Grime: 5 tracks to get you started
Despite being around in the UK for around 15 years now, Grime is yet to make its influence outside of this little island, and maybe for good reason. Developed in London, & coined as a mix between garage, reggae, DnB, and hip hop, this genre of music is a staple of the UK streets, but yet despite it being shouted from the rooftops over here, it’s yet to even break the barrier of success anywhere else. It’s a polorising subject in the UK, due to the nature of the artists, the different flow used, and the EDM-influenced instrumentals, so it’s hard to imagine it being universally accepted over the world, but that is what artists and fans are hoping is next for the genre.
Another point that doesn’t help Grime is the learning curve, so to speak. It’s hard to know where to start, and with new artists popping up daily you might think it’s too daunting a task. However, with Grime kingpin Skepta recently all-but confirming his involvement on a track with Kanye West, as well as popular artists Danny Brown & Earl Sweatshirt signing it’s praises, many people are hoping that this is the beginning of the era of Grime in America & across the world.
Rather than listing the most important, or what I perceive to be the best, I’ve gone with 5 different tracks that give will give listeners a feel of most elements involved in grime. It’s an ever-evolving genre and just because you dislike one element, it doesn’t mean grime isn’t for you.
Dizzee Rascal – Jus’ A Rascal
Why not start with arguably the most successful and well-known artist in the genre. Hailed as the “pioneer of mainstream grime”, Dizzee has been around since he released his debut album, Boy in da Corner, in 2003, and has been a force to be recognised with since. This being his biggest single from that critically acclaimed album, it was many people’s first taste of Dizzee, and is still the best place to start if you’re looking to jump into better-known grime.
Sox – Bars N Bass
Different from the other tracks on the list, this type of grime is what turns many people off before they give it a chance, and with good reason. Understanding accents and slang outside of London may prove difficult for people outside the UK, especially with the fast paced flow, and the subject matter is shallow at best. However, at heart, this is what grime is all about and how it began, with kids on the street having fun. Despite Sox becoming a well-known name more recently, it’s good to see he hasn’t forgotten what it’s all about. It’s not for everyone, but if you enjoy this, there is a whole sub-culture within Grime consisting of this. The JDZmedia YouTube account is a good place to start.
Ghetts – Fire In The Booth
It was hard to choose just one track from Ghetts, as you can pretty much pick any song in his discography & get a pretty good idea what he’s about. Part of the “second-tier” of grime, it will only be a matter of time before Ghetts blows up. He’s versatile, deep, and has an insane work ethic. For the best of Ghetts, check out his second Fire in the Booth. 3 completely different flows over 3 completely different beats, & he murders all of them.
Kano – Brown Eyes
“The Nas of Grime”, as he used to be known. Despite his ability to go just as hard on a track as anyone else, Kano was mostly known for his unique voice and slower, softer flow. You couldn’t turn on a radio in the early 00’s without eventually encountering a Kano song, and that wasn’t a bad thing. Despite dipping his toe into the world of acting and landing a starring role in Top Boy, a UK urban drama, Kano has recently returned to the music scene. However, for this list, we’ll go with one of his classics.
JME – Man Don’t Care ft. Giggs
I was debating whether to include JME on this list, and instead go with someone not as well known, but the rise of JME is akin to a rocket launch. A slow burn before exploding, & that’s what is happening now. The younger brother of Skepta, JME was always going to end up in the grime game, but not many people saw him having nearly as much talent as his brother. His third album, Integrity, came out early May, and this is one of the choice joints from this project. Included is a verse from Giggs, just be careful to not dislocate your head from your neck..