How UK Grime has been more visible to the world through co-signs @debbiesthuglife
20 Feb 2017
Last week the London Mayor Shadiq Khan openly embraced Grime culture which was globally significant in marking Grime as part of the UK’s cultural fabric. Yet a poignant day for me was Friday the 2nd of December which marked the day that UK Grime Artist and Mercury Prize winner Skepta performed a sold out show to 10,000 at Alexandra Palace in London. This event clarified perfectly how the genre of Grime music had taken the nation by storm and maybe even the world. Elements of UK Grime have popped all over the planet, from America and Canada, all the way to Japan, and the culture only begins to grow more and more.
I first started to realise Grime was going worldwide when Skepta was featured on a remix of music mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ charting 2010 hit, ‘Hello Good Morning’. Considering the level of respect and success Diddy has acquired in the music industry, this was a very huge step regarding Skepta’s career. Diddy had given the Tottenham native another platform to succeed as an international star and it only excelled from there.
Also stemming from Tottenham was also upcoming Grime artist Chipmunk, known today as Chip. He managed to land a feature from the exceedingly talented US superstar, Chris Brown on his 2010 number 1 hit ‘Champion’.
These collaborations started to expose the world of Grime to those outside the UK and saw more opportunities for underground artists to become discovered. From Darq E Freaker’s collab with Danny Brown on ‘Blueberry’ to Giggs old school duet with B.O.B on ‘Don’t Go There’, the Grime scene was getting more and more recognition.
Then came the big one. Canadian heartthrob Drake co-signed (which means to support) artist Sneakbo in a Tim Westwood interview and UK Twitter ran into frenzy mode. From then on the acknowledgement of the Grime genre just became larger and greater. The likes of A$AP Rocky, Earl Sweatshirt and even The Weeknd have shown love for the UK inborn genre.
The turning point which led to the rest of the nation being socially aware of Grime was at the 2015 Brit Awards. American rapper Kanye West decided to premiere his new track ‘All Day’ with approximately 40 men including artists such as Skepta, Stormzy, Krept & Konan and many more in hoodies accompanying him on stage during his performance. This was the ultimate co-sign. To have what the public connotes Grime to, which is black men in urban attire, on primetime television showed the upmost support for this category of music.
It doesn’t stop there, more doors continued to open and even matching tattoos were debuted. Skepta was seen rocking an ‘OVO’ Owl which is the logo for Drake’s record label. Then Drake took to Instagram to show his brand new ‘BBK’ tattoo (Boy Better Know – which is Skepta’s and his brother JME’s independent record label). The union between US/Canada and the UK Grime scene was now bound for life. Plus Drake recently mentioned that he has made 4 tracks with UK rap legend Giggs, who originated from Grime and maintains strong ties to Grime heavyweight acts:
Today, the bond is still there. From the recognition and his hard work on his latest project ‘Konnichiwa’ Skepta has earned the 2016 Mercury Prize and 2017 NME Best Male. This was compounded with Wiley winning “The Outstanding Contribution To Music Award”. Grime group Section Boyz now how a full joint project with Chris Brown and Drake is even doing surprise appearances at their shows. But let’s not forget, the success of UK Grime isn’t just down to US and Canadian stars, the artist’s work ethic and perseverance is what put their stamp on the world