Grime is the new wave.
It all started with two East London schoolboys in 2002, Rapid and Dirty Danger of the Ruff Sqwad. They started making experimental music on laptops they received from their parents when they were in eighth grade. Eventually their music gained traction through London’s pirate radio scene and the rest is history. Since then, the genre has exploded on an international level with a variety of male and female MCs and an even mix of OGs and youngsters.
Grime draws from a plethora of different genres, most notably UK garage, dancehall, house and electro. Songs usually hover around 140 beats per minute and have a heavy bass line.
Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker narrowed down the difference between grime and American hip hop, saying that hip hop is primarily dance music and, “grime sounds as if it had been made for a boxing gym, one where the fighters have a lot of punching to do but not much room to move.”
The aggressive “boxer” nature of grime was put on full display for American eyes at the 2015 BRIT awards where Kanye West mobbed the stage backed by both grime artists and American rappers. Since then there has been a lot of overlap and collaboration with grime MCs and American artists. Most notably, Drake’s signing with Skepta’s Boy Betta Know label earlier this year. Another staple of grime music is the fashion associated with the genre. Grime MCs are known for wearing track suits and Nike trainers, reminiscent of hip hop’s early days.
As grime continues to grow more and more of it will make its way overseas to US listeners. Take a listen to this playlist and get yourself acquainted with some of the best on the scene.