Oi mate! Do you know about UK Grime? Do you know about the fastest up-and-coming musical genre in the world? If you don’t, it’s truly okay. I’m here to educate you about the newest form of rap music coming out of the streets of London, England. First off, the genre is fairly new as it’s only been around since the early 2000s. Drawing it’s roots from UK garage, drum and bass, dancehall and hip-hop, grime is often around the 140 BPM mark, rocking to a double-time rhythm. The melodies are usually dark and heavy while the style is fast-paced and fun. Getting its start on various infamous UK pirate radio stations, grime was well-received within the inner city walls of London. Artists such as Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Skepta helped grow the genre’s popularity as they began being featured in more radio shows, magazines, newspapers and blogs. Still not impressed? Maybe these 5 reasons will have you feeling gassed to start listening to UK Grime…
1. It’s still authentic in its young nature.
One problem that many listeners have with modern rap music is that many of the songs aren’t talking about much besides money, girls, cars and more money. UK Grime artists mainly rap about how writing rhymes helped lead them away from a dangerous, violent, criminal life. One of the most interesting parts of the grime scene is that the artists also tend to talk about furthering the popularity of the genre around the world. Take a listen to one of Wiley’s newest records, which he talks about pursuing the craft of rhyming in the grime style instead of selling out and making pop songs:
2. The beats bang.
This reason sounds basic and opinionated but let me explain. There is so much variation within the grime music scene that getting tired of it seems almost unfathomable. Beats are constantly changing, using a wide array of noises, effects and drums. Many of the most interesting tracks I’ve heard this year are grime instrumentals, which utilize new technology to create new, fresh sounds. Some songs can be emotionally heavy with harsh lyrics while other songs can be light, catchy and fun to rock your body to. Check out this fun song from Scottish producer, Show N Prove, featuring London rapper Big Narstie. It talks about getting pumped for the nighttime and weekend since the daily work grind is so monotonous and boring.
3. Concerts are wild.
Instead of paying to stand and act tough at a rap concert, you should be paying to dance and act silly at a grime concert. Having been to a few both in London and in New York, I have to say that grime concerts are synonymous with underground basement parties, except without the creepy drugged-out middle aged men. The energy levels at grime shows are so high that it’s simply impossible to not break a sweat while dancing with your friends. Don’t believe me? Check out this video from Manchester, England where grime emcee, Stormzy performed his newest hit, “Know Me From.” Skip to 1:45 if you are a restless individual.
4. It’s cool to listen to.
Do you like being the one who your friends introduce new music to or do you like being the one in your group of friends who introduces new music to everyone? If you resonate with the latter, you need to start listening to grime music as soon as possible. The genre isn’t saturated with attention yet, so therefore it is currently “hip” to listen to. Be the first in your social circle to familiarize yourself with grime before it becomes mainstream and consequently uncool. I’m not sure if there is a grime song out there that is more fun to blast in the car with friends than this 2003 classic record from the infamous, Dizzee Rascal:
5. It’s coming to America.
Slowly but surely, UK Grime music is sailing its way over to our great nation and you need to get on board now! Here in the states, we are obsessed with our own styles of music (pop, hip-hop, country, etc.). We are force fed these genres via FM radio, award shows, television appearances and other media routes. Therefore, when a new genre of music from a different country makes its way to the states, it often times does not catch on. Primarily thanks to the younger, more open-minded generation whom enjoys embracing different forms of culture and music, the UK Grime scene is here to stay. Here is footage I took from a show in Queens, New York, which featured London rappers Shorty, Krept and Konan, Novelist and most notably, Skepta. Just look at the size of that crowd:
If you’ve made it all the way to the end, watched all the examples and thought to yourself, “Gee, I’m really not too impressed,” then I respect your decision to never listen to UK Grime again. However, when the genre and its major players begin collaborating with the biggest artists in America, (hint: it’s already happening), don’t say I didn’t warn you. Cheers!