"Upstart (Road Trip)" is a collaboration between two artists who, for all the transgressive nature of their early output, are now firmly established within mainstream music: Goldie received an MBE in 2016; a year later, Skepta did a a tune with Mick Jagger. "Upstart" was never likely to be as raw as the two of them hoped, though it's not a bad record. Goldie's 140-BPM breakbeat, built from live drums and embellished with ghostly strings, hits hard, while Skepta's flow is typically sharp and fluid, if lacking in bite.
By contrast, "Poisonous Darts," a collaboration between Goldie, newcomer Fraims and the veteran MC DRS, is all about the vocal, with DRS's Northern twang and dark poetry ("Ghost in the mind of a martian / trapped in the body of a Spartan") giving the track its edge. The instrumental trumps "Upstart (Road Trip)," too, as darting drums barrel beneath horn-like sirens and the occasional stroke of what sounds like a sitar. It isn't going to set the world on fire, but then no one said it would.