As a young man of color born to immigrant parents, now living in London, I have always been a part of bright and diverse music culture. Be it house, garage, reggae or, Hip hop, there was never a time were you couldn’t hear music playing from a store or someone window. From my sisters bedroom I would hear the likes of Craig David and So Solid Crew playing on their radio, but in my pre teen years I didn’t understand how much this music would mean to as a now young adult.
In all of these genres including Grime, we hear the influence of Caribbean and African cultures layered in, who origins are found in the mass my migrations to the UK in the mid 90’s. So Considering how long these genres have been growing and developing I began to wonder what the youngest of these genres (Grime) had done to take strides into the upper echelon of music, here in the Uk and abroad. Crews like Roll Deep, BBK( Boy Better Know) and, More Fire Crew to name a few are groups that have been a part of the scene for the better part of a decade if not more. Most have disbanded and gone on to solo careers. Yet as individuals and groups, some are experiencing the best years of their careers in the last 3 years. Some made transitions into attempting the mainstream radio style of music with little success, Artists like Chip coming back to do grime after a not so successful stint in america.
The Crew who seem to be at the head of the movement, with global and national success are Boy Better Know, made up 8 members All of whom rap, and a few who also produce. It was published the crew (BBK) make up for .62 % of all music sales in the U.K as an independent group not signed to a label. Baring that in mind we now live in a world where young people in my experience don’t pay for music so how cant this statistic stand up. The music has changed too much. But what has is the listener base. if you take the time to go on youtube, as I have done having never been to a show, the demographic appears to be made up of young white males, with females and minority ethnicities fitting into the smaller portion of the crowds. It could be argued that young middle class men and women are buying into a culture that is cool and popular at this moment. In that case they enjoy a special place in fandom where they are able to enjoy from a far but, not live or directly witness the lives and stories that are played out in their lyrics.
As someone who grew up and lived around the things that the artist are speaking about, I feel there is a layer of understanding that supersedes fandom and therefore provides a deeper emotional connection to the music. I understand more so than those who may be injected the most money into the scene, what these words really mean, because they are a part of my everyday conversations with friends, as if they happened to us or near us, and not just as a song with a catchy hook.
It begs the question, while we are living the culture, should we be investing more ?