Grime music has been embedded within the culture of the UK music scene for many years now. We’ve seen so many of our favourite grime artist make it big and then go on to pursue other musical styles and ventures. It’s amazing to see their music develop but what’s equally enjoyable is being able to engage with them and hear their thoughts and opinions on topics affecting society from their social media accounts, unfiltered and uncensored, in addition to them speaking out in the press.
Amongst the many grime stars, entertainers and actors who have spoken up about social issues this year JME, Stormzy, Akala and Dave were amongst those who questioned and tackled the “high authorities”.
JME, of grime crew Boy Better Know, played a major role in encouraging his huge Twitter following to get out and vote earlier in April this year. The MC wholeheartedly supported the Labour party and encouraged people to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. His effort to get people to vote certainly didn’t go unnoticed as his series of tweets went a step further than Twitter. JME then linked up with Mr. Corybn himself as he took over his Snapchat to encourage people further to register to vote.
If you want to vote Corbyn.
Step 1: Register https://t.co/OOXc9Uih0P
Step 2: vote Corbyn.
Step 3: press Up, X, Y, B, A
Step 4: press start
— Jme (@JmeBBK) April 23, 2017
In the time they spent together they spoke about other issues aside from politics. I found this a rare and unusual link-up between the UK grime music scene and politics however it was very refreshing to see. JME has over 800,000 followers on Twitter and used his voice to positively influence others. This is a great avenue for those who are from areas and backgrounds where politics isn’t something they would pay any particular attention to. I’ve never had much interest in politics myself but seeing this made me want to get involved. Conscious rapper
Akala was also very active on his social media regarding his support for the Labour Party. He also had something important to say with regards to Grenfell Tower. The MOBO award winner told Channel 4 back in June, “The people who died and lost their homes… this happened to them because they are poor”.
Rapper Dave recently touched on the topic of Grenfell in his new track ‘Question Time’. “I’ve got a question for the new prime minister. At Grenfell Tower, your response was ridiculous. You hid like a coward behind your 5 million”. This is certainly how I feel about the matter and I’m sure many others would agree. What is the Prime minister going to do to ensure situations such as Grenfell never happen again? He also posted the following on his Instagram.
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to speak on these issues but I want to say. We will never forget about grenfell, we will never forget Rashan, we will never forget Edson. I feel like having a platform and a voice it’s important to say that we all have questions for everyone in parliament and we need answers. All I can ask from my friends and family is to share and make sure awareness is raised on the topics discussed in the video, we can’t let them slip this year under the radar like they always do. There’s still so much more for us to say. So many unheard voices. So many stories to tell. Thank you guys for being understanding as to the music I’ve made in the meantime and enjoying it and thank you for supporting this track. Love. A post shared by Santan (@santandave) on
Another artist who has made a major impact is Stormzy. Stormzy, born Michael Omari Owuo, has had a spectacular year to say the least. Back in August, he challenged a tweet that was sent out by the Met police regarding drug searches at black events.
How many drugs did you lot seize in the run up to Glastonbury or we only doing tweets like this for black events? https://t.co/v7XYvSg29t
— #GSAP (@Stormzy1) August 22, 2017
This tweet gained thousands of retweets and over a thousand replies. Many people had a lot to say regarding the point he had made, one user even replied to mention she had never been searched while at Glastonbury. It could be argued that a search isn’t needed for an event such as Glastonbury, however, we all know that’s a weak argument. The fact still stands that the same level of precautions is not taken at all events.
The rapper made a valid point highlighting the issue that anything to do with urban culture is regularly shown in a negative light, turning a blind eye on what is and what could possibly be going on at more “social events” like Glastonbury.
Personally, I really like the fact that grime artists are speaking up about matters they feel strongly about. These artists have sparked up conversations on topics that may not have been had if not for them bringing it into the limelight. Naturally, I think the grime music scene has always been in touch with issues surrounding society and current affairs. Twitter and the use of the Press are great platforms and when used for good can influence thousands and inspire change.
Words by Priscilla Powers