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In depth: Welsh Grime 2.0


Grime has affected kids all over Wales and like most music genres has had its day. So why is it being played on our radios again? 

Wales. Described as the most beautiful place in the world by many. Full of greenery, sheep, home of the legend that is Tom Jones and…Grime. Yes Grime.
Now how could a country passionate about daffodils could possibly know any thing about the most underground genre to come out of the UK?


The welsh allstarz

How does it even get to wales?


 Grime is seen by many as timeless and of course you remember how old you were when you heard your first grime song. But to be honest we are not sure how anyone could forget. And would you believe the song described to have planted the seed came out 13 years ago?


Whilst you figure out how hold you were, you should try to understand the impact the grime scene had on British music. More specifically, Wales.
But what is grime and where did it come from?

What do you call it grime? The history.

Grime, originally called Eskibeat developed in London in the early 2000 by a young man called Wiley, as an underground branch of the genre Garage, but don’t tell them that. The Garage scene did not embrace Grime one bit infact to this day Grime Dj’s wont play garage.

Seen as the most underground genre of music in the UK, it’s not hard to understand why it appealed to so many. At a time British music was struggling with its identity, due to most chart music being American or produced by first generation immigrants. Grime took everything that is British and turned it into a creative and inclusive musical output.


Musical ideology

Why was grime so popular?

We spoke to musicologist Lester Freckleton about what it was about Grime that affected the UK, Wales especially.

dee shay

smerks and dee shay

“Inclusivity. It’s that simple,” He goes on to claim the history of the UK was key to the development of Grime. “These were 1st generation kids. Most of their parents referred to themselves as Jamaican, African, whatever. Where did these kids belong? What music could they claim?” According to Freckleton Kids were hearing rap and thinking “I can do that to a garage beat.”

Soon all British kids were getting involved, an identity was created, and Grime was born. “We could relate to grime that’s why it was so important.” Says Newport rapper Smerks.

“I had moved from London to Newport when I was about 13, complete culture shock. There was nothing in Newport that I could relate with. Then I Found Grime, A few of the boys back in London had been posting videos onto YouTube. I could rap and a few of the boys in school could too so we made a group.

Cardiff, the welsh capital of grime

As a major city with an identity crisis of its own, Cardiff was right up there with the growth of Grime

“I was 15 when I first heard Wiley’s Treddin on thin ice” Courtney ‘Cj’ Jones, Drummer from Cardiff explained. “I remember being in awe of the Grime Scene. It could be up to 15 MC’s in a room with one DJ, everyone buzzing to get their 16 bar.”

It was evident everyone wanted to be involved and from the playgrounds it grew. Kids of all ages took to the playground to ‘spit a bar’ (rap to a 16 bar count) an internal hierarchy developed. Who had the best flow?

CJ continues, “Being welsh and black was a struggle if I’m honest a lot harder than the rest of the country so I needed grime. I’m glad it came here, proof It wasn’t exclusive.”

The government enforced death (amongst other things).

With grime brought an embraced gangster culture. With that brought an increased police presence at gigs. Forcing some to be shut down.

As Grime seemed to be dominated by the youth, the industry took full advantage of that. And many artists couldn’t make money. As well as the fact, the rest of the UK wasn’t ready for the underground nature of Grime, so Grime artists turned to commercial songs.

“You couldn’t make any money, especially in Cardiff. The grime scene here though full of quality, couldn’t get a look in. No one wants to listen to any one from Wales so we all kind of, gave up.” Newport MC Alistar explained.

The inevitable rebirth

It’s evident a rebirth is happening. A month ago London artist Skepta teamed up with his brother and released That’s not me a nostalgic representation of what grime used to be. It’s caught on like wildfire and Cardiff is on the bandwagon. The group asteroid boys are no strangers to people in Cardiff, with their use of dub step grungy guitar riffs and Welsh accents in their Grime influenced Mc’ing. These boys are a prime example of the development of grime.

Newport born and Asteroid Boys producer Elliot ‘Dell’ Brusalis says. “Skepta and Wiley have recently released new singles that take grime back to its roots. They’ve almost said to the music industry…You made us change our outlook on music, forcing us to become more American and we are taking our creativity back. It’s pretty impressive, its where grime should have gone we almost didn’t stop being influenced by grime, yes we moved away but the things we moved to kept its grime Principles.”

Dell. Grime Pioneer. Producer for the Astroid Boys

Dell. Grime Pioneer. Producer for the Astroid Boys

This rebirth continues to help Grime break boundaries and by the support presented by the music industry, it seems to be growing. The problems faced in its initial stage are no longer present and Cardiff artists can see that. The initial question you ask when you hear about grime artists in wales is why here? Then you realise the back-story and inclusive nature and you think, why not?

With that in mind, Grime is an outlet we should get used to.