Is it time for a new grime?
Grime has had quite the couple of years after a quiet spell in the mid to late 00s. ‘German Whip’ acted as a catalyst in 2014 and led to BBK headline slots at Wireless, Skepta winning a Grammy and Stormzy breaking records for freestyles in the charts. Now in 2017, we’re seeing labels and mainstream radio giving airtime to a genre previously rooted in the underground. Stormzy’s collaborating with Little Mix, Lethal Bizzle’s back on the Radio 1 Playlist and brands are clamouring to work with grime artists.
We asked our resident music experts as well as some names from the music industry to see what they felt was going to be the next chartbothering genre:
Felicity Martin, Clash and DJ Mag: “It’s not exactly a resurgent genre as it is new, but I think Afrobeats is definitely going to be the next big thing – with people like J Hus, Kojo Funds. Dancehall’s also gonna be big for the rest of the 2017”
Andy Wilson, KISS FM: “It’s always hard to predict what’s next but I think the grime thing is going to kick around but you might see grime artists doing collaborations with more commercial artists. A lot like Stormzy & Ed Sheeran did.
Obviously dance is never going away and summer always brings a monster track. After seeing Liam G at the weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised if that brings a roll of guitar based music back – especially if the Oasis reunion ever happens!”
Rob Leary, Senior Account Manager at PrettyGreen: “Whether or not grime will be a flash in the mainstream pan like dubstep remains to be seen. As a genre it has a lot more substance and resonates with a huge part of the UK community, in particular lyrically. However, inevitably all genres have their time in the limelight, and the likes of Stormzy doing tracks with pop & rock acts like Little Mix and Linkin Park will possibly encourage current fans to look for the next ‘non-mainstream’ genre to champion.
Grime’s place in the mainstream has been a big talking point due to its status as an outsider-genre for so many years – and from a PR perspective we’re seeing many brands working with these cool new artists. However, all this talk I would argue can be a little exaggerated. Many forget that the charts are still very much dominated by pop music, the mainstream papers are still very much focused on talent akin to One Direction, and that indie band Blossoms beat grime hero Giggs to number one in August by almost 10,000 copies – which didn’t bring about a ‘return of indie music’ in the media.
However, it’s clear to see that the breakthrough into the mainstream has seen stars such as the aforementioned Stormzy and Giggs, Kano, and Skepta performing to huge crowds for their own gigs and on mainstream festival line-ups – which is great to see.
So, what’s next? Well, it’s hard to say and predict. I would suggest that grime will have its time as all genres do, and the next ‘craze’ will break through pushing grime towards a more established genre status. I’m hoping for a return of live drummers and real instruments being played…”
Adam Nealon, A&R at Secretly Group: “Post-punk and punk bands are definitely coming back, but I’m not sure it’ll be as big as grime. Bands like Fat White Family have laid the foundations for it. There’s a whole scene of them in South London that all play the Windmill in Brixton and loads of them have been signed in the last year or so.”
Joni Roome, Senior Account Executive at PrettyGreen: “The idea that grime has just popped in to the mainstream is a little misleading as it’s always been bubbling away. The brothers Adenuga: maturing Skepta and influential JME have certainly helped catch the mainstream attention along with the marketable Stormzy.
Grime has also been a genre aided by the democratisation of music production. No longer is recorded music the preserve of the super-rich with all the gear and no idea. Now beats can be made on phones and bars recorded in cupboards opening up the ability to put out music (good and bad!) to the world.
The most sell-able aspect of any new genre breaking through is ‘authenticity’ – that intangible bullshit term we know and love. Grime thrived because it spoke to people the way they speak in the same way indie rock grew because of the rough and ready sound and relatable lyrics of people like the Arctic Monkeys. Whatever the mainstream decides to latch onto next will have to speak to #millennials so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more bedroom producer/singer types like Jack Garratt make it big but with tunes about being woke rather than cookie cutter love songs.
Despite all of this, my main hope is that tropical house quickly drowns in its own Balearic basic-ness.”
Jonathan, Landlord of the White Bear pub: “I’m afraid I don’t know anything about grime but I wouldn’t mind an Oasis comeback!”