Updated: May 28, 2020
'Nah man's not famous', well maybe you should be, Jim...
We've been a huge fan of JimiDakilla since he hit our radar back at the end of 2019; naturally bringing Ted Loco's distinctive beats and unforgettable tag to the table with him. Jim is one of the realist lyricists coming up in the scene right now, hosting a huge range of capabilities, he can flex effortlessly over anything Ted sends his direction. Knowing how flexible both these artists can be, we were eagerly anticipating their debut E.P.
Previously, Jimi and Ted have worked together through their Derby rap collective 'Local Geezers' producing some really interesting music and podcast episodes that are well worth checking out (shoutout Wiz!). The group also have an E.P scheduled for this summer, so keep an eye out for that too. However, it was this collaborative tape exclusively produced by Ted titled 'Cognac Arcade' where Jimi really finds his feet and begins to take full stride.
Released back in February, the 19-minute project has since only solidified our opinion that Jimi and Ted are next up to take over the scene. The proud east-midland lads have headed for a varied style throughout the album, featuring some seriously talented guests in Skinny Malone, Ot Lz and KC.
Speaking to UK Underground Rap, JimiDaKilla told us;
''The general response was exceptional, I think we impressed people with the overall package - from the music itself, to how it looked visually. Also the two listening parties in Derby and London, it's not often that Derby mandem fill a room in London for an EP launch. A little frustrating that the lockdown effected radio appearances and live performances but it is what it is.''
The opening track has an almost West-coast feel with slight funk and soul influences in the production. Jimi lays down a catchy hook to compliment his playful, and honest verses that really carry the project. The metaphors and punchlines are just an insight into one of his strong points that we hear throughout the whole tape.
This feel-good vibe is continued into the second track 'Wasted in Barcelona' which is a personal favourite of mine. The song features an equally appropriate chorus, again, courtesy of Jimi and his wordplay, his tone definitely becomes more assertive at this point. I love how Jimi makes the most of his accent to enunciate some words that conventionally wouldn't rhyme together so well and make them sound so smooth. For example, in the second verse Jimi painlessly rhymes 'dollar' with 'follow' without compromising his flow or sound at all. Ot Lz comes through to wrap the track up with a boastful and self-assured verse that's bursting with rhymes too.
As we arrive at 'Warning', the tone of the project switches up dramatically. Ted delves into a lot darker beat that is almost Skepta-esque in its execution. It really catches you off guard in a positive way. This is the track for the UK rap fans following the first couple of more Hip-Hop oriented tracks and injects some tempo into the experience. Jimi focuses on matching the impactful change up as he delivers his lyrics via an intricate and precise flow; landing each rhyme with a hammer fist. Skinny launches into his verse catching every beat with intricately placed double entendres and technical rhymes. This actually dropped as a single a few days prior to the album's release, we knew from this, Jimi's and Skinny's lyrical abilities are undisputed.
The chemistry between all 3 artists really stands out on the 4th track, 'Rebel'. Ted really is uncompromising in being defined to a singular genre or sound. Definitely the track to smoke to, with more self-examining bars from Jimi and an almost RnB feel with KCs melody-driven hook.
'Cognac Arcade' really feels like the crown jewel of the album. Jimi just takes the beat in his stride (quite literally from the visuals too) not rushing a single bar, each sentence ending with an impact. Jimi and Ted really came together on this joint. The visuals are a mash-up for this song with an eerie switch up back to the opening track 'This One's For'. A real clean production of the video too and I love the look Rufus Wilson has pulled off here.
The final track begins with a relatable speech about falling in love with a random person you see in public when the reality is you 'may never see that person again'.
After Jim admits this happens to him 'all the time', he begins to fall into spitting, flattering bars, reciting a conversation between him and a stranger on a train ride. As they fascinate about the future and discuss various scenarios, the journey has to be cut short as Jimi's carriage rolls into his hometown of Derby to bring the album to a calming close.
When speaking with UKUR, Jimi told us how things had changed for him since releasing 'Cognac Arcade':
''Since Cognac Arcade, a lot of people have taken me more seriously as a solo artist. Previously, people knew me for the projects I had released with Local Geezers so it's cool that people can see me in a different light now.'' - JimiDaKilla
We are super excited to see what JimiDaKilla and Ted Loco have planned next, big ups you two! We'll be sure to cover the Geezer's E.P come the summer and post anything new from the guys over on our Instagram page and here on the website.
Words by: Jack Slade
Photography by: Wesley Morgan (@wjnmorgan)