- "'Upstart' is for everyone who hates the fake shit, the crass commercial crapola, the fucked-up state of everything. It's pyrotechnic protest music for the hip at heart." This might be classic Goldie—verbose, unfettered—but you can't help but think that he's shot himself in the foot with this press release. Would "God Save The Queen" have riled up so many people if Johnny Rotten had divulged its barbed message beforehand? Probably not. The power of a great protest song is that the music speaks for itself.
"Upstart (Road Trip)" is a collaboration between two artists who, for all the transgressive nature of their early output, are now firmly established within mainstream music: Goldie received an MBE in 2016; a year later, Skepta did a a tune with Mick Jagger. "Upstart" was never likely to be as raw as the two of them hoped, though it's not a bad record. Goldie's 140-BPM breakbeat, built from live drums and embellished with ghostly strings, hits hard, while Skepta's flow is typically sharp and fluid, if lacking in bite.
By contrast, "Poisonous Darts," a collaboration between Goldie, newcomer Fraims and the veteran MC DRS, is all about the vocal, with DRS's Northern twang and dark poetry ("Ghost in the mind of a martian / trapped in the body of a Spartan") giving the track its edge. The instrumental trumps "Upstart (Road Trip)," too, as darting drums barrel beneath horn-like sirens and the occasional stroke of what sounds like a sitar. It isn't going to set the world on fire, but then no one said it would.
A1 Goldie & Skepta - Upstart (Road Trip)
A2 Goldie & Skepta - Upstart (Road Trip) (Instrumental)
B1 Goldie & Fraims feat. DRS - Poisonous Darts
B2 Goldie & Fraims feat. DRS - Poisonous Darts (Instrumental)