Will UK "grime" artists beat American rappers? (Grime Artists)

Will Britain's "grime" scene challenge American rappers at black music awards?

August 25, 2005

The Times

Life of grime may help British rap clean up at awards
By Adam Sherwin, Media Reporter

IT IS the abrasive sound chronicling violence and turf wars on Britain’s most deprived estates. But now practitioners of UK “grime” will challenge America’s rappers at black music’s most prestigious awards.

For 20 years Britain has struggled to find an authentic response to hip-hop stars such as 50 Cent who made fortunes by glamorising the “ghetto life” of America’s inner cities. Now trendsetters say that US rap music is creatively moribund after its stars became obsessed with conspicuous consumption.

The American underground has instead discovered Britain’s grime scene, the sound of shuddering low-frequency bass riffs set to rhymes spat out in a mixture of Cockney and Jamaican patois.

Its leading lights include Kano, Sway and Roll Deep, and they will battle 50 Cent, The Game and even the revived R&B diva Mariah Carey at next month’s Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards at the Albert Hall in London.

If Sway, whose real name is Derek Safo, 22, an MC from Hornsey, North London, who has yet to sign a record contract, beats the ten million selling 50 Cent to the Best Hip-Hop prize it would mark an international breakthrough for British rap.

“It’s crazy to be up against these guys who have so much money behind them,” said Sway, who came to the fore by distributing his own discs. “We are proud of our British heritage and if someone like me can get on MTV it gives hope to British kids. They are sick of American stars like Eminem cancelling tours. With the right backing the grime artists can take America like the Beatles did,” he said.

Grime club nights have been compared to the raw energy of early punk. The sound, originating in Hackney, East London, has spread across Britain and there are also nights in Paris and Munich. The lyrics detail tower-block life, gang turf wars and police harassment. But Sway and Kano, 20 — Kane Robinson, of East Ham — add humour.

After controversy surrounding homophobic reggae artists, the MOBO committee is hoping that the tenth anniversary event on September 22 will be remembered as a British musical triumph. Lemar, the former Fame Academy contestant, has confirmed his longevity with five nominations. Joss Stone is nominated for Best UK Act against Kano and Lemar.


Best Album- Common Be; Kano Home Sweet Home; Lemar Time To Grow; John Legend Get Lifted; Mariah Carey The Emancipation of Mimi

Best Hip-Hop Act- 50 Cent, Black Twang, Roots Manuva, Sway, The Game

Best Jazz Act- Abram Wilson, Lizz Wright, Madeleine Peyroux, Rhian Benson, Soweto Kinch

Best R&B Act- Ciara, John Legend, Lemar, Mariah Carey, Terri Walker, Nate Jame

Best Single- Amerie 1 Thing; Lemar If There’s Any Justice; Lethal B Pow (Forward); Mario Let Me Love You; Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell Drop It Like It’s Hot

Best UK Newcomer- Kano, Lethal B, Nate James, Roll Deep, Sway

Best Video- Jamiroquai Feels Just Like It Should; John Legend Ordinary People; Lemar If There’s Any Justice; Missy Elliott ft. Ciara Lose Control; Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell Drop It Like It's Hot

UK Act of the Year- Estelle, Kano, Joss Stone, Lemar, Roll Deep

Best Reggae Act- Damian Marley Welcome To Jamrock; I-Wayne Can’t Satisfy Her; Richie Spice Earth Ah Run Red; Sean Paul We Be Burnin’; Daddy Yankee Gasolina

Best World Music Act- Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté, Amadou & Mariam, Daddy Yankee, Miguel 'Angá' Diaz, Zapp Mama

Best African Act- (New Category Voting in Africa only) Baaba Maal, Femi Kuti, 2 Face, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Youssou N’dour, Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Winners will be announced at the tenth anniversary MOBO awards at the Albert Hall on September 22

I would hope so. Though I dont subscribe to that sort of music, the mindless drivel that these so called american musicians vomit out is really pathetic. the same old mantra of sex, drugs and crime that is bad for their viewers to hear as it condones this sort of behaviour and bad because the rest of us unfortunately have to hear this be it at train stations/bus stops waiting for buses or any other places. Ive heard of some british stuff and it seems much better in quality than the other nonsense. good luck to the brits
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