Issues Facing Grime; The Lurking Shadow Of Violence

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(Written By Michael Indeku)

Grime as a genre has come some way, sure it has. From the days when they had to literally pirate their own stations so that they could play their music, given the local stations in London were unwilling to take their music on board… It has now become one of the biggest and most celebrated genres in the UK and across the borders.

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As a matter of fact, it is cited as the most influential music genre in the UK since the days of funk.

Grime was synonymous with depicting the frustrations young people who grew up in the grey council estates in London’s East End area faced, and still is to some degree.

One aspect of the culture that is synonymous with life in such neighborhoods is violence and criminal acts such as thuggery. This especially holds with Underground Grime which has a higher tempo than mainstream Grime.

With artistes vowing to stay as true to the depiction of such life, they don’t shy away from incorporating those aspects in their music lyrics and videos, particularly violence.

This has culminated in brawls and constant beefs as many grime artistes try to prove their toughness by talking about murder and having sleek guns in their music videos. Calling out other rappers as they battle rap became a common sight.

The lyrics and videos culminates on the real streets with guns and violence in endless showing.

The police moved in to ban grime nights in clubs believing that it was the instigator that led to bar brawls and violence.

Around the time of 2005, Grime artiste, Crazy Titch was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of killing rival producer Richard Holmes due to offensive lyrics against his brother in a song produced by Holmes.

Another example is one of the acclaimed Grime founding fathers, Wiley who had been stabbed 21 times throughout his lifetime including a nasty slash that left a scar on his face.

Of course not every example of violence can be directly attributed to Grime music, but violence has always had a distant attachment to grime. This proved to be counter-productive to the success of Grime as clubs could no longer play the genre, police always breathing on the genre’s neck and the market preferring other less violent genres such as house.

There has been criticism from Government officials and critiques who stated the music was of a ‘sexual and violent nature’.

Some producers have put the call to spread more positive messages through the genre. Coming from ignored hoods such as grey council estates however, most resign to the fact that the artistes will do as they wish…

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