#0117: Grime From Bristol and Beyond
London isn’t the be all and end all of grime so Grace shares some of the best MCs Bristol and other regions have to offer.
Grime is still young. It’s a roughly 15-year-old sometimes-awkward teenager with growing pains that included some pop albums and a lot of synths. For a while it seemed like it was dead. It became a nostalgia trip of Sidewinder sets from the early noughties and pixelated videos ripped from Channel U.
When a lot of people who loved grime felt like there was nothing left, cities like Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol were keeping it going. When it hit the big time again, London’s grime was revived and Skepta, Stormzy, Novelist were tipped as the top artists. Despite their contribution to the genre, few artists outside London were given attention. Aside from Lady Leshurr, who went worldwide after her Queen’s Speech releases and Bugzy Malone, who got mainstream recognition after his clash with Chip, the original hype predominantly benefitted the capital.
People look to London not only because it’s where grime started but because it’s the centre of much of the culture. For many MCs, local platforms are Rinse FM and RadarRadio (stations with national reach), but also club nights and raves that people travel into the city to attend. Eyes are always on London for what’s new, meaning those coming up through the ranks in the capital may not have every advantage, but at least, the home advantage. For MCs in other cities, they have to be the most well-known in their communities before they get similar levels of recognition.
In the same way that hip-hop spread from New York and is now an international art form, grime isn’t limited to London and the conversation needs to continue outside of it. People who understand the need to diversify are already taking note, but there’s more to be done. Its London origins will always represent where it started, but grime cannot survive on London alone. A good scene with healthy competition and diversity will only been found in looking for people in different places.
In light of this, the grime scene of Bristol and beyond is constantly bubbling and building its own community. YouTube platforms Fire TV, Blast The Beat and ESM clothing are responsible for capturing some of the best freestyles, while Stokes Croft Radio has started a new series called, ‘The Lab‘ with a first episode that features Murkzy and Drapes. Giving further proof that Bristol history with grime and UK rap didn’t come out of nowhere and isn’t going anywhere soon, documentaries Rap Roads by Mad Good and ‘The Sound of Bristol‘ by Cyno productions tell us more about the history of the genres.
Here’s a collection of tracks and videos from across the south including Bristol and its surrounding areas, but also South Wales, Hertfordshire and Tokyo.
[Disclaimer: there’s more than a little explicit language so don’t say we didn’t warn you.]
Bodynod recently collaborated with Logan Sama’s ‘Keepin’ It Grimy’ on an event that hosted over 1000 people. Listen to the mixtape Blazey of Bodynod hosted for Bristol label Durkle Disco, who put on nights where you can find the city’s best MCs.
15 miles down the road, the city of Bath offers it’s own cypher.
Glastonbury isn’t exactly known for it’s connection to grime, but that hasn’t stopped ArtistBear who spits about everything from life where he’s from to bullying.
Despite Tokyo’s presence in this list, I was most surprised by South Wales crew Newport Allstars who have been making music for over seven years. For more from South Wales check BBTV.
This suburb north of London is close enough to be involved in the capital’s scene but MCs there are building their own community. Bliss tell us, ‘we don’t say ‘we rep Herts’, but the angle is homegrown. We go into London, but we know where we’re from.’
Record label Butterz are bringing Japanese grime to us, showing that authenticity within music doesn’t necessarily rely on place. Japan is the ‘3rd biggest market in terms of music sales’ for the label that puts out releases from Swindle, grime producer Royal-T and bass/funky orientated-producer Flava D. Though you may not understand the lyrics, their hunger on the mic easily translates to what we know grime to be.
Have you got any suggestions of who we should be listening to? Tell us – @rifemag
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