Canadian producer Vic Grimes, representing the Crate Divizion crew, releases ‘Sneaky Beats’, a fifteen track beat-tape that showcases his jazzy, sample-based productions, which have a vintage style, and sound like a silky spy-themed soundtrack to a grittier James Bond, drinking a brandy over the more traditional martini’s whilst out in the smokey back streets.
‘Vampires’ is a crisp production with twinkling jazzy piano and a fantastic bass riff. The drums are loud, with a sharp open hi-hat and punchy kick drum that hold the beat together flawlessly. The brass, the bassline, the eclectic sample-based production; Vic Grimes puts it all on display on the brilliant ‘Causin’ Ruckus’. The Canadian beatsmith has solidified a unique, recognisable style, and ‘Sneaky Beats’ is an excellent place to start if you’re not already familiar.
Grimes’ skill manifests itself not only in dope beats; ‘Sneaky Beats’ plays out as a really cohesive listen, and it’s a very well put-together tape. ‘Detectives’ continues the spy-esque hip-hop soundtrack with a simplistic production, and the tight, jazz snare takes it to that next level. ‘Dastardly’, although one of the shorter cuts on here, is also one of my favourites. The 50s jazz flips, the cartoonish sound effects and the pure groove to Grimes’ production here are a winning formula.
‘Smoke & Mirrors’ is a classy, tasteful jazz-influenced cut, and the sheer amount of dope beats on here are a testament to Vic’s consistency. Tracks like ‘Piano Mafia’ are prime examples of how the CDVZ beat-maker packs his production’s with character and personality; the twinkly keys, crisp and gritty drums and ingenious brass samples give off an infectious, encapsulating vibe that keeps you hooked from start to finish.
The tense ‘Crime Everywhere’ is fantastic (it was originally used on Grimes and PhybaOptikz’s recently released ‘Stickup On The 22nd Floor’ project); the original track is one of my favourite songs of last year, and the beat is just as dope as a standalone instrumental. ‘Burnin’ Loosies’ too is layered, subtle and skilfully composed. The back end of ‘Sneaky Beats’ gives us a prolific stream of dope cuts; ‘Hammers’ is nice, and it closes out on ‘Goon Theme Music’, which again shows Grimes’ terrific chops and crisp end results.
So, all in all, ‘Sneaky Beats’ is a must-have. The Crate Divizion family have a vault of quality releases, both with vocals and instrumental, and Vic Grimes has once again demonstrated why the clique have such a formidable reputation. With a unique, recognisable sound and style, 2016 is set off in the right way with this one.
By Sam Bennett