The journey that’s taken Grime to the Royal Albert Hall is one paved with more stop and searches then we’d like to forget.
It’s been a transformative year for Grime one that’s taken it from the spotlight at the Brit Awards to the Royal Albert Hall – one that’s also been fought with a drive for acceptance and transcendence. A drive to be able to commit to a craft and a love of the music – unfettered – but one that has been blocked by many obstacles.
Last nights performance of Grime Symphony featured some of the U.K’s newest as well as freshest talents, it was a moment of pride for many fans and supporters who over the last 15 years have stood behind the scene denying any notion that ‘Grime Is Dead’. Grm Daily, LinkUp TV, SBTV, Rinse FM, IXtra, Reprazent FM, RWD Mag have all been the forces behind a music genre that refused to go away.
— BBC Radio 1 (@BBCR1) August 12, 2015
Notably absent from last nights stage was Skepta but only because he’s currently on a mission to take Grime from the underground to the world stage and is touring extensively. When he spoke earlier in the year in an interview he was clear about where Grime was heading – “They respect rappers in the US but in England, it’s the Queen’s country. She’ll forever be putting out the message on these BBC networks that there’s no hood, it’s tea and red phoneboxes. Hip-hop is celebrated in the US; Obama talks about having Ludacris on his iPod. But in the UK, there are a lot of obstacles in our way,”
From the streets to the symphony.
Ironically 10 years ago, Kanye West took his orchestral rendition of the album ‘Late Registration’ to Abbey Road. It was a moment that marked a shift for Kanye and with ‘Late Orchestration’ he had proved to the world that he could transcend Hip-Hop itself and reinvent the very idea of where the limits were. Backed by an 18 piece all female orchestra and filmed by a 10 camera crew, the show was broadcast live on air on Zane Lowe’s show on Radio 1 – this was a media event like no other.
The irony today though lies in the way perceptions and fortunes are changing – last night Grime & U.K Rap took it’s place infront of a live orchestra and earlier in the year Kanye had courted U.K Grime MC’s by stating that he was now inspired by the ‘London Riot’s’. It was his performance of ‘All Day’ at the Brit Awards that brought some of U.K’s biggest Grime MC’s to the stage, and it appeared to be Kanye’s ‘F**k You’ to the ones he had previously sought acceptance from. If that performance had been a deliberate scheme to stir a social media shitstorm – instead on that day it was Grime that took the headlines.
If anyone new to the U.K scene needs a quick snapshot, Semtex breaks it down;
“GRIME is the Hip-Hop of the UK, its the unique voice of the UK experience. its a raw uncompromising abrasive sound from the streets of the UK. Influenced by Hip-Hop, the Jamaican Dancehall art of MC’ing, and the harder elements of UK Rave music. Dizzee Rascal and Wiley are the primers, the DNA of the Culture, influencing every generation that follows.”
The stories of taking a tragedy to triumph are always the ones that resonate with us most – the underdog rising makes us all feel like we have a reason to hope. No matter where we come from and whatever hardships life puts in our way – music can be a force to bring us up from the ground to the sky. In the case of Grime its story about transcending from the streets to the symphony is one that no one will forget, has been a come up through struggle and strife.