“Before Stormzy there was Dizzee”


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Back as a 11-year-old fresh-faced and bright-eyed Primary School boy I stumbled across an album which peaked my love for an almost unheard of Genre of music in Ireland. in 2003 under the record label XL recordings a 19-year-old Dizzee Rascal would release one of the most important Grime albums of a Generation of current MC’s, but also the album that made me the “weird sap who listened to Brit rappers” in school. Back in 2003 it wasnt so cool to listen to rappers from South East London who rapped about “skets” and “shanks” but I was hooked from the moment I heard the Base wallop through my sisters JVC Hi-FI stereo system on “I Luv You” at the time I was quite young so I could not for the life of me tell you what the subject matter was. However the accent, the beats the mannerisms the fast flows grabbed my attention. Another MC Kano who would later become my favourite Grime MC of all time would drop Home Sweet Home not too long after with the title track “P’S and Q’S” and I was sold on Grime.


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For the uninitiated Grime is a music sub-genre derived from the early days of U.K Garage music. This involves Grime MC’s spitting bars and fast flows over high tempo 140 beats per minute production. It was derived because young MC’s like Wiley felt they did not fit the Garage scene, which held early success for the likes of Craig David who scored a massive U.K hit with his Artful Dodger produced classic “Rewind”.   Wiley started his own sound and movement which at first he dubbed “Eskimo Music” the reason for this was explained on the fantastic “Wot U call it”. where he humorously explains his reasoning for branching out and following his own path. The main reason I gravitated towards Grime music was originality. I had never heard something so unique the first rap album I bought was 50 cent “Get Rich or Die Trying” an absolutely classic album one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time, however when you heard an American rapper on the radio or seen them on the television you knew the sound you also knew the look XXL white t-shirts Timberland boots Du rags and Bandanas . When “Boy N Da Corner” dropped it honestly blew my mind. Sonically I never heard anything like it. I couldn’t comprehend the rhythmic flow to how fast the music was. The last verse on “Jus a Rascal” is a perfect example of needing to listen to a verse 20 times to try to comprehend the lyrics but when you finally do you hear every word and feel a real sense of accomplishment.

It wasnt until I was about 14 that I started to appreciate the lyrical content from Grime MC’s such as Wiley, Skepta and Ghetts.

Still feeling the fruits of the Celtic Tiger my father woke me to some great news “Phil guess what I’ve ordered Sky he told me all the football you want, golf, Horse racing etc the latter 2 being for him. I was never happier to hear news in all my life. So many new channels from Movies to Music, everything a pre pubescent boy could want. I found a real gem in channel 370. Back then it was called Channel U it was a music channel which was solely focused on my new Genre of choice and it watched it from when I came home from school up until my Mother slapped me across the ear for being up past my bedtime. Songs like Skepta “Doing it again” and “Wiley” with the aptly titled “Wickedest MC alive” became the soundtrack to my early teenage years. A much simpler time of coming home from school switching on Channel U and signing onto MSN messenger. From a nostalgic feeling the it wasnt just the music it was also the aggressive 240p resolution, Nokia camera phone shot videos, which just added to my love for the scene. Today Grime is one of the fastest growing Genres and has seen the rapid surge in popularity partly in thanks to the personal endorsements from artists such as Drake and Chris Brown. And the viral culture that is the Internet in 2017. However nothing makes me more proud to see a fantastic Genre of Music finally get the recognition it deserves since its inception. So by all means to the new fans of Grime support acts like “Section Boys” and “Stormzy” as much as you can but save a mention for the ones who came before.

– Phil


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