photo manipulation by nacrowe
the BRITISH HIP HOP sub-genre of GRIME was something, like most people, i was introduced to in earnest back in the early 2000s with the elevation of DIZZEE RASCAL and THE STREETS, but in my mind STORMZY is someone that has taken the sound and run with it.
i think being an american its easy to forget that there is a wider context for the culture we pump out to the rest of the globe and that there is a dialogue going on even if we choose not to participate. BRITISH HIP HOP is one of those genres that has always fascinated me as the UNITED KINGDOM is renowned for its hierarchical culture where markers of class denotes your status. namely among these markers is one's spoken accent. in the UNITED STATES we don't have this as you can have a hideous CAJUN or NEW JERSEY accent and be at the top of an industry. not so in the UNITED KINGDOM. out there you are locked into an identity based on you presentation. intriguingly, it works both ways as certain accents denote working-class credentials and some artists, LILY ALLEN comes immediately to mind, have been called out for their COCKNEY, err MOCKNEY accent, as if they were feigning authenticity fairly or unfairly.
so when you have the son of GHANIAN immigrants, born and raised in a council estate making it big worldwide, its always interesting to consider what shifts in the BRITISH consciousness have been undertaken. the dude's wordplay and flow is totally unique and infectious and a welcome new take on a genre where both seem to be less important stateside.
hopefully this wave, which includes fellow luminary SKEPTA, will continue on the other side of the pond and spark a fire under the asses of NYC's largely meh current state of HIP HOP. again, in my opinion.