfectly.