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Grime Explosion From UK To You

Posted by Molli Fire on Wednesday, 21March07

What happened last weekend in Bow, or in the rest of UK for that matter? News from that neighborhood is exploding on Pitchfork this week with new releases from Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Roll Deep, and Joker! i can’t even type fast enough to properly share all the details with you, but i will give it a go, because this sound is hot!

For starters, i have already posted news about Dizzee Rascal’s collaborations with the Arctic Monkeys, Joss Stone, and Lily Allen. Dizzee’s new album is set to drop the same day as Wiley’s latest, and maybe last, solo album. Wiley is the frontman for the self-produced crew of djs, producers, and mc’s known as Roll Deep, of which Dizzee used to ride with. Roll Deep announced yesterday that they will be releasing their Rules & Regulations Vol. 1 on their own label, Roll Deep Recordings. That story is here.

Today Pitchfork published their monthly feature, The Month In: Grime/Dubstep which, this month, exposes grime’s wide reaching influence from UK to NYC to SF. Here are some of the highlights :

Joker, with an album already out on the label, Earwax, and another one on the way on Terrorhythm soon, is bringing a unique video game sound to a genre that has been based largely on smooth rolling drum and synth sounds. He’s been surrounded by some of UK’s hottest and most talented beat producers and mcs, so expect this kid to rise quickly to the spotlight. Also, being so heavily influenced by the grime, dubstep and garage music that has been gaining popularity over the last 5 years, he’s steppin out with a unique interpretation of what other producers have done, sometimes to the point of scrapping the elements thought to be key to the sound. And it still works. He ends up with a new sound that is still very much grime music.

The feature also has lots of good background on the developments in the UK grime scene that has brought some artists into the spotlight, while hiding others away, sometimes by drama and changing allegiances within the music scene, some tangled with the law and lost a lot of time in the studio and served time instead.
But wait, it gets even better! I don’t fully understand why the article suddenly veers over to the US to discuss the budding grime, dubstep, ragga, and dancehall scene, but it mentions 2 crews organizing parties based on this slow, bass heavy sound, one in San Francisco and one in NYC. Reppin the SF side of things, Kid Kameleon not only perfectly sums up the diversity in the music styles, the djs and producers backgrounds, but also with the crowds attending events such as the ones organized by Surya Dub at Club 6 in downtown SF. When you get that far into the article, watch your toes because Kid Kameleon starts droppin names like a B52! Kid Kameleon and Dj Ripley have both participated in the underground soundsystem culture that has been strong in NYC and SF for the last 10 years, as well as making names for themselves around the world, touring with DrumCorps/Aaron Spectre, DJ C of the MashIt ragga jungle/breakcore record label, and Kid 606 of the ragga jungle/breakcore/techno/electronica record labels Tigerbeat6 and Shockout.

And i can’t forget to mention BBC radio, who has been open to these ghetto sounds for quite some time now, and has been very influential in streaming it to an international audience. BBC radio has stations dedicated to playing the current sounds of whats happening in UK studios and on its streets, and is playing a big role in the global interest. there are other stations like RinseFM that are more in touch with the producers, mcs, and djs that have hosted night after night after night of live performances and then immediately posting whole sets online for people everywhere to enjoy for free. But, ever since Barefiles.com disappeared, and some drama has ensued, it has become difficult for anyone outside of the UK to have access to what is current in the scene. So, BBC is the place to watch and listen, even if it’s more due to their staying power than actual credibility.

However, this week they had some very influential and credible artists in the studio, hosting shows, playing music, talking about what’s happening right now, and these shows are not to be missed. BBC archives each show for one week only, so don’t sleep on this!!

BBC 1xtra had Skepta and his mum on the DJ Target show on sunday for UK’s Mother’s Day. We even got to hear him perform his new song, “Sweet Mother”, live on air! That show is here.

On April 21, Roll Deep will be in the studio performing live on Tim Westwood’s show. That link is here.

i think there are actually a few others that i should be posting here, but i’ll have to dig them up. i’ll add them right here, check back tomorrow to see if i found anything.

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