proposal is titled An exploration of Grime Culture Cardiff
The purpose of this research proposal is to investigate and examine how the
Grime community in Cardiff has been constructed. I will utilise fieldwork
techniques and employ the ethos of ethnography I help shape my research.
I intend to unveil key theoretical ideas such as Ethnicity, Space &
Place in order to show how these are interconnected to form a healthy and
constructive Grime community, where the main foundations of Grime culture are
kept in tact.
My primary aim is to find out how a small Grime community like Cardiff
can survive alongside other music scenes in the UK. I also want to discuss the
history of the Grime on a national and local level and examine how there has
been a shift in the medias perception which has been a huge contribution to the
success of the scene.
My interest for the
subject is derived from being part of the scene in a media production sense as
well as being from a similar background to the subject’s I am researching.
previous studies I have researched into, the role of the ethnographer usually
takes the stance of an ‘outsider’ coming in to a scene which they are not truly
am in a unique position for this particular investigation, as I will enter my
field not just as a researcher but as an active member too, which will give a fresh
approach to my studies. I believe this will allow me to uncover certain
information which is genuine, as the participants of my research will be
comfortable enough to be open and honest with me.
The questions I’m
looking to answer is what in particular is unique to the Cardiff scene and why
has it not been given the same platforms as neighbouring cities. I’d like to
find out what can be done or what is being done to bring this area to a global
because it’s a timely metaphor for our mixed-race society.
British hip-hop or ‘grime’ is a distinctive ethnographic form. This is due to the cultural and spatial nature of grime music. It is one of the few genuinely
working-class music scenes to have emerged in recent years.
recently had a global resurgence and is now a cultural phenomenon.
The cultural convergence with the mainstream industry
such as working with brands, perfomring at major festivals, sports events, tv
shows and winning awards, has
contributed greatly to the success of the scene, it has put grime in a position
where it could be considered seriously.
The media among others had a perception of Grime as being a violent and
aggressive style of music which had a bad influence on youth culture. There has
been a massive shift in terms of peoples opinions on the culture which I will
discuss in more detail, it is now perceived a the voice of British youth.
used certain methodologies to help carry out my research. As the main focus of
my study is ethnography and representation, the method that is most appropriate
to use is qualitative research. Interviews with participants of the scene will
be vital to informing me of the current condition of the community.
will gather data from Online articles, scholars and journals and other relevant
literature. My primary research will include Observation through attending
grime events and interviewing a wide variety of people, this will play an
integral part in gaining access to people’s opinions and thoughts.
The History of Grime
Grime is a genre of music that
emerged in London during the late 90’s, early
2000’s, derived from a hybrid of genres.
It originated in underground raves and pirate radio stations, these platforms
cemented an audience for Grime. The audience was expanded by online channel’s
such as ‘Risk Roads’ which enabled the scene to a establish a loyal fanbase.
Garage is seen as grime’s
main musical influences and many of Grimes original artists where part of this
scene but pushed out because of the different style and lyrical content. The
Grime artists felt Garage didn’t fit the type of music they wanted to create,
the scene was too optimistic and was not a true representation of there
It because of the honest and often vulgar
lyrics that Grime gained a negative reputation in the media. This had a
knock-on effect which such as mainstream radio stations didn’t want to play
there music, venues didn’t want to hold there gigs and other platforms didn’t
want to publicise there work.
Grime eventually started
to make its way to the mainstream as leading grime artists began to find there
own ways of publicising there music, such as through pirate radio, ‘lord of the
mic’s’ clashed which where filmed and distributed (dvd,online). This ened up
inspiring the culture and it was important for the scene and its artists to go
through these adversties, the organic growth and evolution has helped shaped
the scene by paving the way for the new generation of artists..
It is one of few genres that has been
successful overseas and yet is inherently British
Grime is often mistaken
or compared to British Hip – Hop, in fact some of the Grime scenes catalyst
musicians have crossed over into both genres at certain points of they’re
career in order to gain mainstream success.
There is a distinct
difference between grime and British Hip –Hop. British Hip – Hop originated
long before grime and is heavily influenced by American Hip – Hop culture,
artists used the same lyrical tenchiques and sounds as there American
counterparts, this was not popular and didn’t gain much success in Britain as
the artists tarnished there credibility as they were perceived to be copying
American MC’s. (Hip-Hop in
the UK History 1970–2012 (N.D)
Grime is different from
from Hip-Hop as it has a distinct Briish local sound, it specifically relates
to the place it is coming from and the communities.
Grime is now perceived
to be a more credible British genre because it originated out of other Black
British music genres, therefore it is more relatable for the British audience.
Cardiff’s Grime Culture
Perfect environment and culture to develop a grime
scene, historical influences, inner city. Regional Identity, Music Platforms.
When it comes UK
Grime culture your initial thought wouldn’t be Cardiff.
As the British
urban genres continue to have widespread success on an international level,
there is now a genuine focus on the scenes growing within the communities of
A niche yet
passionate UK rap and grime scene is manifesting in Wales capital city,
producing artists who are more than capable of attracting and retaining huge fan
latest resurgence of rap culture within Wales, you would have to go back ten
years to find a welsh rappers presence in the charts, Goldie Lookin’ Chain known
for there satirical lyrics, debatably affected the welsh rap scene in a bad
way, giving the overall perception that Welsh urban music was just a joke.
“New York music
influenced London, in the same way people in Cardiff are influenced by what is
coming out of London. We’ve got to a point where it’s evolved so much that we’ve
got our own scene, style, slang and everything,” says Traxx.
The evolution and development is
the most important aspect of a youth culture. The success of the current scene
is due to Cardiff finding its own identity as well as drawing influences from
other cultures and music scenes.
whilst they may be the anomaly, a lot of Cardiff’s MCs and producers don’t
currently have the attention needed.
“Im not saying
that the local promoters don’t support the scenes, I just think most local MCs
are not at that level where they can actually draw a decent crowd,” Dellux
difficult to achieve a thriving music scene as it’s a big risk for a promoter
to back local unkown artists.
had a period of artists unable to get a chance at performing to big crowds, but
Cardiff’s Grime scene is in its infancy and its these types of occurances that
will benefit the artists in the long term. They learn to understand that its
their duty to build the hype and to give quality performances to retain an
“having elements of rap and rock in our music means we can play to a
diverse audience, it would be mad to win a mobo and a kerrang award”
“So much about grime is about posturing, lyrical content talking about
big cars and women, we break those boundaries, like in our latest video we had
a Mondeo estate, that’s actually the car that gets us about”
London is the hub of music, is it difficult as an artist outside of
“it’s a blessing in a sense, we bring something different to the table,
we don’t have the same influences as people in London, they all seem to have
the same style”
“Straight out of
Traumatik, 32 a veteran MC, earned a cosigned by Birminghams Devilman says that
grime that is coming out of places outside of London shoudltn be considered as
‘other’. ” If we continue to segregate it could possibly be detrimental to the
culture and its growth”. He also exsplains how there is a lack of support from
promoters and local radio stations, but because of the internet it is not a
major issue at it allows you reach all corners of the world, meaning you can
still make a living without the backing of your home city.
One act from Cardiff have been doing well for
some time. The Astroid Boys are by far the biggest and most established name in
Cardiff, formed I 2012, merge a hybrid of genres into their music. In a recent
interview with Radio 4, Traxx the bands frontman talked about how the
multi-culturalism with Wales inspired them to mix both Welsh slang and potois
into there lyrical content
There hybrid sound has impressed critics
Traxx says that the band aren’t looking for
validation from flag pole acts within the grime scene. “Grime originated in
London, yes, that doesn’t mean we need them to tell us wether we’re good or
not, we don’t need validation”
There seems to be a small town mentality in
Cardiff, artists don’t seem to back eachother.
It seems to me that Cardiff is undergoing the
same issues as the London scene did 5-10 years ago, bad perception not being
considered serouisly, but are learning from other mistakes, the understand the
need for originality, represent regional identity, creating your own hype,
collaboration,experimentation, grimes core values.
still many opportunities for arising local artists. Cardiff has a ever growing
student population of which the clubs naturally caters to. Dellux a producer
part of the Astroid Boys collective exsplains “The drum & bass scene is the
dominant one mainly because of the students, when it comes to grime, only big
artists like Stormzy and Wiley draw big crowds”
clubs nights, such as Aperture is one of the prominent venues for these urban
sounds. ‘Squeeze’ a brand new gig night which is held in local warehouse
(Cardiff Speaker Hire), is much more grime specific, the best of local talent
perform aswell as more known artitsts and it seems to be gathering more
momemtum at each event as more and more young people are shifting there
interests towards this type of music. An artists can use this platform as a
means of netowkring and a path way to recognition. I
future of grime on a national level is filled with opportunities, this is no
different in Cardiff.
with the current urban music landscape, the support of music platforms and the
UK’s ever changing identity. The venues, promoters and other participants have
the chance to utilise the buzz and interest that this scene is generating. The
scene needs to be supported consistently for it to really take off on the
the artists will need to continue to have a hustler mentality from the bottom
up, if Cardiff intends to establish itself within the UK scene
Grime is really hard to define, it is a genre of music
(140bpm), but is also a lifestyle and culture, food, slang, fashion, same
motives, hanging on the block. People relate It to rap but I believe it is more
similar to dancehall, its all about the energy. Each city has its key
influences, in south they are heavily influenced by Chicago drill music, In
west is more garage influenced, in north skepta is more influenced, spaced out
instrumentals, south the home of grime, wiley, clangy sounds, traditional
grime. When looking at the main act from Cardiff, rock music has heavily
influenced this band. It important for Cardiff to find its own sound.. (aj
tracey, mass appeal)