British rap, drill and grime have long taken the United Kingdom by storm. More recently, these trap-inspired genres have spread across the pond and across the world, amassing an ever-growing and eager fanbase. Pa Salieu, one of the up-and-coming rappers in the United Kingdom, is well on his way to rival the likes of grime legends Skepta and Stormzy. His 2020 mixtape, Send Them to Coventry, set high expectations, and his latest single, “Glidin’,” pretty much lives up to the hype. Released June 3, “Glidin’” features an unlikely but dynamic collaboration with British rapper Slowthai and a suave beat that manages to stand out among his fellow grime artists.
Salieu’s incorporation of his Gambian heritage is a driving force behind the single; it’s woven into the drum-heavy rhythm and richer than the usual rawness of grime and drill. The rapper’s delivery flows in tune with the catchy beat. For listeners new to the genre, it may take a few listens to appreciate the full bop-worthy potential of the song, but once there, it’ll be difficult to get the commanding beat out of your head.
That’s not to say “Glidin’” is simply a laid-back dance number; it goes hard when it needs to. “Any kinda smoke, man glidin’, glidin’,” Pa Salieu coolly raps to the ominous yet grooving instrumentals. His tone is calm and calculated but has an assertive undercurrent that perfectly matches the energy of the backing sounds.
Slowthai, on the other hand, delivers his verse with the fiery vivacity he normally brings to his own songs. It works surprisingly well on “Glidin’,” despite being out of Slowthai’s comfort zone. But then again, he isn’t one to shy away from new, potentially risky opportunities. “Always been a worker, with a likkle flavour,” raps Slowthai, a snarky line that’s sure to rile up the pits when performed live.
What truly makes “Glidin’” stand out is the flow between Salieu and Slowthai. The two play off of one another effortlessly, and Slowthai’s single verse doesn’t sound like it was dropped randomly in the middle of the song, which unfortunately has happened to him on previous collaborations. For Slowthai especially, who usually sticks to punk-tinged hip hop, “Glidin’” is a welcome deviation for him into the more culturally and rhythmically diverse realm of the U.K. rap scene.
If Slowthai’s perfect feature wasn’t surprising enough, “Glidin’” also has a hefty share of middle English satire that goes beyond just chronicling Salieu’s life on the streets of England. Lyrics such as “Stop trappin’, go get a day job and dat, easy like dat” and “Invest in some lands and shit” give the song an added layer of personality and relatability apart from the common themes of fights, gang conflicts and money Salieu raps about in the chorus and verses. Plus, a good laugh during an upbeat song always lifts one’s mood.
Packed with iconic Afro-British colloquialisms, “Glidin’” is a product of the cultures that define Salieu. From the self-assured vibe to the preachings for listeners to love themselves, “Glidin’” is a song made for the clubs and for the shows. While the song may not be Pa Salieu’s strongest work, it just proves he has plenty of room for growth and great music for fans to look forward to in the future.