Meaning of “Big Hammer” by James Blake

The vocals of this track (“Big Hammer”) are delivered in West Indian patois and are reminiscent of the soundclash style made famous by the likes of Jamaican dancehall musicians. The goal of such songs is to tout one’s superiority over musical rivals, i.e. the sound of other music sets, and so it is with “Big Hammer”.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for James Blake's Big Hammer at

Within the context of West Indian patois, a “big hammer” may be also taken as a synonym for a gun. And relatedly, this track also goes about presenting James Blake as a formidable musical opponent, along the lines of being one that intimidates opposing sound systems, i.e. rival producers and DJs.

Credits and Release Date of “Big Hammer”

This song features the sampled vocal contributions of the Ragga Twins, i.e. Deman Rocker and Flinty Badman, a UK-based sibling duo which James Blake admitted being a longtime fan of. As such, Deman and Flinty are also credited as writers of the song alongside Blake.

James Blake produced this track with Rob McAndrews, and the director of its music video is Oscar Hudson.

Republic and Polydor released this track on 28 June 2023 as the lead single of James Blake’s LP which came out a couple of months later, that being “Playing Robots Into Heaven”. And James has implied that he personally designated “Big Hammer” to serve that purpose, as a way of ‘making it clear that this record is going to different’ than anything he put out in the past.

Big Hammer

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