Over the last few days, a video uploaded to Instagram by boxer Gervonta Davis has gone viral. What has attracted so much attention from fans and musicians alike, is not that Davis’ companion for a late night run is the Toronto Superstar Drake, but rumours that the accompanying audio to the video was a snippet of a latest unreleased track from the artist.
For those familiar with UK dance music heritage, there came a greater surprise, as it seemed that Drake’s trademark brags and barbs overlay UK producer Peverelist’s dubstep classic “Roll With The Punches”. This was later confirmed in a tweet by Oneman, whom claimed that the producer Neenyo, a frequent collaborator with Drake, had heard him playing the track on his Rinse FM show, before requesting an ID and crafting it into a beat for the OVO rappper.
As a result, we thought there’d be no better track of the day than the seminal original, which went onto become a classic of the dubstep genre, at a time when Drake was still best known for performing in the teen hit Degrassi. The fact that the original is being remixed for one of the world’s current largest artists in terms of appeal and influence 10 years on from its original release is testament to the strength of its production.
Although based in Bristol, Peverelist was partly responsible for dubstep’s elevation and success, infusing the city’s rich Soundsystem culture with the sound that was coming out of South London at the time. “Roll With The Punches” is a product of that amalgamation, with its melancholic lead and sparse dum beats helping to create an eery, foreboding atmosphere before the genre’s quintessential bass kicks in. One of the reasons for the track’s position as a classic of the genre, can be argued to be Peverelist’s decision to constrain the use of the bass, harnessing its subtleties, rather than letting it dominate, thus presenting a more melodic facet of the genre. Whilst Peverelist has moved away from producing pure dubstep tracks, one can still hear the genre’s influences on the distinct techno that he and the rest of the Livity Sound crew continue to put out today.
With regards to Drake’s recent relationship with the song, it is intriguing to know how closely his own track will follow the original, whether it will keep its dubstep core or incorporate elements of it into a glossy, commercialised sound. Regardless of this, we hope Peverelist gets the plaudits he deserves, and that some of those that are consequently exposed to dubstep for the first time, are drawn to explore more of the classic sound. This may help to allay the common misperceptions of the genre away from its commercialised bastardisation achieved by those such as Skrillex.