Ed Sheeran - No 5 Collaborations Project [Review]

Many names have been thrown up in “blow in 2011”, but if there’s going to be one genuine name that will take 2011 by storm, it’s Ed Sheeran. Grime fans will remember him from his features with Slix on Down Volume 2 as well as the Daddy’s Home EP. Ed has put together a collaboration EP containing all the finest names in Grime. You’ve heard the tracks from P Money and Wiley, but there’s a lot more to come…

2010 saw Ed Sheeran put out two EPs as well as a live DVD and CD combination. Ed also tore up many stages throughout the year, twice being the I Luv Live stage where he won many fans during those nights. The young artist from Suffolk recently signed to Atlantic Records which shows the talent the 19 year old possesses.

Grime has lacked some deep and meaningful tracks as of recent. There hasn’t been many where the artists sit back and go into depth about a certain situation. Ed Sheeran has changed that with this EP. Ed has brought the best out of many artists with the No 5 Collaborations Project, most noticeably Wiley.

The opening track features on of the most prolific names of 2010, Devlin. Initially we all heard of the collaboration when SB.TV caught up with the duo backstage at Example’s tour. The pair laid down a few lyrics from the track and the hype hasn’t died down since then. Dagenham’s Devlin throughout talks about touring due to his commercial success last year, as well this, Devz writes about barely having a minute to sleep. It seems 2011 won’t be a year that Devlin slows down. “I’ve hardly changed my bed sheets over the past twelve month ‘cos I haven’t slept in them”.

The Godfather of Grime put out a huge amount of music in 2010, but nothing really had any longevity to it. A big of example of this being the Zip Files. Wiley put out many throw-away tracks, we didn’t hear anything that we could play in a few years’ time and it’ll still sound fresh. The Wiley and Ed Sheeran track You has to be one of Wiley’s finest tracks in a long while. The Roll Deep creator sat down to write lyrics regarding his mother as well as his grandmother. Ed Sheeran compliments Wills deep and meaningful lyrics with his own throughout the chorus. “You had to replace my Mum, Dad, two parents in one, I know your proud staring at your grandson”.

Family was the first track to be leaked from the No 5 Collaborations Project. Over 100k YouTube hits later and the Dubstep influenced track has been released. P Money was that guy in Grime in 2010. His Dubstep tracks Sweet Shop and Slang Like This saw his name shoot sky high. Every Grime artist on the EP put out their most meaningful lyrics with the help of Ed Sheeran and Jake Gosling, P Money’s track isn’t any different. Family is probably the most hard-hitting track of the release. The OGz frontman wrote about his crash which happened last year and goes into the finer details of skidding off the road. A video has been shot for this track, so keep an eye out.

One of the last tracks to be recorded for the release was Radio featuring JME. The Boy Better Know CEO chose the subject of radio airplay for his track. “Are you gonna play me though? This song was never mean’t for the radio”. JME ventures his frustration of one time regularly getting span on the airwaves with music from the heart, which as we all know, isn’t required nowadays. Get an electro beat, a female vocalist and a few catchy lyrics and it’s a hit.

Little Lady see’s Hip-Hop’per Mikill Pane re-write the track the A Team. Originally released on the Loose Change EP one month short of a year ago. Ed wrote the track about a girl he met at a train station, Mikill changed it up to about a teenage girl who got pimped out by her uncle. Not the nicest situation to talk about, but the descriptive lyrics by Pane of the story does the original track justice. Some say better than the original in fact…

“Pain ain’t the emotion I wanna feel, but I’m thriving off it”. Yet again it’s another strong and powerful chorus from Ed Sheeran as Ghetts talks about hailing from Newham. The former Movement crew member touches upon getting his door kicked off by the police and wanting to prove his not another statistic in the system. G-H goes onto say how despite the set-back he’s not going to give up. “Nah I just wanna live my life, but you don’t wanna see this guy survive…”

Nightmare is the only track on the EP to have more than one feature. Random Impulse, Sway and Wretch 32 will all have a huge year in their own respective rights. Impulse has been tipped to do top things with his refixes. Sway continues to work with Akon. As for Wretch 32, he’s had the backing of both the BBC and MTV. Nightmares as you can guess can only be about one subject. Whilst many dream about reaching the top, whilst you’re close to it you can also have the fear of failing. “I’m scared to sink ‘cos my nightmare of failing” – Random Impulse.

Dot Rotten’s track will be the track that’ll hit many listeners hard. Goodbye to You is one of those tracks that you really need to sit in silence and concentrate on to appreciate it. Dot pours out his emotions of losing his Grandmother and not getting the chance to say goodbye. If you’ve ever lost a loved one, be aware, you may shed a tear whilst listening. This is my personal favourite off the EP.

It’s way too early yet to say it’s one of the best releases of 2011 as we’re not even two weeks in yet. But simply, it is. Ed Sheeran has shown his genuine love for Grime whilst bringing the best out of every artist featured. Ed’s so good, he just signed to Atlantic Records.

Purchase the No 5 Collaborations Project digitally via iTunes here, or if you want the CD, via Ed’s website here.

Words by Graeme Day

Photography by Kids of the Underground (P Money / Dot Rotten & Ghetts) & Unknown photography (Devlin)