For your ultimate reading pleasure press play on the above, MistaJams’ Radio 1Xtra All Star madness, and read on.
YOU’RE NOT SERIOUS, at least that’s what I thought when grime got into the music video game. Starting off with that low-fi we-in-a-basement-and-what attitude, much like the artists, Grime started off with little in the way of head starts. What it lacked in video production values it more than made up for in essence, ask any Channel U fan. Music Video at its most powerful visually personifies the music so pulling out 16-bars in a basement is exactly what it’s all about. Hell, anywhere on the streets would do, again, ask any Channel U fan. Jammer’s basement has long become a listed building but at first it wasn’t enough to push the sounds further afield. Although the sentiment was spot on, the low-fi nature didn’t translate, it didn’t help push the music onto a wider audience like other artists had managed to. In essence music video wasn’t being put to its best use.
WHAT D’U CALL IT? Without a history in visuals Grime’s direction took a turn for the confused. It’s easy to see why Grime didn’t exploit video like the indie boys were, The Arctic Monkeys straightaway exploited the platform to great effect. Indie music had a tried and tested path, a history to look back on whereas Grime only had its distant overseas cousin Hip Hop to look to. Although both genres are based on rapping that is where the similarities stop. Hip Hop created a place that makes sense to its artists and their aspirations. It sat comfortably in its mansions and fast cars, surrounded by bikini-clad women and dollar dollar bills y’all. But Grime doesn’t have the same outlook. There is no glamour in grime. It’s all about being real so when the studio and narrative videos were being made, just like the dance beats being rapped over, something didn’t feel quite right. Who wants to see Wiley in an insane asylum? Or D Double in a minimal studio setting? No thanks.
NAH THAT’S NOT ME. Grime at times had forgotten its essence in the hope of finding new fans. A short-term move that would have even current politicians cringing but as expected a champion never stays down taking us full circle back to the basement where it all began. The 2nd coming of Grime has not only seen popularity skyrocket but also the visual production values. Moving image can now go bar for bar with the beats, the lyrics, the pullllllllluuuuppppp. Grime has grown in maturity, this means videos are proud of the character that fits the ethos of the music. Two videos came out recently personifying what it’s all about. Grime is all about the basics. The bars. As Jammer pointed out in The Guardian, Grime battles are the boxing ring where champions are made and as Skepta and Devilman trade blows we see the true visuals of the game. No thrills, just the MCs, just the bars. You can’t even see Skepta’s face! That’s serious.
NEW BANGER NEW BANGER and with that the streets have been taken back. Skepta and more importantly UZI won MOBO’s ‘Best Music Video’ award for an £80 video in 2014; the whole world’s watching and a series of MCs have taken to directing their own videos. Who better to visualise their music than the artists themselves? Skepta’s run road, Kano’s been throwing mad house parties and every second of it is on point. Kano’s collaborations with a WIC favourite Risky Roads have really caught the eye so we reached out to hear K-AAAAA’s viewpoint on directing New Banger:
BOY BETTER KNOW the direction these days is honest and alive with character, exactly like Grime music’s always been. All the legends have taken their video game up a notch, with America calling let’s hope it stays real, we don’t want to see Jammer’s Basement on Airbnb anytime soon.