Big Up Grime in 2019
January 7, 2020 8:08 AM   Subscribe

2019 marked another chapter or two in the grime story, from pirate radio to mainstream (Channel 4 documentary; Fact Magazine review). Brothers Skepta and Jme, still on their own Boy Better Know label, each released new albums. Skepta's Ignorance is Bliss (YouTube playlist) charted in 15 countries (Wikipedia), while Jme's Grime MC (LP sample on YouTube; Discogs) is currently a physical-only album, charted at #26 on the UK album charts, selling out of most shops, as noted in this Pitchfork review. But the biggest event was probably Stormzy's performance (YouTube, full set) as the first black solo British artist to headline Glastonbury (Guardian) in the festival's roughly four decades (Wikipedia).

If you want more of the early days of grime, here's four links to The Wire (UK): A more recent, and more academic, look at grime: From Pirate Radio To Glastonbury: Grime Music's Evolving Connection To Class, from Jazmin Kopotsha for Refinery 29, who talks with Dr. Joy White, a sociologist, ethnographer, researcher who has published Urban Music and Entrepreneurship: Beats, Rhymes and Young People's Enterprise (Taylor Francis, with chapter abstracts) one of the first books to foreground the socio-economic significance of the UK urban music economy, with particular reference to Grime music.
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
This started out as a connection between Rolling Stone's 2018 article The End of Owning Music: How CDs and Downloads Died and Jme's new album charting on physical sales alone in late 2019 (in this interview, he says it wasn't a conscious effort to go counter-flow), but then I took it bigger.

Going bigger still: check out Benji B's 2019 Mixtape, part one and part two, for four more hours of diverse urban music from around the world, though with a definite focus on UK sounds. Both are links to the mixes on the BBC One archives, which are good for a few weeks yet. I'll post other links a bit later, for improved longevity.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:10 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]

One additional link that I didn't fold in: Though Stormzy is now signed with Warner, he paid credit to Boy Better Know for his rise to fame, in an interview five years ago (archived view of a now-dead website).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:16 AM on January 7

The current big news in grime - at least from where I'm sitting - is the war between Wiley and Stormzy, probably kicked off by Dot Rotten, who's been calling out pretty much everyone within reach at a rate of 1-2 tracks a day since November. Some favorites: Victorious, this EP, and Shut Up Don't Speak.
posted by sagc at 8:25 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]

Also, a lot of what's happening in grime is happening in the drill scene - apparently videos aren't getting taken down from Youtube as often as in the past, but there's still a sense that the artists are putting themselves a lot more out there than, say, Stormzy.
posted by sagc at 8:27 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

I am enjoying listening to these, thank you for posting!
posted by Dip Flash at 5:26 PM on January 7

I have not been able to stop listening to Heavy Is The Head since it came out!

I’ve also been enjoying Stormzy wearing his slippers on BBC Breakfast 😂
posted by ellieBOA at 11:30 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]

Two odd tangents:
- While Stormzy "went major," he paid credit to Boy Better Know five years ago (Live Magazine UK, archived).

- I geeked out when Jme boasted hard on his EV, "fuck BP," and said Mum asked why I went vegan, and I said, "'Cause you didn't raise no fool" ( x3).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:51 AM on January 9

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