Words: James Keith

Widely (and correctly) held up as the UK’s answer to Timbaland, Lewisham-born DaVinChe found success early and instead of cashing in, sagely leveraged that for a long, fruitful and, most importantly, credible career. His biggest wins (so far) came in the mid-to-late 2000s, crafting era-defining instrumentals for grime’s top tier names, most of whom have gone on to conquer the world. Jme, Lethal Bizzle, Kano, D Double E, Scorcher, Tinchy Stryder, Bashy and Wretch 32 have all benefited from DaVinChe’s trademark blend of chugging bass, choppy rhythms and twisted orchestral strings.

While it’s his grime and R&G we revere the most—“Ps & Qs”, “Gotta Man”, “Mic Fight”, “Rider” and “Hood Star” to name just a small handful—DaVinChe has also notched up credits in the realms of UK funky, R&B, house and garage. The fact that he’s lent his skills to everyone from Scorcher and Crazy Titch to Estelle and Michelle Gayle is testament to his versatility. Even beyond that, DaVinChe’s prodigious talent has taken him far beyond grime. 2006 alone saw him craft music for an NFL campaign and lend his talents to the BBC for their Urban Classics event—the latter of which saw him team up with jazz musician Jason Yarde and conductor Charles Hazlewood, to lead a 36-piece BBC Concert Orchestra as they blended grime, rap and classical music.

He’s still as underground as he’s ever been though. In 2016, DaVinChe partnered with Nottingham king Mez for the bone-crunching M1 EP, bringing Stormzy and AJ Tracey along for the ride. He’s also provided production to some of the biggest projects in grime’s recent history—P Money’s Live & Direct and Money Over Everyone III, Frisco’s System Killer and Logan Sama’s FABRICLIVE 83, all of which have found worthy places as some of the finest full-lengths in grime history. Not only that, but 2017’s #POWER was a star-studded tour-de-force that set his increasingly polished, yet thoroughly gutter, production style with some of the modern era’s biggest stars like Jammz, Big Tobz, Elf Kid, Merky Ace and Tre Mission, Sam Sure, and Capo Lee.

As for the future, DaVinChe’s creative vigour seems to be more potent than ever, producing a constant stream of riddims while still finding time to nurture young talent. Through his Dirty Canvas outlet, the South London hitmaker has found future stars in Cleo Sol and girl band IV Rox, both of whom are making serious inroads into the music industry. It’s also been a couple of years since #POWER dropped, so who knows, maybe a sequel is on its way.

Here are 20 reasons to love DaVinChe.

Posted on October 23, 2019