Grime Done Sold Out

This article from Robert Leedham gives a brief and accurate analysis of the recent commericalisation of grime, or British hip hop as the mainstream press likes to call it, into a poptastic product that wouldn’t look out of place in a copy of Smash Hits. Dizzee’s Dance Wiv Me is targeted as a key offender in breaking the levies for respected MCs to churn out pop music with rapping on it.

And this is singled out as the latest, and perhaps most embarrassing, episode in that saga. This is currently No. 1 in the UK singles chart and I can’t be held responsible for how watching this will make you feel, mentally or physically.

The most bemusing part of these ploys to capture a pop audience is just how radically acts will change the sound of their music. Whether you like Roll Deep or not, they were pioneers in their own right and carved out a unique sound with in-house production. Chart toppers Dizzee, Wiley and Tynchy Stryder came from the camp – which is/was something like grime’s answer to Wu-Tang. This, for instance, is miles away from the above.

Things had started to look up - Tinie Tempah’s recent hit Pass Out saturated the radiowaves, yet retained enough of an edge to gain respect from his peers and sounded authentic.

As Leedham points out in his piece, the outcome of Giggs’ official debut may be crucial in redefining the rules for playing on a commercial field. As hated as the base lyrical content born in the US has become today, hope that Giggs’ LP is unashamed malevolent ignorance over big, non-4-beat backdrops. He might be able to bring some balance to the mainstream and re-write what is and what isn’t allowed. We’ll see.