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Thread: Why is it called GRIME and not UK RAP?

  1. #1
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    Default Why is it called GRIME and not UK RAP?

    I've been listening to hip-hop since 1985. I've been listening to Grime lately, and am confused by those people who tell me that Grime is not rap/hip-hop, but something totally unique and original.

    I understand that the sonics and influences and beats are different, but to me it's the same head-noddin groove... just different sonics. Well, not that different if you have ever heard underground hip-hop.

    Now 2-step totally twisted my world, like nothing I had ever heard before. So did 2-step "evolve" into grime? or did it just dissipate into rap?

    Please educate me.

  2. #2
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    The beats don't sound like hip hop. The format in which it is performed on a live set is not the same as rap.

    Would you call Vybz Kartel and Busy Signal JA Hip Hop by the same reasoning, out of interest?
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    it might not be hip hop but it is rap. even skepta said its a different type of uk rap, just faster.

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    [QUOTE=Logan Sama]The format in which it is performed on a live set is not the same as rap.

    i'm intersted to know what goes into a grime show. is it mainly dj's using pc's live or is it cdr playback? i've only been to two grime shows, one was dizzee and the other being roll deep. i think dizzee's dj was using dubplates. no idea what roll deep were using.

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    Grime is a direct decendent of UKG. Yes it has rappers as do (broadly speaking) UKG and DNB, but i dont think it is UKHH. UKHH was basically inspired from the American scene (though obviously this was a few years ago). Grimes lineage in emminently traceable - listen to stuff like heartless crew and Pay As You Go and you can see where the UKG/grime lines blur heavyly. It simply hasn't grown out of hiphop in the UK and what we do call hiphop here is pretty easily discernable from grime when listening. However, they do share lots of sonic qualities yes.

    I also feel that perhaps a lot of genre is not dictated purely by sonic quality but in fact by aspects of cultural production - ie grime and UKHH are two distinct camps and if a grime artist started spitting bars hiphop style then that would not make him suddenly become a hiphop artist would it? We have to take into account past records, as well as scene, associates, event the clubs linked to the music etc.

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    Just to add - i dont think there is a problem calling in UK Rap to be honest as to me that is quite a broad term that is largey to do with lyrical delivery etc. Hiphop to me is a distinct culture with its own traditions and beats etc that grime is simply not part off.

    However i would add the qualification that some people do use rap and hiphop synonemously (sp?) and so this point would not stand. Fair play to them tho, the terms are up for grabs i guess.

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    it really annoys me how it seems that almost always in (e.g.) broadsheet newspapers when grime or dancehall are mentioned, the artists are referred to as rappers, or the music is called a derivative of hip hop, or 'like hip hop' or whatever. obviously i can see why this happens - hip hop is very widely known, people know what rappers are etc, so it's a good point of reference. however, just cos hip hop/rap is massively dominant when it comes to 'music with people talking as opposed to singing over it', that doesn't mean that anything that sounds like that is like hip hop or comes from hip hop, or is hip hop (or rap).

    of course, grime (and dancehall) is in some ways similar to hip hop, and of course it draws some inspiration from it. but the way it's come about owes much to other things as well (dancehall, ukg, d&b, etc) and it's over-simplistic just to call it rap. (compare this to what is known as uk hip hop in the britain, where people are actively trying to live the hip hop dream, studying the four elements, aping american hip hop cliches and so on - though ironically, this distinction between grime and ukhh in some ways makes grime more like hip hop in that its not trying to be something in particular, it's just people making music)

    point being, that if you know lots of hip hop/rap and then you hear grime or dancehall, i can see how you'll be like 'oh, these are derivatives or local versions of hip hop/rap'. but that's massively missing the point, that these are distinct styles that have their own surrounding cultures, traditions and rituals etc that are very different from hip hop. also, in the case of dancehall/reggae, they precede hip hop, so it's even more historically accurate to think of them as part of the hip hop/rap thing.

    if you see what i mean...

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    I think describing Grime as 'rap' or 'UKHH' is a fairly lazy and arbritray bit of labelling that misses the fundamental difference between most grime and hip hop - the tempo. 138 is a huge stretch from 96bpm, and everything about the flow and style of Grime MCs is affected by the dynamics of the music at this speed - MCng over 90ish bpm break is a totally different skill, and Grime is more of an evolution from MC led 'dance' music than it is from the more vocal oriented (and breakbeat sampling) world of hip-hop.

    This is why grime represents something new IMO - its the first time the UK MCs have developed their own scene from the ground up, and in the process they've invented a totally new type of British vocal music - influenced by Hip Hop/R+B and Dancehall sure, but primarily a heavily mutated version of UKG...

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    i love how everyone goes off on these long explanations of what makes it so diff, and why its not hip hop. well its not hip hop in the sense of dr dre or snoop, and it does have its own background and history (even if a lot of the MCs dont seem to even care about their rave-MC forefathers but are more into whoevers running things in stateside hip hop), but its still rap. grime is uk rap, or brit rap, whatever you wanna call it, its rap music. and most people call rap music 'hip-hop'. it all comes down to boring old semantics, really.

    the funny thing is that a lot of the artists are totally fine with calling it rap music or saying its the uk's hip hop. even wiley and dizzee have said numerous times that its basically hip hop and they want it to be accepted as such. dizzee has repeatedly said in interviews that 'its the real uk hip hop'. id say (im sure others have said it before) grime is the result of MCs who came up through the 'rave MC'/hardcore continuum (whatever you wanna call it) ranks and unconsciously or consciously, wanted to make their own hip hop. they were tired of being the side act and wanted to have their own hip hop. they saw blak twang or whoever, werent too impressed and wanted to have their own thing. yeah you could say something similar happened with jungle, but its diff this time, cos now, im not sure why, but the MCs didnt suffer from the anxiety of being compared to the americans for playing at their own game. strangely (since grime became 'grime' after leaving its links to UKG behind), this doesnt seem to have been reflected as equally by the audience's reaction to 'the real uk hip hop'. irony of ironies, uk hip hop actually sells more than grime doesnt it?

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    yeah i agree with the sentiment of grime being the real uk hiphop. grime just draws on this country's recent musicsal past just the same way (american) hiphop draws on american music history and i think this is partly why traditional uk hiphop has never really taken off, you can rap in an english accent until the cows come home but UKHH won't sound like a genuine product of it's environment until the actual music stops imitating american stuff.

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    I think its fine to talk about grime being the 'hiphop of the uk' etc but that really pivots on a lexical ambiguity on the phrase 'hiphop'. In that sense it is refering to the spirit, attitude and mood of the music, not its sonic qualities. If you are talking about its actual musical qualities then isnt, er, UKHH the hiphop of the UK?

    Hiphop does refer to a certain sound template - obviously it is a problematic issue how things fit exactly in to this template, but i dont think it makes sense to call grime hiphop, especially when we have music here called UKHH and grime sounds quite a lot different.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by viktorvaughn
    I think its fine to talk about grime being the 'hiphop of the uk' etc but that really pivots on a lexical ambiguity on the phrase 'hiphop'. In that sense it is refering to the spirit, attitude and mood of the music, not its sonic qualities. If you are talking about its actual musical qualities then isnt, er, UKHH the hiphop of the UK?

    Hiphop does refer to a certain sound template - obviously it is a problematic issue how things fit exactly in to this template, but i dont think it makes sense to call grime hiphop, especially when we have music here called UKHH and grime sounds quite a lot different.
    Thats kind of what I was trying to get at - but much more succinctly put.

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    Quote Originally Posted by viktorvaughn
    I think its fine to talk about grime being the 'hiphop of the uk' etc but that really pivots on a lexical ambiguity on the phrase 'hiphop'. In that sense it is refering to the spirit, attitude and mood of the music, not its sonic qualities."

    Absolutely, and i think genres should be defined more by spirit, attitude and mood than particular sonic qualities. However I think that the sonic qualities of grime and certain types of hiphop aren't that different.

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    One thing that it's important to note here is that Hip Hop is a word coined to describe a culture and it's attendant artistic forms that developed in New York in the 70s. One of those artistic forms is Rap music. You can use the word Rap to describe other forms of regionalized music and it works as a verb too ie "Baile funk is fast booty beats with rapping" but the term hiphop refers to a cultural movement and the specific styles it spawned. If you read interviews with for example some Texas artists they will say, 'yeah, artist x has more a new york, hiphop kind of sound'.

    So if UK artists are trying to make 'hiphop' per se in a traditional style then they will end up imitating New York, just the same way if I am trying to make dancehall I will end up imitating or being influenced by Kingston. In short I prefer the term Rap as a region-neutral alternative with less baggage.

    And yes, I think Grime is the real indigenous UK rap. It feels like the beginning of hiphop in NYC to me (I wasn't born yet but still). Kids are making and releasing their music against all odds in the face of an indifferent or actively hostile industry infrastructure and it's got that same groundswell energy which I just don't feel in UKHH movement. Grime seems to come out of a more direct process of self expression, much less filtered through ideas of what's allowed or what's real (which the hiphop scene is laden with) and therefore sounds more raw and fresh to me.

    Re: whether they actually sound the same, I'd say at the end of the day Grime has a wider sonic palette because it can include virtually all the sounds used in hiphop but adds a lot of strange digital sounds, Wiley's video game ploinking etc. A lot of UKHH fans deride grime as having 'a bunch of random sounds' in it, which is an indicator. I think the main thing that differentiates the two is that the templates have been largely set for what is allowed in hiphop and therefore UKHH while grime seems to consistently demand that there be something sonically new, it's almost a part of the formula. Hence we see people like Statik with Grindie being supported by mainstream grime outlets like Logan etc, showing there is a high value on innovation in the genre still, even if or especially if that means messing with the formula.

  15. #15
    simon silverdollar Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy

    So did 2-step "evolve" into grime?

    Please educate me.
    yes. if you listen to very early grime tracks, like roll deep's 'i will not lose', the lineage from 2-step is quite clear- the skippy, hi-hat led beats, the basslines...
    even musical mob's 'pulse x', which was an extremely minimal early 8-bar riddim shows ukg influences in the house-y hi-hat rhythms.

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