Is the UK stuck on Nostalgia? – The debate on the quality of music

Mixtape Madness Bloggers

By Mixtape Madness Bloggers

Mixtape Madness Bloggers

3 Feb 2021

Through the evolution of UK music, we have witnessed the art gradually develop and adapt to current social influences. With the impact of Hip-Hop, R&B, Garage and Grime collating as a collective of ‘Popular Music’ over many years, it has set the foundation for the music we listen to today. The ideology behind what makes great music is believed to consist of conceptual substance, creativity, lyricism, replay value and an overall perfected delivery. There is a consistent argument amongst music enthusiasts on the debate of UK music quality and whether it was better back then or now. The idea surrounding nostalgia is a prominent factor as it enforces people to reminisce on the music we grew up on, however there are undeniably huge elements involved in today’s music which equates in just as much greatness.

In the UK, the rise of Grime was noticeably a product of Garage, drawing influence from Hip-Hop, jungle and components of Dancehall. Artists like Dizzie Rascal, Kano, Lethal Bizzle and Wiley excelled through the industry releasing series of hits and strong, constructed projects. Being the first to bring mainstream light to the genre, with legendary projects such as ‘Boy In Da Corner’, ‘Home Sweet Home’, ‘Against All Oddz’ and ‘Treddin’ On Thin Ice’, this gave Grime a huge popularity boost, followed by further influence from brothers Skepta and JME.

The impact of rising platforms such as Charlie Sloth’s ‘Fire In The Booth’, SBTV, Link Up Tv, Mixtape Madness and GRM Daily allowed rappers to be exposed to wider audiences, slowly becoming more successful.

Casey Dorney

Furthermore, the impact of rising platforms such as Charlie Sloth’s ‘Fire In The Booth’, SBTV, Link Up Tv, Mixtape Madness and GRM Daily allowed rappers to be exposed to wider audiences, slowly becoming more successful. This was said to revive the Grime scene to an extent, through group cyphers introducing artists like Stormzy, AJ Tracey, Lady Leshurr as well as introducing talent outside of just London into the Midlands. The power, impact and quality of music produced in the 2000’s has been extremely memorable as it pioneered the sound we have today, which requires a level of respect. However, through garage and grime introduced the popular genres of Afroswing and also Drill in particular, becoming one of the most prominent sounds in the UK today.

Music platforms were the bridge needed in the industry at the time, consequently leading to why music has become so accessible and appealing. Nevertheless, they positively impacted the culture as it allowed a platform for upcoming artists to showcase their talent, including increasingly popular acts such as Kojo Funds, Yxng Bane, 67, Section Boyz and Harlem Spartans who carried the UK music scene as Grime began to die. The transition from CD’S to streams became normalised, as the industry adapted to current technology in society. Thus, since 2015 the rise of drill has become immense lead by artists such as Headie One/OFB, Teeway, 98s, M1llionz and Digga D, setting levels for the UK scene.

Through the increased exposure, access and quality in producers, equipment and streaming services, the quality of music today is extremely better, without a doubt. The creativity, wordplay, and ability to create hits are the outstanding elements presented by these artists. As we focus on the talent displayed today, rather than the saturation that is accompanied by the accessibility, the quality should easily if not more so, equate to the music demonstrated back in 2000’s-2010.

The idea that garage and grime artists originally pioneered the sound, merged with the rawness, and well-constructed albums may possibly block people’s acceptance that today’s music is also of high quality. However, as recent music has become incredibly more aimed at mainstream audiences, it is fair to admit that there is less control embedded into projects in comparison to before. Although, there is so much talent within artists today, highly reflective of the culture impacts made, ranging from awards, charts and headlining renowned events such as Glastonbury. UK artists are currently more progressive than ever, which they deserve a majority praise and respect for.

Words by Casey Dorney