Along with the expansion of the Grime scene, 2016 has seen further alienation of the youth from political affairs. It is this lack of representation that has fed an engagement with the anarchic style of the East London born genre- with opposition of capitalistic manufacturing, anger-fed messages on complex political issues, and a strong subculture at its core.
With the main figures of Grime rising in the charts and Skepta winning the Mercury Prize for his album Konichiwa, the message of Grime is at an all time high- bringing the common comparison of this movement to that of punk 40 years ago.
The Punk movement started as a rejection of mainstream rock of the 70s, with bands such as the Ramones, the Clash, and the Damned developing a new cultural phenomenon.
Growing out of working-class angst, Punk music fueled a whole generation to upturn mainstream ideologies and fight during a time of war, racism, and sexism.
Similarly, governmental neglect of the working class, anti-police and anti-war messages are just as relevant in the Grime scene today. Artists’ Stormzy, Ghetts, and Skepta have all been vocally anti-establishment- whether that be leading rallies of fans to scream “Fuck the police” or tweeting out disregard for the UK’s decision to bomb Syria last year.
Additionally, a revival of ‘authenticity’ from its hip-hop roots, like Punk’s relation to Rock, has brought power back to the artist and its fans, with independent production and a strong community based following.
It seems as though even with Grime’s growing popularity, their powerfully candid style will hold up to the eventual manufacturing that Punk felt.
While the two genres can’t be regarded as wholly the same in their roots and culture, the recognition of Grime as being as powerful politically and socially as Punk is the most important aspect of this statement.
In a time of such unrest in the UK, the rise of Grime will continue to bridge the gap between the unheard youth and government- picking up where Punk left off.