FORE NOTE: Anyone else think this Maverick Sabre fella appears to have the same singing technique as Aiden Grimshaw?
So, the gloves are now off, Pro Green (I hope this doesn’t make him sound like an eco-warrior) is getting down with the nitty gritty of his music career, and by that I mean fourth single. After achieving UK Chart success via IN-XS and The S.O.S. Band, then calling Katie Price a ‘Monster’ in his third single, Pro Green’s got a lot celebrate. He’s collaborated with big British names like Lily Allen, Adele (no, really) and Example; already been signed up for a second album under the working title of ‘The Myth’, and generally got up the nose of anyone who used to dance to either of the hits his first two singles sampled.
So, next on the helium-voiced rapper’s agenda is to prove to his underground fans he’s not a – for want of a better, less overused label -complete sell-out. And he gives us ‘Jungle’, a song clearly aimed away from the mainstream and towards the people who liked him for his earlier material such as ‘Upper Clapton Dance’ and ‘Don’t Let Go’. It’s quite a clever game he’s played actually: he’s released popular, mainstream-aimed songs to fortify his name as he stormed through the commercial rap circuit, and now’s he’s releasing the non-commercial material to back up his more novelty hits and prove he can really rap about something meaningful.
‘Jungle’ is a kitchen sink drama in song form – applying a metaphorical jungle to describe what’s it’s like to “spend the night round here”. “Out here” of course, is Pro Green’s place of birth: Hackney. “We don’t applaud success/We just clap at tools”, he raps in his first verse, demonstrating the hostility and dangerous streets of the place he grew up. He spares no apologies for the listener as they’re hit with realism after realism – “It’s blitz amidst the strife here/Got kids with stick and knives here” and “Violence is the only you can settle things”, add some slack-jawed warbling from Maverick, and you’ve got yourself an underground hit.
I do admire the task he’s set himself and how he’s opted to concern himself with something other than his own success and his CD sales, and speaking from a critically non-commercial point of view, he’s a master at work, if not a little pedestrian with his rapping, he’s got some nifty lyricism and a production courtesy of grime producer True Tiger, who even get’s his own name-check towards the song’s end. How nice.
Here’s the video. Apparently, Pro Green asked locals rather than actors to feature in the video to make it “as authentic and true-to-life as possible”.
‘Jungle’ isn’t as good as some of his earliest material, but it’ll earn the credibility he’s been after. Ever since he and the incredibly talented Ed Drewett started wondering about in a house party yearning for his girl to IN-XS’ trademark sample, he’s been branded a novelty act by many. Thankfully this may open people’s eyes to his actual talents, although if he’d gone a little more commercial with the song I could see it being even more successful bid for credibility for him.
Rating: 3.0 STARS
Download: January 3, 2011 (OUT NOW)
Featured Album: ‘Alive Till I’m Dead’