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Grime
Stylistic origins British hip hop
UK garage
Dancehall
Drum and bass
Dubstep
Cultural origins Late 1990s–early 2000s,
Bow, East London, UK
Typical instruments Rapping - Toasting - Music sequencer - Personal computer
Mainstream popularity Underground with some chart success
Subgenres
Sublow
Fusion genres
Grindie - Rhythm & grime - Electro-grime

Grime is a genre of urban music which first emerged in Bow, East London, England in the early 2000s, primarily a development of UK garage, dancehall, and hip hop.[1]

Contents

Musical style

Grime is typified by complex 2-step breakbeats, generally around 140 beats per minute and constructed from "different" sounds.[1] Stylistically, grime takes from many genres including UK Garage, dancehall and hip hop.[2] The lyrics and music combine futuristic electronic elements and dark, guttural bass lines.

According to Sasha Frere-Jones, writer for The New Yorker, grime has developed a fierce sound by "distilling" rhythms to a minimal style resulting in a choppy, off-center sound. Whereas hip hop is inherently dance music, the writer argues that "grime sounds as if it had been made for a boxing gym, one where the fighters have a lot of punching to do but not much room to move." [3] Frere-Jones also states that grime has maintained a style unique from American hip hop, with clear Jamaican and Caribbean influences.[3] Writer Hattie Collins supports Frere-Jones' analysis by asserting that grime is "an amalgamation of UK Garage with a bit of drum'n'bass, a splash of punk and a touch of hip-hop thrown in for good measure."[2]

Origins and development

Roll Deep, a well known British grime crew, performs at the 2006 Love Music Hate Racism festival.

Grime emerged from Bow, East London. The emergence of grime is intrinsically connected to its origins on UK pirate radio,[1] with many performers honing their skills and achieving underground success before approaching the mainstream. Like other garage variants or mutations, pirate radio stations such as Rinse FM[4] & MajorFm.com were essential to the evolution of the genre, MajorFm.com was the first online station to support grime music & gave grime its first recognition to the international market, grime was still at this point known as a number of other terms, including "sublow" (a reference to the very low bassline frequencies, often around 40 Hz[5]), as well as "eskibeat", a term applied specifically to a style initially developed by Wiley and his collaborators. This indicated the movement of UK Garage away from its house influences towards darker themes and sounds. Among the first tracks to be labeled grime as a genre in itself were 'Eskimo' by Wiley and "Pulse X" by Musical Mob.[6]

Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, both members of Roll Deep, were among the first to bring the genre to the attention of the mainstream media in 2003-2004, with their albums Boy in da Corner and Treddin' on Thin Ice respectively. Dizzee Rascal garnered broad critical and commercial acclaim—Boy in da Corner eventually won the 2003 Mercury Music Prize.[1] Grime has received exposure from television stations including Channel U, Logan Sama's show on London station Kiss FM and the BBC's youth oriented digital radio station 1Xtra.

Grime, however, is a cross-pollinated genre, taking influence from a variety of different cultural styles as well as musical ones,[1][2] and is therefore still in many respects considered to be underground music, even after mainstream exposure. It exists in a largely informal economy in which most artists make their debuts on independently-produced battle DVDs[3] that, like mixtapes are sold out of barbershops and make their way around the city. Artists receive a lot of help from pirates and radio stations which keep the public up to date with the music. Even though grime is very popular in the UK, many recording labels have yet to acknowledge its presence as a genre that can compete in the global market. There is a perception that international major labels don't understand the value of grime, as DJ Semtex, an A&R for Def Jam Recordings and also Dizzee Rascal's DJ says, "the biggest conflict I have is with major labels because they still don’t get it". He says that they just don't understand the value of grime, and more so UK music as a whole, as other countries do.[2]

Although grime is recognised as a creative and innovative musical style,[2] there are other contributing factors to its rapid and widespread growth in popularity; the MCs producing current grime music are overwhelmingly young as a group. The most well known names in the industry such as Dizzee Rascal and Kano both getting their first hits at age 16, with I Luv U and Boys Love Girls respectively, and the resultant package of "youth making music for youth" is seen as a crucial factor for Grime's success.[3]

As with many similar scenes around the world, the grime scene has encountered some criticism, especially from government officials like Home Secretary David Blunkett who in 2003 called rap lyrics "appalling" or former minister Kim Howells' statement that grime artists were helping to create a culture "where killing is almost a fashion accessory."[7] Howells went even deeper into the issue, making comments that grime supporters claimed to find "deeply racist," referring to popular artists and crews as "boasting macho idiot rappers."[8] While the government offers one point of view, the artists and listeners offer another. In an article by Jeff Chang in The Village Voice, Dizzee Rascal’s often violent and sexual lyrics are heralded as “capturing, encapsulating, and preserving” the life that he and his peers live on the streets every day.[9]

International growth

Dizzee Rascal is regarded as the first grime artist to gain international acclaim after winning the Mercury Music Prize, for his debut, Boy in da Corner.[9] It was not until the release of his third album, 2007's Maths + English, that Dizzee experienced the same kind of international acclaim. Dizzee was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize again, and despite the fact that the album was not released in the United States in 2007, it received high praise from international music critics, magazines, websites, and blogs, including Pitchfork Media,[10] Rolling Stone,[11] NME,[12] and Rock Sound.[13] By 2009, he had achieved three Number Ones in a row.

The 2005 release of 679 Recordings' Run the Road compilation showcased some of the most popular grime releases to that point, increasing the popularity and fame of grime and grime artists internationally. A particularly notable grime artist who has had success overseas is Lady Sovereign, who appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, signed to Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records, and whose Love Me or Hate Me became the first video by a British artist to reach number one on MTV's Total Request Live,[14] though her music has departed considerably from her early output on pirate radio stations, and she does not regard herself as a grime artist.[citation needed]

The international growth of the UK grime scene has also been evident in recent years with many of the popular grime artists playing on the Urban music stages of the big summer festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park. For example Dizzee Rascal played at all these events in the summer of 2008 and other important grime figures such as Wiley, Lethal Bizzle, Boy Better Know, Tinchy Stryder, Roll Deep, Chipmunk, Tinie Tempah and Kano .

Controversy

Grime music videos have been criticised by politicians and also artists within the Grime scene, for their violent content.[15] In a move to censor this, Channel AKA has with the pressure from the police begun to sift through grime videos, being highly selective with the ones that are broadcast.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e McKinnon, Matthew (2005-05-05). "Grime Wave". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/music/grimewave.html. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Collins, Hattie (2004-11-19). "will grime pay?". Collective. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A3299204. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d Frere-Jones, Sasha (2005-03-21). "True Grime". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/03/21/050321crmu_music. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  4. ^ Campion, Chris (2004-05-23). "Inside grime". Observer Music Monthly (Guardian Media Group). http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2004/may/23/urban1. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  5. ^ Sturges, Fiona (2005-07-09). "A life of grime". The Independent (Independent News & Media). http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/a-life-of-grime-498018.html. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  6. ^ Harvell, Jess (2005-03-21). "They Don't Know". Pitchfork Media. http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/feature/36498-they-dont-know. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  7. ^ "Cameron attacks Radio 1's hip-hop". BBC News (BBC). 2006-06-07. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5055724.stm. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  8. ^ Gibbons, Fiachra (2003-01-06). "Minister labelled racist after attack on rap 'idiots'". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2003/jan/06/ukguns.immigrationpolicy1. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  9. ^ a b Chang, Jeff (2004-01-13). "Future Shock". The Village Voice. http://www.villagevoice.com/music/0403,chang,50366,22.html. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  10. ^ Patrin, Nate (2007-06-15). "Dizzee Rascal: Maths + English". Pitchfork Media. http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/record_review/43429-maths-english. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  11. ^ Hoard, Christian (2007-05-30). "Maths + English". Rolling Stone Online. http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/14914081/review/14933390/maths__english. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  12. ^ Miller, Alex (2007-06-01). "Maths + English". New Music Express. http://www.nme.com/reviews/dizzee-rascal/8612. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  13. ^ Galil, Leor. "Dizzee Rascal - Maths & English". Rock Sound. http://www.rocksound.tv/articles/166/Dizzee-Rascal---Maths--English.html. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  14. ^ Mathewson, Catriona (2007-02-16). "Sovereign hits her gold mine". The Courier-Mail (Queensland Newspapers). http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,23663,21235541-5007184,00.html. Retrieved 2008-04-13. 
  15. ^ Rajan, Amol (2007-09-24). "Music video violence: Should grime clean up its act?". The Independent (Independent News & Media). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/music-video-violence-should-grime-clean-up-its-act-403286.html. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 

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