Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Grime Time Revisited

Previously I posted up some proper Grime songs with videos for my readership but the thing about Grime is that it's aesthetic is best understood when it's seen live. It was created as a live artform to be performed at open mics or raves, in the early days of Grime (2002-2005) most of the most memorable sets happened @ shows/raves and on pirate radio shows in and around London. The live element of spraying your bars with your crew interjecting and hyping it up is what made it so unique.

The Grime aesthetic and the Hip Hop aesthetic are different. Beats sometimes sound too fast (140 bpm+), too bass heavy and distorted or maybe in some cases too minimalist. Grime emcees often repeat their bars and do things to fill in time reminiscent of old school emcees during park jams. Oftentimes they sound like they're offbeat or even maybe a bar late. Keep in mind that they are an evolution of Garage and 2 step emcees with mostly Reggae and some Rap influences so they aren't emulating Elzhi, instead they're trying to be recognized as the top boys in Grime and nothing else.

I put together some of the best quality (video and audio wise) live Grime sets I could find on the 'net through YouTube (there are hundreds). Search for the Lord Of The Decks, Practice Hours, Risky Roads, Aim High clips and the list goes on to see what you'll find. Keep in mind that this artform was born from the 2 step/UK Garage scene and slowly evolved from 2000-2002 before completely obliterating that scene and becoming it's own animal in the Spring/Summer of 2002.

Here are some of my favorite live sets largely set @ Radio 1Xtra hosted by the (in)famous DJ/host Tim Westwood (You're still my boy Logan! Respect to Kiss and Adamantium Music):

Ghetto & Devlin (The Movement) and Lightnin-Westwood Radio 1Xtra

Skepta-Westwood Radio 1Xtra Freestyle

Trim & The Circle (Slayer Man, Crunch, Nitro & Swiftleng) @ Radio 1Xtra

Bashy-Westwood Radio 1Xtra Freestyle

Ghetto, Scorcher & Wretch 32 (The Movement)-Westwood Radio 1Xtra

Representing The Grime Youngers (Late 80’s & 90’s Babies):

Griminal straight killin’ it @ F Radio

Griminal & Lil’ Nasty (N.A.S.T.Y Crew)-Westwood Radio 1Xtra Freestyle

Griminal, Chipmunk & Brutal-Westwood 1Xtra Freestyle

Chipmunk-Westwwod Radio 1Xtra Freestyle

Wiley brings Chipmunk & Ice Kid to Westwood Radio 1Xtra



John Wilson said...

this opened my eyes without a doubt! its crazy how they're spitting at full steam with punchlines casually being dropped, especially that dude Ghetto w/ Devlin!

this leaves me with two questions:

1. have you dabbled with grime and actually record a song with this? your posting of demo joints done by yourself show you to be capable of riding the riddims; and

2. are there any quality USA MCs that have proved their adeptness at handling grime as well?

Dart Adams said...

@ Nikel:

I used to pretty rhyme like that when I was younger REGARDLESS of bpm back in 1991/2. I remember when I was told what bars were and that I shouldn't try to rhyme like Rakim in "The Punisher", BDK in "Nuff Respect" or 2Pac in "The Lunatic" on every verse.

As far as US MC's go I personally haven't heard any on the level with a Kano, Wiley, Ghetto, Devlin, Griminal or any of the several other top Grime emcees but they are quite a few American Grime/Dubstep emcees in CA (especially the Bay Area).


Elijah said...

Grime > Hip Hop.


grime is the sound, not the tempo

padraig said...

killin' it, Dart! also lol at Wiley lurking in the background in that last video while those kids are on the mic, old enough to be their dad an' all. Wiley stays winning, as ever.

I particularly like your points about the difference between the aims of grime & hip hop MCs - it's always difficult to explain to Americans that grime is coming out of rave culture (UK garage but also jungle before that) where the focus was on keeping the party moving, rewinds, big bars & all that (as well as clashing) rather than Rakim/BDK style lyricism. to be honest I always liked grime more for the sonics than the MCs w/a few notable exceptions (Trim, Durrty Goodz, early Dizzee, etc.). speaking of which I'll guess you've seen this monster pack of old-school instrumentals over at Dissensus -

Dart Adams said...

@ padraig:

I sure have and I will be incorporating them when I do the actual Grime blog on Monday or Tuesday next week.