A Letter To The Grime Scene

Written by D. Power, grime veteran and founder of Deja Vu FM.

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Dear Grime Scene,

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not you were dying out, or dead, so I thought I’d share my thoughts and clear up a few things. Music always changes, first of all. It’s a big cycle, and you will always have times when a particular genre is the main thing, and times when that same genre is not. I’ve seen this happen at least three times over the past 15 years with grime, but the key thing was that we always had our own infrastructure for promoting our music, and events. So regardless if commercial media was behind us or not, we would always be okay. Back in the day, we just looked at the commercial thing as a bonus to what we were already doing.

In my opinion, we no longer have our foundational infrastructure. There is no dedicated radio station, no dedicated website (well, one that carries serious weight anyway) and the underground element has become small in terms of events. I believe this to be one of the main factors in the change. And because we got comfortable using the same platforms as every other genre while grime was the “in-thing”, now said genres have started to take off via those same platforms and they’ve started to slow down on posting and pushing us the way they did before. To be honest, that’s not their fault—it’s ours, because they set their platforms up to provide the latest and hottest music to the public. So if they feel that grime is no longer the hot thing, they will just go to where the money is at.

But what will always be our biggest problem, is the selfish and hateful attitudes of the people making the music. There is absolutely no togetherness. The grime scene, today, appears to be split into little different packs of people that just do their own thing, with whoever they want to do it with. Some of these packs are doing well, but not half as good as they could be if everyone was supporting each other with the good work some of them are doing. Another factor that hasn’t helped, is us lot getting mixed up with everybody else and everyone being called a “grime artist.” That really fucked up the new generation of music supporters. It totally confused them. It got to a point where, if you were black and rapping or MCing, then you’d automatically be considered a grime artist. There was a grime playlist I saw once with 70% UK rap and drill tunes in it—what the hell is that?

But let me put the negativity to one side for a minute. Let me big up the fact that we all love grime, and not any one person or group owns it; we just need to start working together more and as much as we can. Let’s support the things and people that are fully backing our scene, and come together to help fix the parts that are coming apart. Let’s get a radio station going that’s predominantly grime, with no competition in sight. Let’s start doing more events and keep releasing good-quality singles, EPs, and albums. Grime, to me, has become very boring in terms of things to do on a daily or weekly basis, so we need to create a serious hub again. We need more cyphers, more sets that can be recorded and shared around after, and more collaborations to keep things exciting. I don’t have all the answers and it’s hard to think of, and do, everything myself—grime was built by so many different people, so we need to be united in the things that concern the scene and that way we’ll really see a change. We started from nothing, from council estates and tower-blocks, but we all had an inherent love for the music. People were always creating—creating new flows, new beats—and from sharing a bag of chips to people becoming millionaires, we have definitely come a long way.

So I’ll say to the MCs—man like Jammz, Capo Lee, Big Zuu, PK, Mez, Blakie, Wax, Stogey, Tommy B, and the rest—keep shelling and flying the flag for grime, because we need you. And to the producers, I suggest you all pay the next Beat Boss event a visit; mostly all the new producers and some foundational ones have been battling it out to up their levels, and that can only be a good thing.

We’ve got this, though, grime.

Big up your chest!

Signing out.

D. Power.

Collage images by Hyperfrank.


Posted on July 20, 2018