We’ve been waiting ever since Fred again..‘s viral Boiler Room set last summer for the 140 slapper of the century, and now the wait is over with the release of […]
We’ve been waiting ever since Fred again..‘s viral Boiler Room set last summer for the 140 slapper of the century, and now the wait is over with the release of “Rumble” – a monster collaboration between Skrillex, Fred again.., and Flowdan (featuring additional vocals from Elley Duhé).
We all know Skrillex, who is often credited for the birth of “Brostep” and has been at the top of his field since his Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites LP was released in 2010. He also just teased two upcoming albums that he plans to release, with another collaborative single with Trippie Redd and PinkPanthress dropping tomorrow.
Fred again.. has been prolific behind the scenes for years, earning production and writing credits on chart-topping hits ever since his apprenticeship with ambient legend Brian Eno as a teen, but has recently blown up in his own right, releasing a full-length album titled Actual Life 3 in 2022 and securing collaborations with artists like Swedish House Mafia and… well, Skrillex.
Flowdan is a prolific Grime MC and record producer whose tracks are often remixed by UK Dubstep royalty like Loefah and J.Sparrow, and who has recently worked with Zeds Dead and Subtronics on “Gassed Up” from Subtronics’ Fractals LP. Elley Duhé is best known for Zedd‘s “Happy Now” and “Middle of the Night,” which was released in 2020 but went viral on Tik Tok in 2022.
I can’t overstate how huge this song is from a cultural standpoint. If you’ve seen the YouTube documentary “All My Homies Hate Skrillex” then you know that in the 140 / UK Dubstep community there was a great sense of bitterness toward the Metal-esque energy and “transformer” bass design of Skrillex’s “Brostep” style after Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites exploded and assumed the mantle of what most people considered “dubstep,” leaving the original brooding, introspective, dark London sound – pioneered by artists like Coki, Benga, Skream, Burial, and even James Blake – in the dust.
Seeing Skrillex not only bring the sound back toward its roots, but partnering with a beloved and explosive UK producer and an East London Grime MC to do so, is a massive paradigm shift that 1. could either have a controversial impact or a cathartic one among the original dubstep community on the British Isles, and 2. possibly bring global attention to the 140 community and could even propel some of its new talent (like Hamdi) and OG artists to higher renown on the world stage. We’ll just have to see how everything plays out. But in the meantime, let’s take a listen to the massive new collab.
It kicks off with a clicking percussion to set the tone, a subpattern teasing the energy, and Elley Duhé’s pitched-up vocals. The minimal intro leads to an explosive verse, with tight, snappy drums, a sub-heavy machine-gun bassline, and Flowdan’s spectacular vocals. Immediate spinback. This thing is a beast, no matter how you look at it. The chorus chops up the bassline before dropping back into an instrumental verse with added layers on the bassline. A breakdown section features melodic vocals from Elley Duhé, a world percussion section, and other effects and explodes back into the original verse. The next chorus leads into a dancehall buildup, then we’re back into the heavy instrumental section. A melodic, Caribbean-sounding outro closes things out.
It really is wild how these artists are able to create a smash hit with all of the elements that have stayed underground for so long. I believe there are two reasons for this. The first is name recognition: Skrillex is a global sensation, working with the likes of Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Elle Goulding, and achieved legendary status in the electronic world, Fred again.. has been exploding on the world stage over the last year for his “Future Garage” sound, and Flowdan is a household name in the Grime scene and in the 140 / UK Dubstep community. The other is that they are able to do so much, so well, with so little. They are all three amazing artists and know exactly what will work for a track like this. The machine-gun bassline is so well crafted, the Flowdan vocals are so hype, and the production and songwriting quality across the board is insane and geared to create high energy. I love this track, and though it might end up being overplayed, let’s all enjoy it while it’s fresh!
What did you think of “Rumble” from Skrillex, Fred again.., and Flowdan? What impact will it have on the scene? Will it catapult 140 / UK Dubstep into the global spotlight? Or will it just be remembered as that song that we hear too many times at every show and festival for the next year? Over/under one hundred Soundcloud remixes? Get the conversation started in the comments or on our social media (linked below).