Do You Agree?

28 12 2008



Just Read this on Grime Forum.

Following the success of “Wearing my Rolex” and the subsequent signing of “Rolex Sweep”, Grime finds itself in a compromising situation. Finally, after so many years there is mainstream attention; however it is not for the correct reasons. “Wearing my Rolex” is certainly not a Grime track, but the fact this type of song has appealed to the masses leaves many of the scene’s artists in a strange state of affairs. Is it better to keep making Grime and stay underground, or shape your music into an accessible form for the rest of the UK?

It is understandable that the lure of the charts can have an effect on an artist. After all, the money in a Grime career is a mere percentage of the possible income available from just one chart hit. However, there is also the issue of integrity to consider. Realistically, a song like “Rolex Sweep” will only be a one hit wonder, if that. Also, it will almost certainly not lead to mainstream calls for an album, and even if it does, the general public will not buy a Grime-oriented album. Therefore, the best option for a Grime artist would be to carry on making mix tapes and satisfying the underground whilst every now and then releasing a pop track to target the charts. The only problem is if the draw of the charts will effectively kill of the Grime scene. Will money win over integrity?

Another point to consider is the supposed belief that Grime will be marketable in the US. The path of Dizzee Rascal has shown two problems with exporting the UK underground over the pond. Firstly, Grime albums will never sell well in the huge American market; Americans have their own style and do not view the alternative British style highly. This fact leads to a vicious circle, as the artist(Dizzee in this case) realises Grime will not sell well, he will perhaps start to water down his content and release more hip-hop style records. This may lead to an increase in sales, but not a significant one, and in changing to please the US public, the artist loses credibility and a lack of respect from Grime fans. The real question is whether this risk is worth it. Do the Grime artists really care about what their fans think of them as long as they are getting paid?

The alternative to journeying to the USA is making an album which the UK public will buy. This career path was famously taken by Kano. His album “London Town” was certainly geared towards impressing the wider population. The only problem with releasing a less Grime styled, and more Hip Hop album is that doing this will not necessarily equate to sales in the charts. As Kano made him name in the Grime scene, the fact “London Town” was his second studio album did not mean he was an established artist to the British public. Therefore, Kano was not guaranteed that his album would succeed, and needed to use many features. These features meant Kano lost even more respect from the Grime scene, releasing Hip Hop is bad enough, but then jumping on the band wagon and using the MySpace generation of artists such as Kate Nash shows a complete lack of musical integrity. However, not only Kano is to blame for this. Realistically, every Grime artist would like to eventually be signed; however the problem with this is it means there will always be some moderating you and your lyrics. Rather than being a Grime artist you become a product, one which will have to be amended to suit the public and one which may one day be axed. Grime, and even UK Hip-Hop are not wide-reaching enough to ensure label stability.

Taking these two examples into consideration, perhaps a different route to sales should be taken. Maybe the Grime scene has to realize that chart recognition, be it stateside or in England, will never be possible. Instead, the European market must be assessed. The problem with selling Grime to pop fans or Americans is that they do simply not like it; they are not fans and will probably never become them. Rather, Grime artists need to tap into the interest which is already apparent in other countries. Countries such as Poland, France and Bulgaria already have established markets and using the US example of exporting the music people love to those countries could be followed. The US is the home of Hip-Hop and just going into HMV shows how the UK has adopted American music. Therefore, being the home of a scene can result in mass sales. Surely the Poles, French and Bulgarians would buy our music if it was accessible to them.

Due to the relatively small size of the Grime fanbase and the significant impact of the internet, sales are never guaranteed even among “fans” of the music. Bootlegging is a big problem, and what many of the downloaders do not realisse( or rather choose not to realise) is that just listening to the music is not enough, that does not make you a fan. Getting the albums illegally may be easy, but it also means that you are effectively killing off the very scene you so enjoy. No wonder Grime artists look at alternative routes to success, at the end of the day being an MC is a job and the artists need to get paid. Sometimes money needs to be a bigger motive than popularity in the scene.




8 responses

28 12 2008
Chris Moran

Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

Chris Moran

28 12 2008
29 12 2008
Leslie lewis-walker

Some good points, but… I disagree… This whole
passage written is about keeping grime in a box!!
Why do that, why not allow evolution and growth… Hip Hop
in America is so not the same from the 90’s or 80’s era..

I say music is an expression, so if you feel to make music and it happens
to come out ‘POP’ so be it.. it may not be the purest form to the publics heart,
but to the person that made the music, it is pure to them…


Nice topic Bashy, would be interested to know your opinion..

29 12 2008

I read 1/4 of the article and I can’t read anymore. I just woke up and its 12:26PM here in America. I AINT EVEN EAT YET so bet im lazy lol.

So anyway. I was in Long Island, New York a good 2 or 3 weeks ago (I currently live in Florida.) I stopped by a West Field mall near my grandmum’s crib. So I walk in a Foot Locker and I hear this voice comming through the store speakers. Shocked I was! It was Dizzee’s voice on it but it wasn’t his chune. I don’t know the track at all but it sounded like rock i guess…

Anyway my point is Grime is gonna hit America 2009 and i most deff believe that!

Sway and Akon got a track up. I deff know thats gonna be bangin here no doubt. Mad pplz is bangin MIA’s Swagger. I’m bangin Bashy’s remix YOU DUN KNOW! Estelle is also gettin played here daily on da radio.

I’m sayin if yall get more chunes in with American artist dats goin stright to mainstream radio out here.

30 12 2008

Grime artists need to stay true to themselves……stop selling out trying to go mainstream and make music from your heart, that epitomises you……your music is an extension of yourself and all artists need to embody that.

I can’t stand it when I see artists blatantly switching up their music, as an attempt to make it mainstream. There’s a difference between an artist evolving and an artist completely changing who they are and what they’re music represents.

It’s like a business…..shareholders (fans) invest their money in a company (artists) and then the shareholders make a return on their investment. You can’t just make any kind of nonsense slap it on a CD call it a mixtape or an album and expect people to buy it.

So artists perfect your craft, stay true to yourself and give your fans something worth investing in!

30 12 2008

Real talk there still!

I do feel if grime artists had marketed their products in a more effective ways they sales would increase, there is a grey area of youths all around the uk and europe who are aware of the artist and would possibly buy but just dont know what the product is or when the product is out

independent artists and labels need to start putting some of that profit cash back in

31 12 2008

One thing that ticks me off is the way we gets no love really from the us, radio, airplay, interviews, props, see when american artists come over here and they are asked about UK artists they act dumb, take our money and run, nah enough of that I say we back our own and support them 100%.

why do we have to suck up to them and there music when we have our own scene that is unique to uk life and culture?? I’m not saying not to play there music, or buy it, but we should be looking about our own first, mtv base KMT, Mobo’s..KMT… etc etc..

also I agree that things are bubbling nice in the uk and just like how hip hop was diffferent in it’s first decade so is grime it will change I belive it will beocme more mainstream, just like hip hop, there will be different sub genre’s, gangster, down south, positve, etc etc…

I see the artists that are on top of the scene now as those back in the day in hip hop, wiley is like a busy bee type if you see me, as in his influence in the scene and how early he got in, we had all the crews like they did back then, watch ‘wildstlye’ and see the humble beginnings and look at it now, I see grime going the same way.

And all this talk about selling out is madness, most of the grime artists love grime to the bone, but ain’t nothing wrong with doing something different, wiley’s tings, rolex etc, slix & danger ‘Bethal Green’… branch out yes, thats how the scene grows, evolves and soon becomes unstoppable…

Gwan bashy…

u man are making away for the youngers to come through, sure it’s tough but with each generation it gets easier!

1 01 2009

I feel like Grime artist need to do what they thinks right. Its not about “selling out.” Music is Expression.
Pop music means popular music thats all. Dizzie’s “Dance Wiv Me” was big but it wasnt grime. You damm sure more people know about Dizzie Rascal now after workin with Calvin Harris. On the other hand we know a Grime tracks can make the charts, look at Lethals “Pow!” I think it hit the top 10? Sways probably got the right balance & I hope it stays that way with him. Signed to Konvict but still needs to keep it about the UK. It can only open doors working with Akon. And maybe the U.S will realise what ther missing out on
If we want to see more of the artist buy it! We need to support the scene to let it grow.
Marketing needs to be sorted in some areas. I kicked up a fuss at my HMV in Guildford because they havnt got enough grime/UK tunes.
MTV Base is ok but really what do they show thats UK, not alot. The Lick only gives a small 5mins section called About to Blow with RWD mag. Theres also Dubplate Drama but i cant think of much else. MTV Base viewers need a 30min show just on whats happening in the UK seen (maybe hosted by Ras Kwame or sumit). Just to educate some more about Grime/UK music

Big up 2 u Bashy!
much love 4 what your doing!

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