The Upcoming Grime Scene in the UK
Written by Shalikah Walters-Watson
For many years now, grime has been an underground music genre starting from peoples basements. It has been music for the people by the people (those being the black British people of the streets) and artists have struggled to get bookings for events, attain record deals or even a steady income from their music. However, over the last few years developed artists that have been in the game for a while have managed to become globally known for their music and create a great impact on the mainstream music scene.
Canal Mills in Leeds hosted the ‘#Merky Presents Stormzy’ event in February and the ‘Metropolis Presents Tropical’ event headlining JME and Novelist in December, bringing together all different types of people from West Yorkshire such as students, workers, artists and local residents, proving that grime is actually helping mix different social groups and classes to celebrate the genre and the Artists.
The Boy Better Know artist, JME, made a documentary in 2014 showing viewers exactly how the UK Police try to oppress the grime scene/music movement by labeling it as a genre of music that is aggressive, a threat to society and ran by criminals. JME spoke out for himself as a black man who is no different to many normal people and has never committed a criminal offence.
I have noticed a massive diversity in the genre’s audience over the last few years, especially this year with the amount of students who have become grime fans over a matter of months. Leeds Fresher’s festival presented Charlie Sloth’s ‘Club Sloth’ event at Pryzm where many grime artists were on the line-up such as BBK, Bugsy Malone, Devlin, Lady Leshurr and Big Narstie. I expected the audience to be very urban but many middle class white people were proven to be hard core grime fans, knowing all the lyrics and artists performing and the event was heavily dominated by students like myself, instead of criminals or people from the streets like the media would have you believe. The event was safe, there was no trouble and it all went to plan.
Also, Leeds has hosted the two biggest black, British events of the year in 2015 with BBC Radio 1xtra live having a huge grime influenced line up and The MOBO Awards having its first ‘Best Grime Act’ category with ‘Young and New Artist’ Stormzy winning. Since then, Wileys ‘Eskimo Dance’ Concert/Tour has come to Leeds, the ‘Motion #1’ event at the O2 Academy.