My first recollections of the grime scene are around 18 years ago, in 1997, when acts like Wiley used to jump on the mic mc'ing on jungle tracks, on pirate radio. He then set up a music click called Pay as U Go Cartel. A few years later in 2001, Pay as U Go released a single called Champagne Dance that had the capitals urban nightclubs jumping.
I have witnessed him perform to local crowds and key influencers in the music world, and there are whisperings behind the scenes akin to him being the new coming, with his return to a more ''conscious, positive'' moment for hip hop content. Talking about his first official release, his EP The Chicken and the Egg (released on 20th October) he explains his musical philosophy.
Jermaine Scott Sinclair - Wretch 32 (three-two) - is the son of a local reggae DJ in the Tiverton Estate, which explains the clear dancehall beats juxtaposed with his north London lyrics that are full of metaphors and soulful hooks and melodies, that will keep you humming for hours after hearing one of his hits.
Stromae is a European megastar. And I'm not talking alternative big, I mean BIG big. Born in Brussels to a Belgian mother and a Rwandan father, Paul van Haver/Stromae first wowed everyone back in 2010 with his world-wide hit 'Alors on Danse' ('And So We Dance'). He released his second album, Racine Carrée (Square Root), last year.
This month however, I attended one such event that seemed to have ticked all the right boxes to actually make a difference. Fusing the mediums of spoken word and poetry set against a backdrop of Turner paintings, Late at Tate Britain, housed a captivating poetry event as part of National Storytelling Week 14th anniversary.
Romero brings his poetic oratory together with a white background: he only wants you to hear the words. With a great focus on the language, his spoken words usually tends to focus on the words themselves, the dynamics of tone, facial expressions and body language. Actions, sometimes speak far louder in a performance.
The individual at hand insinuated that Hip-Hop was indeed "black music, that's all I'm saying". Whether this was to suggest my friend was less of a black individual because she didn't enjoy this music, was something to consider. He quickly turned his attention back to me, but did drop heavily the mention of 'white rappers' who may take my interest more.
As grime music was slowly diluted in a bid to make it acceptable for the mainstream, the artists who once pioneered this gritty genre turned to electro beats and vacuous female backing singers to sell their records. Grime became confused. The usual jaw rattling bass, rapid snares and angry lyrics had now been replaced with soft synths, pop melodies and soppy lyrical content that made Mills and Boon look savage.