Ticketmaster, Disrupt and the University of Westminster deliver an in-depth report on grime.
Wot Do U Call It?
This is no longer a question. We call it grime.
For grime, 2017 could well be its most significant year to date and we still have a few months to go. Between this award season and the last, the genre has attracted more red carpet appearances, awards and accolades than any other. Not to mention the embrace by sections of the political elite. We’ve also witnessed the usual attire of baseball caps and designer tracksuits become even more interchangeable with DJs and bow ties. And why not if you can have your brand enhanced by Emporio Armani in the case of Dizzee Rascal, or feature on the front cover of GQ magazine, as did Stormzy.
Those more familiar with the genre will know this success is hard-won and reflects the efforts of an underground, predominantly Black British music community, that has pioneered this scene since the early 2000s and beyond. Back then in the bedrooms of East London council estates, the next generation of young producers and MCs were creating a brutal, edgy, uncompromising music. It was the sound of social deprivation emerging from the shadows of re-urbanisation and gentrification.
Leap forward to the present and the genre once dubbed the sound of London’s social underclass has blossomed. With its successes in both the singles and album charts, its arrival on the festival circuit and its growing international following, grime continues to defy industry assessments of its potential. Which is why it still could provoke the most disruptive cultural transformation of the British music industry since punk.
With the leading names now regulars on the festival circuit and capable of packing Wembley or The O2, grime has verified its credentials. Live shows have also transformed ideas about the audience, often seen jostling and bumping into each other in response to the performance. Historically this activity would be described as aggressive and potentially violent. But today, it’s more likely to be described as moshing. The tide has definitely changed. Or has it?
Grime is still struggling to transform negative perceptions within the London Metropolitan Police force and stem their disproportionate use of Form 696. This is the risk assessment form requiring the personal data of all promoters, MCs, DJs and artists 14 days in advance of an event.
Nonetheless in 2017, grime is the success story that demonstrates the complexity and diversity of the music industry. It also showcases a journey fuelled by enterprise, entrepreneurialism and creativity has the potential to achieve even greater things.