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Woebot
15-03-2005, 07:28 AM
This is Luka's idea, but it got stuck on the end of some thread here ages ago, so I'm bringing it back with the hope someone can help fill in the gaps/plump up the theory a bit more.

His assertion is that what differentiates Grime in the history of UK Dance Music (OK, lets be explicit, the Ardkore Continuum) is the high percentage of second generation Africans who constitute its ranks.

Luka's observation is that the African community is possibly more ambitious, more deliberately self-motivated and aspiartional than the historic Afro-Caribbean community here. OK this may be contentious but I think there must be a lot of truth in this. The Afro-Caribbean population came here en-masse in the 50s and early 60s to fulfill a shortage in low-paid work; they volunteered for a better life in the UK, only to be gradually disillusioned. Its this nature of their arrival here that many people have argued qualifies their relationship to the host country, less troubled than that of the Africans who were enslaved and brought to America, but still not exactly happy (even at points miserable and opressed).

The first generation Africans who came here on the other hand came looking for a better life entirely of their volition. They're determined to "succeed" here, and here I'm just guessing, I suspect they may even represent the higher ranks of their own middle classes at home, or at least those whose ambitions are frustrated by the status quo in their own original countries.

The Afro-Caribbean community in London has traditionally centred on the West of London, certainly up untill the eighties in Notting Hill Gate, though that community has been shattered by the rise of house prices. The rise of Newham and E3 (the East) must surely be significant as a re-orientation in the orientation of UK Black Street Politix, and the theory goes that (at least within the framework of Grime) this is because the African community makes up a large portion of the population there. The fierce East-West battles internal to London may be better understood within this context, as a tussle between two hegemonies, the old Afro-Caribbean one and the new African one (though I may be reading too much into things here)

Luka's sleuthery centres on the high proportion of second generation Africans within Grime. I know Lethal B (Maxwell Owusu) is one such character, we locked horns as to whether D Double was a second-gen African (Luka, probably correctly insists he isnt, family hails from St.Lucia, though I could have sworn he says something which contradicts on the AIm High DVD). I cant remember which other examples Mnsr. Bisto gave, though I'd be grateful if he refreshed my memory.

I suppose its one of those assertions that, while it doesnt change anything, throws an interesting light on proceedings. I'm also intrigued by the ramifications it might have for my "Shanty House TM" theory. Certainly one couldn't even begin to align something as parochial as drum and bass within a Global Ardkore community. It might also shed light on Desi's inclusion within the schema, perhaps some kind of gutter post-colonial cosmopolitanism (scuse the expression), an 'off-world' non-local perspective is what characterises these musics vis a vis Desi's still-strong links to Bollywood consumerism, even Dancehall Ragga's now pan-Caribbean aspect (strong flavours of Mento/Reggaeton/Calypso/The Clave etc).

Also makes me ponder whether this trans-Global Cosmopolitanism, while once the preserve of the ruling classes, is now quite the opposite essentially that which binds the post-colonial proletariat. You could even argue that the ruling class now aspires to a super localism.

simon silverdollar
15-03-2005, 08:39 AM
nice one matt. i was hoping someone was going to bring this up again.

some questions;
how big was the african influence over jungle? wasn't that an east london, rather than west london, sound, at least initially- coming from the same areas as grime, with the same (relatively) high proportions of african immgirants?
also, some people like to point out the links between african polyrhythms and jungle, don't they? how much truth is there in that?

also, just how far was the case that african immigrants 'came of their own volition', in so far as that implies a reasonable choice situation? weren't many trying to escape civil war and political oppression? [rwanda, somalia, sudan, idi amin in uganda etc- actually, isn't dizzee's mum from uganda?] so, if african immigrants ARE particularly ambitious or optimistic, could there be another reason for this than the one you highlight?


also, you can see grime as the closest the london underground sound has ever got to dancehall- sonically, lyrically and also uh 'structurally' [MCs giving their own cut of a popular rhythm track, a focus on clashing and competition etc]. so could grime be seen as the most caribbean, or even jamaican, of all the 'nuum sounds, rather than a distinctly african take?

Logan Sama
15-03-2005, 08:44 AM
I don't think this really has any bearing on anything.

Melchior
15-03-2005, 08:59 AM
I don't think this really has any bearing on anything.

How could it not have some bearing?

Pearsall
15-03-2005, 09:06 AM
I passed out while I was waiting for 24 to come on, so now I'm awake, so now I'll say something about this. ;)

Going back to this thread (http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?p=8439&highlight=remerdee#post8439) I said:


One thing I'd like to hear would be African-influenced grime/dubstep. After all, a lot of the people involved in the scene are from African backgrounds (Lethal B, much of Ruff Squad, Remerdee from Essentials, and many more I'm sure) and there's lots of stuff that's obviously inlfuenced by Jamaican music.

and Luke said:


i've beeen suggesting someone write something about the influece of african immigraion on grime since 2001 or whatever, i'd do it but i'm very white although my stepmum/bruv.sis/are african someone step up#its important

As far as I know guys who are definitely the children of African immigrants include Lethal B, most of Ruff Squad afaik (Tinchy's real name is Kwesi, for instance), JME, and Remerdee. I also found this thread (http://www.rwdmag.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=20600&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=african&start=0) on RWD, which doesn't really clear things up.

luka
15-03-2005, 09:45 AM
i said dee is jamacain actually!

from jamaca not st lucia

b/v
15-03-2005, 09:53 AM
why can't people just focus on the music? why does this anthropological stuff have to creep into everything? bunch of white guys talking about the relative qualities of african vs. afro-caribbean communties, no matter how informed, comes across as a bit off.

Pearsall
15-03-2005, 10:06 AM
The Afro-Caribbean community in London has traditionally centred on the West of London, certainly up untill the eighties in Notting Hill Gate, though that community has been shattered by the rise of house prices. The rise of Newham and E3 (the East) must surely be significant as a re-orientation in the orientation of UK Black Street Politix, and the theory goes that (at least within the framework of Grime) this is because the African community makes up a large portion of the population there. The fierce East-West battles internal to London may be better understood within this context, as a tussle between two hegemonies, the old Afro-Caribbean one and the new African one (though I may be reading too much into things here)

You're forgetting South london here, plus I don't think that East-West has much to do with Caribbean vs. African; its just standard neighborhood stuff (consider the pitched battles of the 70's and 80's between different football firms from different parts of London - the participants of which were mostly of the same white English backgrounds just differentiated by area). It's not like there's a clear-cut difference in terms of where the two groups live (see map here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/graphic/0,5812,1395103,00.html)). I think it's simply a matter of 'repping your ends' as opposed to some kind of regional background conflict (consider how much Ruff Squad, who are mostly from African backgrounds, work with Roll Deep, the black members of which are mostly from West Indian backgrounds as far as I know). Sometimes you can read too much into things.

Pearsall
15-03-2005, 10:11 AM
why can't people just focus on the music? why does this anthropological stuff have to creep into everything? bunch of white guys talking about the relative qualities of african vs. afro-caribbean communties, no matter how informed, comes across as a bit off.

I don't agree with this at all. These are interesting issues, and in general its quite fun to look at music and refract out to where people come from.

If you want a white example (since you are waving the dread 'off' about), it's not like you can seriously talk about country music without discussing American history, the White South, industrialization vs. pastoralism, transplanted Ulster Presbyterianism, Appalachian individualism, the frontier mentality, and so on.

luka
15-03-2005, 10:13 AM
that's a quote
'from jamacia not st. lucia' -d double e.-
east londons black population is not just african either, there's a significant west indian population too. it's a result of rising house prices, until recently you could afford to live in newham and tower hamlets. as prices rise there areas like ilford and dagenham are getting their own black populations. east london is the new power base.

the crux of this idea is that london's black population became a lot bigger as a result of african immigration in the 80s. if you look at grime's core audience, its young teenagers born in the 80s, in many cases the children of those same african immigrants or otherwise the children who grew up in a london changed by that wave of immigration. when i was at primary school in stratford and then plaistow africans were a rarity. you had white kids, afro-carribean kids and pakastani/indian kids and that was pretty much it. being african then had more of a stigma attached to it, i don't know how true that still is.

i think contrary to what simon claimed grime is actually the closest the continuum has come to US hiphop culture and my feeling is that hiphop represents something black kids of both west indian and african heritige can unite under. dancehall is still a huge influence of course but nothing like as big as it was in jungle, not even close. in jungle days people were wearing click suits and string vests now its akadmiks and new era and air force ones. and i think thats a significant shift and a telling one.

its not part of my argument to suggest grime is influenced by african music, i don't think it is.

it's saying grime is a symptom of a change in what it means to be black in london.

i wouldnt be suprised if a lot of ruff squad are first generation.

theres a much bigger african population in south than east too incidently.

gumdrops
15-03-2005, 10:18 AM
well, dizzee's nigerian i think, lethal b's family are originally from ghana.

b/v
15-03-2005, 10:27 AM
These are interesting issues, and in general its quite fun to look at music and refract out to where people come from.

fair enough. i think the jargon and term coining puts me off, but i recognise that there's an audience for this discussion. i'll just stop reading, and let you get on with it.

simon silverdollar
15-03-2005, 10:31 AM
my feeling is that hiphop represents something black kids of both west indian and african heritige can unite under. .

that's an interesting point

redcrescent
15-03-2005, 11:15 AM
Agreed, but didn't reggae do this before hiphop?

gumdrops
15-03-2005, 11:25 AM
my feeling is that hiphop represents something black kids of both west indian and african heritige can unite under.

you could say this about soul, ragga, reggae, whatever.

Pearsall
15-03-2005, 11:37 AM
Agreed, but didn't reggae do this before hiphop?

I'd imagine what Luke meant was that hip-hop can be sort of a 'neutral ground', that neither group is directly connected to.

Tactics
15-03-2005, 12:10 PM
as an African I have to say I like this post - I'll add my two cents when I do some work first....

luka
15-03-2005, 12:38 PM
thanks pearsall

Grievous Angel
15-03-2005, 01:36 PM
you could say this about soul, ragga, reggae, whatever.
No, I think that sentiment lacks precision. Many Africans in the past have identified with reggae, and some have found common currency with other diasporic black communities. I suspect that today African reggae is more what the parents of African immigrants would have been into. I could imnagine that rap has a lot more common cultural currency today. And don't forget the sometimes extreme divisions and conflicts that can exist between carribean and African imigrants in London and elsewhere. These issues are not easy to analyse and I submit should not be dismissed too easily, or "understood" too quickly.

gabriel
15-03-2005, 01:48 PM
dancehall is still a huge influence of course but nothing like as big as it was in jungle, not even close. in jungle days people were wearing click suits and string vests now its akadmiks and new era and air force ones. and i think thats a significant shift and a telling one.


yeah true but all the dancehall artists are now wearing these clothes too.. i'd imagine that if elephant man, vybz kartel and co were still wearing string vests (or anything else that us hip hop people don't wear), a signifcant number of young londoners (both grimy & not) would be as well...

plus lyrically, sonically and structurally grime surely owes much more to dancehall (style & pattern of rhyming, types of beats, use of patois and uk bastardisations of patois expressions, soundclashes, riddims etc) than hip hop.

luka
15-03-2005, 02:02 PM
i wouldn't want to say grime owes more to dancehall than hiphop no. a lot of english people do want to say that to distinguish grime from US hiphop but i don't think that's necessary. lets just say it's 50/50. i don't want to get bogged down in details here anyway, its a broad outline of an idea. lets not nitpick, its irritating.

stelfox
15-03-2005, 02:23 PM
dunno, i think it's totally equally weighted between the two in the rap v ragga argument. dancehall and hip-hop really are the default musics for black urban youth (well, all urban youth, really), no matter what their lineage - african, caribbean, whatever - and you can definitely hear this.
this is important to remember, in as much as while not every south asian kid in the uk is indian or hindu, desi has become the sound of south asian youth, regardless of whether the roots of this music have anything to do with where their families originally hail from. while it still exists and these kids are still aware of it you don't hear an awful lot of pakistani guzel singing in asian diasporic party music. bhangra is now the pop/dance ligua franca and that's almost exactly the way to look at african music in the context of grime, when juxtaposed with hip-hop/ragga.
this is not to say that absolutely *all* of these things don't completely cross cultural borders, affect everyone and end up bleeding together at some point, though (as they absolutely should), otherwise there'd be no timbaland, lenky etc etc and i'd not know half as much about it as i do.
anyway, in short, i'm not saying that african music doesn't have an influence (it does, remember wiley talking to martin c about taking trips to sterns?), but you still need to look to ragga and rap as the foundations and cornerstones - anything else is paint on the walls, important and often beautiful but not holding the building up. in fact, i'd go as far as to contend that ragga/soundsystem culture is perhaps the single most important common denominator and binding factor in the whole ardkore 'nuum.

blissblogger
15-03-2005, 02:29 PM
>why does this anthropological stuff have to creep into everything? bunch of white guys talking about the >relative qualities of african vs. afro-caribbean communties, no matter how informed, comes across as a >bit off.

this reminds me a bit of the MIA-debate, a bizarre squeamishness about talking about race (and class), how can you even discuss these musics and what they mean and why they matter, without talking about this stuff?

i would have thought the differences of countries of origin, while very interesting (it's also always interesting to be reminded that there's more to the Caribbean than Jamaica, dozens of islands all with their own peculiar histories and ethnic compositions), gets pretty much subsumed within a black British identity. and it's a sufficiently broad one that a lot South Asian kids can buy into it.

hip hop as the lingua negra or summat

stelfox
15-03-2005, 02:46 PM
>(it's also always interesting to be reminded that there's more to the Caribbean than Jamaica, dozens of islands all with their own peculiar histories and ethnic compositions), gets pretty much subsumed within a black British identity. and it's a sufficiently broad one that a lot South Asian kids can buy into it.

hip hop as the lingua negra or summat

yeah, you need to go to a good soca bash to be reminded of this in pretty grand style - hordes of people waving different flags in the air, each one from a different caribbean island, going berserk. the fact that soca is actually a fusion of calypso and bhangra anyway is also pretty interesting, because you'd think that if any caribbean music would naturally hit a south asian audience hard it would be this. however, it doesn't really. it's just that hip hop and dancehall are the loudest voices for whatever reason (leverage within the marketplace is a big part of it in hip-hop's case, but plain listenability is a pretty big consideration... too much soca does my nut in, personally, even though i do love it).

luka
15-03-2005, 04:19 PM
i think the point that's being made though simon is that 'black british identity' is being redefined by this new generaion of africans.

Blackdown
15-03-2005, 04:37 PM
couldn't it be possible to put too much emphasis on the guiding influence of ethnic background? remember so much of grime was a rejection of the (immediate) 2step past, a response to local environment and daily beefs/politics.

what about the influence of grime artist's own creativity and free will, their ability to change their own musical paths? you can see grime's link with dancehall begin in Wiley's "Ice Rink" versions, but in no way can you draw a link to dancehall with the wierd, harsh sonics he chose in that track.

surely grime (or any creative genre) is greater than the sum of its influences and ethnic origins?

Noah Baby Food
15-03-2005, 04:37 PM
Not sure about this thread. Don't wanna diss anyone but this comes across as overly earnest and a bit 'tourist-y', get me? Think some of this chat is basically analyzing things to death. Let's keep some of the magic...

ambrose
16-03-2005, 12:44 AM
dancehall and hip-hop really are the default musics for ...(well, all urban youth, really),


er.................

dont think so

JanuaryinGermany
16-03-2005, 01:49 AM
the fact that soca is actually a fusion of calypso and bhangra anyway is also pretty interesting, because you'd think that if any caribbean music would naturally hit a south asian audience hard it would be this. ).

This is the first I've heard of this fusion. Tell me more. Bhangra is mainly Sikh Punjabi music; I thought that it was mainly (indentured) Hindus who migrated to the Caribbean.

gabriel
16-03-2005, 02:01 AM
there's a quite a lot of stuff which gets called 'chutney' which is basically soca style beats but with indian-sounding melodies, instrumentation and so on. i've always thught of this as an offshoot of soca rather than the other way round, though; the indian population of trinidad&tobago etc doing their take on the older soca style, in the same way bhangra/desi in the uk is the asian take on r'n'b/hiphop/garage/house/d&b/dancehall/whatever. maybe not though, maybe it's been a parallel thing for years. all the chutney i know is from the past few years only. .. anyone? either way, i don't know about the different origin of those that make chutney in caribbean and bhangra in the uk though.

Woebot
16-03-2005, 06:00 AM
This is the first I've heard of this fusion. Tell me more. Bhangra is mainly Sikh Punjabi music; I thought that it was mainly (indentured) Hindus who migrated to the Caribbean.

I don't think anyone's suggesting a fusion at all. I don't think you could find any explicitly African influence on Grime at all. Obv Afro-American.

arcaNa
16-03-2005, 08:06 AM
-off topic, BTW, but just had to say it:
Listening to Grime from norway is just like sitting on mars and hearing an alien broadcasting...! :D :cool:

redcrescent
16-03-2005, 10:05 AM
Chutney soca / soca chutney

(=popular music of the Indo-Caribbean community of Trinidad and Tobago.)

JanuaryinGermany is OTM about bhangra (Punjabi/Sikh/North Indian) and indentured servants in the West Indies (who mainly came from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and the Madras area/Hindu/Western + Southern India). The early influences for what would later be called chutney soca were Bhajans (devotional songs, sung in Creolized Hindi), Bollywood (filmi) songs/melodies and ghazals (non-devotional 'light entertainment' songs), although the instrumentation is quite similar to bhangra (dhols, dholaks, tablas, tassa drums, sitars, harmoniums, etc.) A good article on the history of chutney music here (http://www.saxakali.com/caribbean/Hemchandra1.htm).

If you want to hear what chutney soca sounds like, check here (http://trinimusic.com/listen.php3). Slightly dated tracks from the 1998 Chutney Soca Monarch competition, but what the heck.
The ruling Chutney Soca Monarch is Heeralal Rampartap (full listing of Carnival 2005 winners here (http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/car_results).)

A very good compilation (budget, too!) is Hot and Spicy Chutney (1998?) on the (now defunct?) Nascente label. Well worth scouring the bargain bins for.

If you drop reggaeton, desi bhangra, vallenato/merengue/bachata and/or (obv.) soca, this kind of stuff works great.

Apart from chutney soca, Trini soca (itself the 'pop' form of calypso/kaiso) has produced some amazing fusions.
Rapso (Rap/soca), e.g. Brother Resistance (who, incidentially, is a devout Rastafarian)
Parang soca (Mix of soca with native Indian guitar-based parang, mostly Spanish lyrics), e.g. Crazy "Parang Soca"
Jamoo (soca with less bacchanal, more spiritual feel)

Off topic, apologies.

worrior
16-03-2005, 11:11 AM
Thought my trip to the Royal Festival Hall last night might throw some light on possible African connections (musically/culturally) with E London grime. Anyone else at this? Dizzee was advertised as collaborating with the Nigerian-born afro-beat drummer Tony Allen. Thought might prove interesting what with Dizzee's Nigerian roots, and similar off kilter beats. But transpired Dizzee and Tony Allen were performing separately. So maybe any connections are more imposed by the well-meaning bloggerati (and south bank festival organizers). A lot of youth next to me left during Tony Allen to reappear later for Dizzee, and hard to equate Allen's languid and organic Afro-funk/jazz/rock with Dizzee's rapid-fire delivery and synthetic beats.
Dizzee's mum apparently was in the royal box though.

gabriel
16-03-2005, 12:17 PM
A very good compilation (budget, too!) is Hot and Spicy Chutney (1998?) on the (now defunct?) Nascente label. Well worth scouring the bargain bins for.

Off topic, apologies.

more off topic, sorry... thanks for the info. nascente records still alive and kicking, just released a comp called urban latino with a few reggaeton tunes on there (also latin hiphop/r'n'b) and about to do a an entirely reggaeton cd in the next few months. will get scouring :D

redcrescent
16-03-2005, 11:18 PM
X, good to hear that about Nascente. They had some fine comps a while back, you could listen in on a variety of stuff for very little money. I'll look out for the reggaeton one for sure. If you can't get a hold of Hot & Spicy, PM me your address and I'll send you a copy.

Checked your recent Heatwave mix off scandalbag (http://www.scandalbag.com) a few days back, now again, I really rate it. Heatwave vs Más Fuego sounds like a great party. If I were in London this Fri I know where I'd be! Do big this up in the main forum.

Much more off topic...

Grievous Angel
17-03-2005, 10:48 AM
I don't think anyone's suggesting a fusion at all. I don't think you could find any explicitly African influence on Grime at all. Obv Afro-American.
I think I am, now.

I read in yesterday's evening standard that Dizzee's just done a gig with Tony Allen where he was explicitly fusing grime rhythms and rapping with afrobeat instrumentation.

I quite like the sound of that.

It talked about one motivation of Dizzee doing it being that he wanted to re-connect with his Ghanaian background.

Interesting connection.

So overall it seems like Luka was onto something big style.

hint
17-03-2005, 11:34 AM
I read in yesterday's evening standard that Dizzee's just done a gig with Tony Allen where he was explicitly fusing grime rhythms and rapping with afrobeat instrumentation.

I quite like the sound of that.

vs.


Thought my trip to the Royal Festival Hall last night might throw some light on possible African connections (musically/culturally) with E London grime. Anyone else at this? Dizzee was advertised as collaborating with the Nigerian-born afro-beat drummer Tony Allen. Thought might prove interesting what with Dizzee's Nigerian roots, and similar off kilter beats. But transpired Dizzee and Tony Allen were performing separately.

so... which was it? did dizzee's gig actually include any afrobeat instrumentation, specifically for the occasion?

jenks
17-03-2005, 11:40 AM
mate of mine went and he backs up worrior - the kids politely waiting for the african dancers and musicians to get off the stage before the arrival of the rascal

b/v
17-03-2005, 12:52 PM
The foremost figure in British hip hop did not achieve his status, record sales, and numerous awards without putting on first-class gigs, and last night was no exception.

Few in this eminent venue would have felt comfortable at a typical Dizzee Rascal show. But as he began his set in unusually understated style, sitting on a chair to perform the aptlynamed Sitting Here, it was clear that he had brought some of his fan base with him.

Leaping from their seats and mobbing the stage area, his teenage devotees held aloft a sea of mobile phones in the manner in which a previous generation used to sport lighters.

The performance, which featured well-received support from Nigerian drummer, Tony Allen, was part of the Africa Remix festival, celebrating African acts and those with an African link. What's Rascal's connection with Africa? The obvious answer is that he was born to a Ghanaian mother, but there was more to it than that.

In an a cappella free-style, he created his own, complex time signatures as he spat improvised lyrics to the head-nodding delight of all sections of this varied audience.

He may have ended with the catchy, Captain Sensible-inspired Dream, followed by hits Fix Up, Look Sharp and Stand Up Tall, but he made few concessions to mainstream sensibilities.

The bulk of his set consisted of the tough hip hop and "grime" beats that are least accessible to outsiders. This decision cost him the crazed response he may have received for a more melodious set.

But, in common with many African musical genres, his was a sound that had little to do with melody and everything to do with rhythm - a complex, stimulating rhythm that was hard to follow, but impossible to ignore.

hmm.

no, there was no collaboration or crossover of material. tony allen just played a support set, and apologised for holding up the main act. was a shame, since i'd also been intrigued at the idea there might be some form of collaboration, especially after the guest appearance with matthew herbert seemed to have opened that door.

raskit played a fairly straight set - all album or single versions, no other material, no fix up/lean back or reloads. the audience might have had something to do with that - so many really young kids and their parents.

stelfox
17-03-2005, 01:03 PM
er.................

dont think so

ok, enlighten me, what is (the deliberately extremely loose category of) urban youth listening to, if not hip-hop, r&b, ragga etc?
even if i'm wrong (which i very much doubt i am), you can't deny that hip-hop is the point in the venn diagram where pretty much everyone crosses over. it gets to a lot of people.

re the soca/bhangra thing, i'm talking more contemporarily. right now bhangra is the indian element you can really hear, on the evidence of recent trends in the music - the dhol riddim, tracks like sharon darlington's (absolutely awesome) "bhangra" etc. (if i was trying to sketch out the outset of soca's development i'd have just said a much rougher "indian music", because i don't know much more than that, so it's good that someone's laid it all out clearly for future reference!) also interesting because it seems that bhangra has become the dominant "source" music there, not just to sikhs but to other sections of the south asian community, just as i was saying it had in the uk.

ambrose
17-03-2005, 01:35 PM
just seemed a pretty london centric view

up north, all i hear from cars in leeds is bassline house, which is more rave/ hardcore influenced than any sort of influence from dancehall/hip hop. all ive ever heard from cars in scotland is brutal happy hardcore. seems that way in newcastle too but ive never been there.

stelfox
17-03-2005, 02:01 PM
well it is where i live, so that would make sense and in any case, it's where good stuff happens.
i think, in terms of stuff that's actually important, you can rule the north of england out of any cultural discussion after acid house, anyway.
(i am a northerner, by the way, before anyone goes apeshit at me).
also, in the context of this thread, london is by far the most integrated city in the country, and perhaps one of the only places where an influx of african immigration could, within the span of one generation, begin to influence youthcult at large.
(i'm still sceptical about whether it has that much, but here i'm only talking about the environment indeed making it at least conceivable).

Tactics
17-03-2005, 02:03 PM
i dont know how this relates but here I go: my production team, BreakBeat Productions, make all kinds of black music from garage/grime/NUKG to drum n bass to rap. I dont know how it happened but nearly all of us are 2nd gen Ghanaians- I am, so is V.I.C, Blakk Cosmos I think (but he's jus too mysterious), Boy Wonder is, Nii-O is, Afrikan mos def is and so is T.A.Anderson. This was not done on purpose but jus happened.

I am now more drawn to garage sonically as its kitchen sink approach is interesting but I feel it is missing that African element - being mostly all pan africanists (except for V.I.C) we now are making attempts to translate that sound and approach, mainly our shared Ghana sound, into our music as we know how important that is to have the roots there and with interesting results - some Nii-O (he's the doing the most right now) beats are on the soundclick page and he is determined to fuse elements from bands like Mogwai with Obisi (or as the west calls it highlife) in garage and stuff like that. In fact the diaspora is a big influence on all of us but it has to have THAT feeling which a lot of UK stuff is missing. I dont know how to describe it but the Alias (garage Alias on d n b one) stuff is the stuff we definately aint tryna do.

Thats my two cents.

Woebot
18-03-2005, 05:22 AM
Dizzee was advertised as collaborating with the Nigerian-born afro-beat drummer Tony Allen. Thought might prove interesting what with Dizzee's Nigerian roots, and similar off kilter beats. But transpired Dizzee and Tony Allen were performing separately. So maybe any connections are more imposed by the well-meaning bloggerati (and south bank festival organizers). A lot of youth next to me left during Tony Allen to reappear later for Dizzee, and hard to equate Allen's languid and organic Afro-funk/jazz/rock with Dizzee's rapid-fire delivery and synthetic beats.
Dizzee's mum apparently was in the royal box though.

A friend of mine put that together. I have to confess I hated the idea the moment I heard about it. So they ended up performing separately? That was a bit of a con though must have been something of a blessing.

Did you see that Africa:Remix show at the Hayward. It started out quite well, brilliantly even but lost some focus and energy towards the end. I liked the binliners taped together and the oildrum voodoo totems the most.

sean downes
18-03-2005, 06:08 AM
what about how african accents and speech patterns effect the way mcs spit? like, the way down south us rappers speak strongly influences the way they rap, with slow drawls that are often conversational and ______. i definitely think with someone like dizzee for instance, the nigerian accent & speech pattern informs his flow; very pointed and brash, precise pronunciation of syllables and enunciation of ideas. the other obvious one is shifty ridoz, who sounds so completely different to any other mc in garage, you can sometimes hear the faint remnants of a french accent in his voice.

Logan Sama
18-03-2005, 07:38 AM
SKU or "Skuffa" who used to roll with SLK still MC's in a strong african accent. He's the only MC I've heard do it. It sounds big.

luka
18-03-2005, 09:53 AM
yeah good point sean, i'll add that to the theory next time someone asks me about it and take the credit for it!

worrior
21-03-2005, 09:23 AM
A friend of mine put that together. I have to confess I hated the idea the moment I heard about it. So they ended up performing separately? That was a bit of a con though must have been something of a blessing.

Didn't realise there was such close connection between this thread and that event! ;)


Did you see that Africa:Remix show at the Hayward. It started out quite well, brilliantly even but lost some focus and energy towards the end. I liked the binliners taped together and the oildrum voodoo totems the most.

Went on Friday, enjoyed it, particularly the utopian city made of rubbish and the belly-dancer trying to gyrate to the French national anthem, and staying on topic, discovered that Kano is a city-state in Nigeria.

Most of the dissensus crowd will have seen this but does clearly show how complex ethnicitiy is in London today
http://www.guardian.co.uk/graphic/0,5812,1395103,00.html

zhao
29-01-2008, 06:34 PM
I don't think you could find any explicitly African influence on Grime at all. Obv Afro-American.

but when you listen to a Ghanian HipLife tune like this (http://www.zshare.net/audio/657342677285f0/)... is it me or does it sound a bit grimy?

slackk
30-01-2008, 01:09 AM
zhao, can i get any instrumental versions of that sort of stuff? the vocals kill it for me, i've never liked that african singing style.

zhao
30-01-2008, 07:28 AM
zhao, can i get any instrumental versions of that sort of stuff? the vocals kill it for me, i've never liked that african singing style.

really? i love love love hiplife vocal styles. this might not be a top tune far as that's concerned but when they do that part reggae, part arabic, and part who knows what else thing... it just doesn't get better than that. i'll see about posting a couple more showcasing not rhythm pattern but voice...

no one out there think this sounds at least a BIT grimy? have yet to try it but i am almost certain this would work in a grime/niche set.

instrumentals, i think i have a few... at the moment my access to hiplife is limited to what i find on the nets. but i just met some dudes from Ghana, who are crazy music heads... and i will try to swindle some dope from them :D

slackk
30-01-2008, 05:42 PM
i think it sounds a little like the grimier end of funky that i've been hearing a bit amid the stuff that sounds about 8 years old and shit. i can see where you're coming from, like.


really? i love love love hiplife vocal styles. this might not be a top tune far as that's concerned but when they do that part reggae, part arabic, and part who knows what else thing... it just doesn't get better than that. i'll see about posting a couple more showcasing not rhythm pattern but voice...

Just grates for the most part. My old neighbours used to play this shit non-stop and it drove me mad. They may have been into the worst end of the scene but it was painful.

Mr. Tea
30-01-2008, 08:40 PM
zhao, can i get any instrumental versions of that sort of stuff? the vocals kill it for me, i've never liked that african singing style.

That's weird (to me) - I don't know the first thing about grime or bassline or any of that stuff and just occasionally glance at these threads from time to time to see if any MP3s have been put up that I might heducate myself with...I really like the singing on this song but the music sounds like something put together on a Casio keyboard in about five minutes, and not in a good way...just one of those things I guess.

Sick Boy
01-02-2008, 05:50 AM
no one out there think this sounds at least a BIT grimy? have yet to try it but i am almost certain this would work in a grime/niche set.

Yeah, I can see what you're getting at. It's all about those two snares on the two and three. Sounds a bit like Apocalypto riddim. I'm pretty sure this shit would be a buzzkill in a grime/niche set though, as much as I don't oppose it :)

zhao
01-02-2008, 06:14 AM
nah all 3 of you are wrong :) the vocals sound fucking great, the beats sound at least as good as the vocals, and hiplife like this and the coupé-décalé i've been getting into will work like an irresistable booty charm in my set alongside grime (but prolly before niche). you'll see :)

Pestario
01-02-2008, 05:25 PM
I can see the grime connection - needs more brappage tho ;)

gumdrops
01-02-2008, 06:14 PM
not grime but ty (on big dada) always sounds to me like his flow has some nigerian cadences to it.

zhao
01-02-2008, 06:52 PM
needs more brappage tho ;)

as does most everything under the sun :)

luka
01-02-2008, 07:58 PM
ty is nigerian as far as i know. and black twang. and about a hundred other english hip-hop acts.

Tablet
06-02-2008, 12:32 AM
Seems to me this whole "discussion" is based on trying to read into an observation that has absolutely nothing to do with anything. What point are you trying to establish? Grime is better for it? Worse for it? or just different? there have been equal amounts of Afro-caribs and africans in UK Dancehall (Fluff 1, Dolomite), UK HIp Hop and Grime.


Dizzee's flow is influenced by his Nigerian accent? That is not a Nigerian accent it is a bow accent. Most of the people you are talking about have london accents or accents specific to their zones? You all need to slow down a bit,

Tablet
06-02-2008, 01:07 AM
Jungle also had many African MCs and producers as did UK garage. Cant see what is different about grime. Dont see wha point was originally being made. UK dancehall and Jungle were probably equally as successful as grime if not more so (Sweetie Irie, General Levy).

BV and Logan said it: nothing to do with anything, a bunch of white guys getting anthropological about black people is always scary


An interesting point is the number of Ghanaians in the music industry: check this list:

Dizzee (50%)
Lethal B
Tempa T
Twin B
Ras Kwame
Melvin (Ricky and Melvin)
Apple
Statik
"Tony Tagoe (Deal Real)
Richard Antwi (music lawyer Jack Penate, Hot Chip etc)
Tinchy Strider (and most of Ruff Squad)
Reggie Yates
Sway
Kwame Kwaten
Danny D (manager of stargate producers)
Mitchell Brothers
Vertex
Sammy
June Sarpong
Derren B
Napper
Radical D
Slix
Manny Norte
Kanya King
Abrantee
Lisa I'anson
DJ XL
Big L
Blemish

props to the lad who drew for the King David - but check my page, I'll upload the track that dones Afrikiko, Gold Coast, Coronet, Rex, manjaro and every Ghanaian party around the globe and check out Apietous - he is like the Ghanaian version of Pharrell -

"we are dem boys from Ghana and don't pet to bang!"

mistersloane
06-02-2008, 01:13 AM
I'm not sure but I kinda was reading the thread as saying 'what other influences from people making grime makes grime so good?', y'know, what were people listening to when they were brought up, that's how I read it anyway. Which is funny cos the Ghanaians I know listen to Tracey Chapman and Joss Stone.

luka
06-02-2008, 04:12 AM
africans form bow and west indians from bow and cockneys from bow all talk simialrly but if you cant tell them apart theres something wrong with your ears.

mistersloane
06-02-2008, 04:14 AM
africans form bow and west indians from bow and cockneys from bow all talk simialrly but if you cant tell them apart theres something wrong with your ears.

and eyes! don't think anyone was sayin that though, was it? Good to hear you had a good year though luka, keep it up man/lady/person whatever, think it was more talking about the music influences but I dunno, I ain't defending a thread.

luka
06-02-2008, 04:19 AM
Dizzee's flow is influenced by his Nigerian accent? That is not a Nigerian accent it is a bow accent. Most of the people you are talking about have london accents or accents specific to their zones? You all need to slow down a bit,


really?

Tablet
06-02-2008, 08:29 AM
really?

Not being very clear in a forum of journos, what I am saying is that you are looking for things that are not there. For example, take the following artists: Foxy Brown, Seal, Dizzee, Kano. You cannot tell me that by listening to their voice you can pinpoint the coutry their parents came from. You are talking about second generation black people born in London or he UK or the US. They do not have the accents of their parents, Tinchy, Dizzee, Wiley etc sound like they are from East, Bashy speaks like a NW boy, South Boys have their own spin on words, words like mucky and messy came from so solid, their flows are more influenced by their post code than where their parents came from.

To say you ca n hear somehing nigerian in dizzees flow is stupid. rust me, i know what a nigerian accent sounds like. Don't get me wrong there are a few artists that have influenced flows: that kid in firecamp that everyone says they cannot understand (Jamaican) Shizzle (Jamaican) Tempa T (when he speaks you know he is Ghanaian, even some of his spitting) Napper (has a Ghanaian twang). But they all lived in those countries and so have soeech influenced by the country. You cannot pick up an accent from a country without having lived there. You do not get it from your parents.

Tablet
06-02-2008, 08:30 AM
Turn the bass up on this

Alhaji

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luka
06-02-2008, 08:35 AM
so you are really trying to tell me that if you took 40 boys from bow, 10 'indingienous cockneys' ten 2nd generation bengalis, 10 3rd generation west indians, 10 3nd generatoin west africans and 10 2nd generation somalis you couldn't tell me which was whch in a blondfold test. cos i know i could.

luka
06-02-2008, 08:38 AM
give them a script to read out. same words for everyone. it would be so easy. you can tell lethal b, dizzee, etc have african roots, you can tell devlin is white, you can tell trim has west indian roots. or at least you can if you grew up in london.

Tablet
06-02-2008, 08:50 AM
so you are really trying to tell me that if you took 40 boys from bow, 10 'indingienous cockneys' ten 2nd generation bengalis, 10 3rd generation west indians, 10 3nd generatoin west africans and 10 2nd generation somalis you couldn't tell me which was whch in a blondfold test. cos i know i could.

I'm telling you that you can't listen to Trim, Demon and Akala withou seeing them and tell where there parents are from - the difference is less pronounced between west indians and africans,

Tablet
06-02-2008, 08:53 AM
as i said above there will be those you can tell - but answer this: can you tell Ras Kwame is from Ghana?

luka
06-02-2008, 09:03 AM
but seriously though, imagine that experiment. did you go to school in london? cos if you did you know i'm right. i know 2nd generation african kids don't speak like the comedy nigerian student in the real mccoy anymore but c'mon. to say that if you are 2nd gerneation your accent no longer reflects your parents place of birth is absurd.

this is a non-issue though.
you don't think i should be speculating about any potential influence 1st and 2nd generation africans may have had on grime. ok. don't talk to me then.
i think its a pretty interesting topic for ideal specualtion. i was born in forest gate hospital. i grew up in stratford. when i was in primary school there were very few children from an african background. those there were were usually teased by the children from west indian backgrounds. by the time i got to 6th form there were gangs like the network and african devils, mcs like dizzee and lethal b. things seemed to have changed. i find those changes interesting.

luka
06-02-2008, 09:05 AM
that should read
idle specualtion
not ideal.

and i can see why you might feel uncomfortable with the opening post on this thread. i don't have any desire to pontificate on 'hard working' africans or 'feckless' west indians.

zhao
06-02-2008, 09:12 AM
some of these points have been mentioned earlier but:

specific accents and speech patterns aside, there is also the question of deeper musical influence. characteristics like polyphony, seemingly chaotic polyrhythms, double-time flow, "harsh" textures, raw sonics, a-tonality (in western sense), the setting aside of melody and intense focus on rhythm. all of these things in grime, IMO things that makes it so interesting and good, can be construed as having, maybe not always directly, at least partial African influence.

zhao
06-02-2008, 09:17 AM
oh and bigup tablet for the tune. nice. z-man wants more!

Tablet
06-02-2008, 09:41 AM
some of these points have been mentioned earlier but:

specific accents and speech patterns aside, there is also the question of deeper musical influence. characteristics like polyphony, seemingly chaotic polyrhythms, double-time flow, "harsh" textures, raw sonics, a-tonality (in western sense), the setting aside of melody and intense focus on rhythm. all of these things in grime, IMO things that makes it so interesting and good, can be construed as having, maybe not always directly, at least partial African influence.

Speaking only for the Ghanaians - I can say that the above description doesn't fit the ghanaian music they would have grown up with Ben Brako, Kwadjo Antwi etc... ineresting adjectives: chaos, harsh, raw.. there are many other things that the above description fits but we won't get into that


I think the sound is more a reaction to the "sweetboy garage" that went before and owes more to Bashment, hardcore, jungle, hip hop sonically than it does to african music... I don't think you can demonsrate indirectly how africans in grime (predominantly nigerian and ghanaian) have shaped their sound by way of their musical upbrining (Hilife etc) give us some reference tracks instead of adjectives... only obvious exception is Sweet Mother (Prince Nico Mbarga) and skepta's rehash

Transpontine
30-03-2008, 06:26 PM
This is a great bit of footage of Spike Jonze hanging out at Afrikan Boy's flat in Woolwich:

http://www.vbs.tv/video.php?id=1150622763

I've posted about it at Transpontine (http://transpont.blogspot.com/2008/03/afrikan-boy.html)

gumdrops
30-03-2008, 09:38 PM
I think the sound is more a reaction to the "sweetboy garage" that went before and owes more to Bashment, hardcore, jungle, hip hop sonically than it does to african music...

bang on.

stelfox
31-03-2008, 10:27 AM
the african influence is way more important to the way funky house is developing than it ever was to grime, as far as i can see

zhao
02-04-2008, 08:21 AM
the african influence is way more important to the way funky house is developing than it ever was to grime, as far as i can see

how so?

slackk
02-04-2008, 08:58 AM
the african influence is way more important to the way funky house is developing than it ever was to grime, as far as i can see

Definitely agree, the drum patterns are going that way in a lot of respects.

stelfox
02-04-2008, 09:59 AM
apple's stuff and ng's stuff particularly. it's totally highlife/mzansi-influenced. on one of the crazy cousins radio sets i have, there's a significant chunk that sounds like afro house, filtered through hardcore (ie more bass than in mzansi stuff or US afrocentric shit), played in a jamaican style... lots of lick-backs, rough mixes and yelling. it's awesome. i've been listening to this stuff a lot lately.

stelfox
02-04-2008, 10:31 AM
@ zhao... what i mean is: saying that african culture had any real tangible effect of the instrumental rhythms and textures of grime was always a massive reach. sure, grime's subject matter brought in all kinds of references to african identity, its vocal cadences could be said to be influenced by african accents/creoles etc, certain themes draw directly from africa, but this was really secondary to the influence of jamaican soundsystem culture — grime always had way more to do with dancehall than any other thing. now the way that funky is played by certain DJs and some elements of its production may reference the UK/JA link (in the production, it's little more than a trace or a hint now), but the actual rhythms and structure of the music, the way it swings, the sounds used, are explicityly african in many places. it's the first time in british urban music, as far as i can see, where african influence is superseding that of jamaica

zhao
02-04-2008, 10:50 AM
apple's stuff and ng's stuff particularly. it's totally highlife-influenced. on one of the crazy cousins radio sets i have, there's a significant chunk that sounds like afro house, filtered through hardcore (ie more bass than in mzansi stuff or US afrocentric shit), played in a jamaican style... lots of lick-backs, rough mixes and yelling. it's alwesome. i've been listening to this stuff a lot lately.

that DOES sound awesome. any links to mixes or streams?

mistersloane
02-04-2008, 11:09 AM
@ zhao... what i mean is: saying that african culture had any real tangible effect of the instrumental rhythms and textures of grime was always a massive reach. sure, grime's subject matter brought in all kinds of references to african identity, its vocal cadences could be said to be influenced by african accents/creoles etc, certain themes draw directly from africa, but this was really secondary to the influence of jamaican soundsystem culture — grime always had way more to do with dancehall than any other thing. now the way that funky is played by certain DJs and some elements of its production may reference the UK/JA link (in the production, it's little more than a trace or a hint now), but the actual rhythms and structure of the music, the way it swings, the sounds used, are explicityly african in many places. it's the first time in british urban music, as far as i can see, where african influence is superseding that of jamaica

I'd like to hear that too, I know what you're saying but it isn't really an African influence, is it? It's much more of a Giles Peterson Brazilian coffee table influence that's made by African Londoners. West London soul boys from what I've been around so far. I wish the African thing was more pronounced but thus far all I've heard is some pseudo-tribal Brazilian sounding duffness. 'Tell Me' is great though.

stelfox
02-04-2008, 11:17 AM
Apple is Ghanaian and explicitly says that highlife is a big influence on him. I don't hear a lot of Brazilian influence in his stuff, yet I do hear a lot of quite gritty African sounds and textures. It's also a lot easier to recognise than any kind of African instrumental influence ever has been in grime. Trying to map a sense of rhythmic or tonal "Africanness" onto grime is really quite a feat of projection, because it's really not that relevant at all. With funky, it totally is and will only get moreso, as far as I can see - or at least I hope so anyway. You are right, tho, a lot of funky is totally similar to broken beat in a lot of ways. It's just a bit rawer. Referencing the broken beat thread, I'm not anti a lot of what broken beat tried to do at its best anyway, so I don't see this as being a bad thing. The funky that I'm particularly enjoying is a lot like like bb without the self-congratulatory, tasteful vibe that was so offputting i.e. it's quite wonderful music

zhao
02-04-2008, 11:48 AM
Originally Posted by stelfox
@ zhao... what i mean is: saying that african culture had any real tangible effect of the instrumental rhythms and textures of grime was always a massive reach.

ok... but the idea is just so appealing for me :rolleyes:


Speaking only for the Ghanaians - I can say that the above description doesn't fit the ghanaian music they would have grown up with Ben Brako, Kwadjo Antwi etc... ineresting adjectives: chaos, harsh, raw.. there are many other things that the above description fits but we won't get into that

though i have heard a lot of various afro styles, mostly traditional or from past several decades, which are very "chaotic", "harsh", and "raw"... certainly not the smooth as silk pop stuff or high-life... i wish i remember better and knew about what I listen to so i can cite examples...

Transpontine
02-04-2008, 05:59 PM
Back on the grime tip, I know that Afrikan Boy is hardly typical (since he has made his Afircan identity his u.s.p.) Interesting though that on his blog he makes a big deal of name checking other Nigerian musicians as well as usual grime suspects:

'Afrikanboy aka YOUNG SUNNY ADE was born the 28th March 1989, He developed a passion for music at a very early age, The main influential artists that he took a shine to were, Fela, Style Plus, Wiley, Dizzie rascal, M.I.A and Yvone Chaka Chaka, SHINA PETERS, KING SUNNY ADE, WASIU'
http://www.myspace.com/afrikanboy

viktorvaughn
03-04-2008, 11:39 AM
Worth noting too is actual mockery of Africans within Grime - check the skits on Bashys first mixtape where a Ghanian highlife buffoon is talking about this 'Bashy star' character and saying how he loves to eat chicken. And on Mercston's one too there is some blatant mockery.

luka
17-01-2012, 03:16 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcrxBLRMWvs

i as very uncomfortable with what matt said in the first post on this thread so if you want to know what i think ask me. dont read that. im bumping just to post sneakbos version of oliver twist and to point out how much more prescient i am than you.

Benny B
10-09-2012, 09:32 AM
Rapid's on this azonto thing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDYOTkXPj8M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BoXQJ0xptk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Fn2xwKmcJQ&feature=relmfu
This last one with Ghanaian superstar EL

sufi
10-09-2012, 03:14 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcrxBLRMWvs

i as very uncomfortable with what matt said in the first post on this thread so if you want to know what i think ask me. dont read that. im bumping just to post sneakbos version of oliver twist and to point out how much more prescient i am than you.
i like this and wish to know more...please elaborate

benjybars
10-09-2012, 08:03 PM
Rapid's on this azonto thing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDYOTkXPj8M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BoXQJ0xptk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Fn2xwKmcJQ&feature=relmfu
This last one with Ghanaian superstar EL


these are big! first one especially..