Understandably, many of us can’t hear the words Craig David without bringing to mind loopy body transformations or bursting out with Leigh Francis’ rubber-faced, kestrel petting catchphrase. Or even running through exactly how we met this girl on Monday, took her for a drink on Tuesday… and that whole pretty speedy love affair set to garage sounds. But it looks like Craig David may finally have shaken off the unfortunate associations that have dogged him since his last hit release. Let me fill you in… (sorry).
Having hit unofficial hiatus in 2010 (most people would argue that his last album, Signed Sealed Delivered, marks his last real action as an artist), David has hinted at a new LP since 2011. But so far this has been yet to appear. The last five years have seen David working on a number of projects with different artists, but nothing that has really come to light. At least, not until the last couple of months. Joining the likes of Skrillex, Ms Dynamite and Redlight for Shy FX’s party, and even appearing at Bestival in September. Craig David is suddenly in all the right places, and even appears to have left his #EatCleanTrainDirty persona back in Miami.
Following up his reappearance with a new track, When The Bassline Drops with Narstie, sees David going back to his roots. Embracing the current appetite for revival UK garage, Craig David has returned as something more like the MC we knew and loved. After delaying the release of his next album periodically over the last few years, David is clearly wary of committing himself to yet another release date. But in a recent interview with Complex David seems to be serious about it this time now that his Miami stint has run its course: “Yeah, you wanted to go to Miami. Yeah, you wanted to party. OK, cool. Now you’re bored out of your mind with that. It doesn’t mean anything to you. You’re hungry to get back into the studio to show people what you are really made of. I had to do all of that to get to this point today.”
Having maybe lost touch with the scene during those years, David hasn’t been reticent when it comes to collaborating. Listing the artists he’s been working with, he reels off a whole load of exciting talent, also dropping some nice phrases that we would guess he’s picked up during all these collabs.
“So many new guys… I was doing some bits with the Got Some crew, the Eton Messy Bristol crew. That was the same time as Blonde and all those guys. There’s a dude called White Nerd from Manchester, and we’ve done a lot of garage stuff together. He gets it, because he was a fan of the older stuff, but he’s not trying to flex it like the old stuff.
“There’s Kaytranada as well, who I did some wicked stuff with out in Canada,” he continued. “He’s about to drop his project which is going to be fire, because he’s still on that futuristic R&B thing and he’s taken it electronic. Working with him was dope. Diplo too; we’ve actually got a few things coming up. That’s going to be big. Oh, and GoldLink. He’s got his new record dropping soon, but we have a few bits dropping together next year… Who am I forgetting? Oh! I’ve also done some stuff with Chase & Status. Pure flames, man.”
Suddenly Craig David isn’t so funny any more. With a good track hitting home and a whole load of integrity stacked up behind him, David’s return may well shake off the cringing that has hounded his name for an unfair number of years now. Bo Selecta!