Grime is perhaps the quickest growing musical concept in modern Britain. For a genre which grew from the streets of London to headlining main stages at Glastonbury, it’s clear it is a subculture gone main stream and most certainly here to stay.
Think of the leading names in grime, Stormzy, Skepta and Wiley. To the modern teenager they are all verging on being household names, an accolade which most modern rockstars would struggle to achieve. Their relevance is greater now than ever, influencing an entire culture of youth into productivity through musical escape. Like it or hate it, grime music is both technically well produced and as a subdivision of rap it has almost entirely overtaken its predecessor in the UK. Gone are the times where chart music in a rap sense was entirely dominated by American names, it is a great ode to British talent that grime is competing head to head with the most renowned of modern musical genres and in many ways a pioneering form of music overtaking much of what came before it.
With such accolades, and a festival like Glastonbury, one can only assume its righteous rise to the top stages is entirely justified. Like or hate such a policy, the Worthy Farm festival is famous for revolutionary exposure of different genres, it truly is a world of magical diversity. Once more, Glastonbury has a monstrous amount of stages, no other festival in the world can match its scale. For that reason the more diverse genres the better, it truly becomes an intriguing festival with something on offer for everyone. No matter north or south, rich or poor, rock or pop, rap or metal, Glastonbury will be the most intriguing event of a lifetime even if your interest in music is limited.
With that in mind, Glastonbury welcomes a whole host of leading grime artists, none of which come bigger that Stormzy. He has already secured a number 1 album this year with debut release ‘Gang Signs And Prayers.’ It is unknown when and where Stormzy will feature, though we suggest it will be quite prominently. Who knows, he may even make a cameo appearance during Ed Sheeran’s Sunday headline performance following his version of the latter’s lead single ‘Shape Of You.’
Emily Eavis has already suggested that Boy Better Know will headline the Other Stage, arguably making them the best positioned grime collective of the weekend. Formed by JME and Skepta back in 2005 it is certain that the predominantly London based group would not have expected such newly established success. One can expect an amalgamation of songs released under the label via different artists, their performance at Reading saw Skepta, JME and Jammer take to the stage. Songs such as ‘It Ain’t Safe,’’Calm,’’ and ‘Shutdown’ are all dominant in the live setting. 2017 has already seen the release of Drake’s ‘More Life’ via BBK’s record label, maybe such a global superstar could be drafted in to further bolster such headlining credential.
These two massive names are perhaps the most popular of modern grime entities, though they owe a lot to certain predecessors who take the form of modern musical inspirations. Both Wiley and Dizzee Rascal feature at this years festival and are both heralded as being leading figures in the industry. With this in mind, Glastonbury 2017 offers a true insight into the metaphorical grime hall of fame.
Somewhat surprising is considerable uproar relating to the inclusion of such artists, spanning back to 2008 in a year when Jay-Z controversially headlined the famous Pyramid Stage. Figureheads of rock such as Noel Gallagher claimed it to be entirely awful, an act which destroyed the sacrilegious entity that for a time was merely seen as a predominantly rock festival. Despite this, the American rap icon’s set was a relative success, fans and media alike praised the international superstar. A similar situation occurred in 2015 with Kanye West’s tenure as headliner, though it even led Gallagher to eat his own words and suggesting that for the most part it was as “good as it gets.”
It appears times are changing, gone are the days when inclusion of genre diverse artists are met with harsh criticism. The general census now is that such diversity is welcomed with open arms by the mass Glastonbury going majority.
Whilst arguments continue to exist, it is clear that the diversity of Glastonbury overpowers the words of the few. In which case, grime deserves a chance to thrive on a stage where it may not have a few years previously, and thus if you don’t like it then merely take a trip to a different stage. There is always something on offer for everyone at Glastonbury!
Check out BBK at Reading 2016 below, an intriguing taste of what is to come as we approach Glastonbury 2017:
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Image by Batiste Safont (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
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