Grime for Dummies

Nah, that’s not me

Nah, that’s not me.

If you are a real person living in the real world, or even a pretend person living in the Cambridge bubble, you will know that Skepta is performing at Strawberries and Creem Festival today.

Skepta is the self-proclaimed “King of Grime”. Most of the ‘grime’ in Cambridge is in the Cam or underneath lecture hall benches. So, if you’re more double-barreled surname than double-barreled shotgun, if you own a pair of red trousers, if you’re thinking “what’s a grime?” – then this guide is for you.

So what is Grime?”

At the turn of the millennium in East London a new genre was born. Early pioneers such as Wiley and Ruff Sqwad took the influences of UK Garage and Jungle music and came back with a gritty and unmistakably British sound.

The beats exploded onto the pirate radio stations and began infiltrating raves across the country. As the beats got darker and edgier, so did the bars. MCs began to flood into Grime from the other UK scenes – some of the biggest names in Grime started in Garage (Wiley) and Jungle (D Double E).

Hang on, what’s a bar?”

Sorry, I forgot this was Grime for Dummies. In Grime, bars refer to lyrics. MCs generally fit their lyrics into 8, 16 or 32 bar structures within a track or a clash.

This combustible mix of hard-hitting beats and aggressive bars often leads to clashes and sometimes violence. The video below is from an early clash between Dizzee Rascal (long before chart car-crash Dance Wiv Me) and Crazy Titch.

Not long after this video was released Dizzee Rascal was stabbed five times in Ayia Napa (by So Solid Crew’s Megaman) and Crazy Titch went to prison for shooting a man dead with a sub machine gun on a South London council estate.

These days, Grime has cleared its act up. After a few flirts with chart success in the past (POW, anyone?) last year saw the release of some huge hits such as German Whip and That’s Not Me. It is also now safe for you to attend a Grime event without a stab proof vest – an expense none of us can be arsed with as students.

So now Grime is now safe enough to played in Cambridge but edgy enough for people to think you’re cool, probably. Just make sure you leave the red trousers at home.