RELOADS & RHYMES [PART 2]: BACK TO THE VILLAGE

As the weeks progress it becomes more and more clear that the shift in consciousness within the Grime scene that’s been seen of late is turning into something that’ll make for a very special year…

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For as long as he’s been around JME has been a leading light in championing independent music. From the early days of designing all the Boy Better Know artwork it’s always been clear the JME’s attitude towards brand integrity and independence has always been big a part of his music and wider offerings as an artist overall. JME’s always been passion about the culture that surrounds his music, and his latest album has been used a tool enhance cultural experience for his fans in a way that’s not been pursued before…


The interesting decision to release his music in this way, has highlighted an important truth that artists have the power to control the culture around their music. Even in the digital era it’s still possible to manufacture the relationship we had with music that we once took for granted in the analogue era. I’m not suggesting that everyone should do what JME did, but it goes to show that there’s a lot of room to be creative in this day and age with how you engage with your audience and its members of the Grime that are starting to apply the principle of scarcity and demand which added extra level of appreciation and enjoyment for the music back era of CD’s and Tapes.

JME’s not the only one making a conscious effort to inform positive change and progression in the culture. Over the last week Wiley’s be vocal on Twitter about rebuilding the Grime scene and investing in it’s future with a few novel ideas.

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Since the clash with Stormzy Wiley’s had his battery pack on max, with an abundance of new music and a commitment to pushing the conversation within the Grime scene which has been incredible to witness. And what’s more incredible, are the things that are being suggested and the proposals that are being presented.

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Now it doesn’t take much imagination to see that Spooky Vs Wiley – in what would effectively be a soundclash – is something that everyone would love to see. Simply having Wiley on the decks is novelty in itself, but the ground breaking quality of this event in the form of Wiley being on the 1s and 2s is the only thing that makes this clash special.

Grime culture has yet to fully embrace the soundclashing side of broader clashing culture, and it seems fitting that in the wake of the clashes that kicked off the year someone took the initiative to capitalise on the interest in clashing and use it to elevate the culture by presenting a path for DJ’s to be a part of the competitive landscape of the contemporary Grime scene. Not much has been said since Wiley offered Spooky out last week, but seeing as they’ve announced that they’ll be holding the clash on Dejavu FM tonight and Spooky’s weekly show is on every Monday (8pm), I’ll guess we’ll be locking in to see if more incredible Grime history will be made this week.

In addition to his efforts to maintain interest in Grime through the music, Wileys also been vocal about investing directly into the culture…

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Now, it’s too soon to tell if any of the above will come to fruition. Wiley’s famous for not turning up to events, so there’s a healthy level of scepticism around whether these things will actually happen. But what’s clear is that the ideas, whether serious or otherwise, are one’s that should be considered whether Wiley is the one to follow them through or not. Soundclashing is something the scene would really benefit from embracing. A new exciting element to the music and culture which can inform more of the social appeal and social events that will help grow the Grime audience. A new record shop which stocks merchandise from all the great Grime acts would be a great cultural landmark and a great resource for independent artists gain exposure and fans to have a physical home for the scene.

Though Wiley’s ghostly reputation proceeds him, he has been turning of late, with his appearance on iFL TV being a prime example of a possible change in the Godfathers attitude to honoring his commitments…

Wiley and JME aren’t the only musical mavericks making interesting moves here in the UK. From kicking off war season this year, to launching his 366 album project Dot Rotten has also been hard at work. Though illness over the last few days has slowed his consistency some what, Dot has made up for the lack of vocal offerings with this gift to the scene, and yet another contribution to elevating the sound of British Urban music.

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The independent and collective efforts of JME, Wiley and Dot are informing the change that the scene very much needs. From JME’s nonconformist approach to distributing his music which is opening up the conversation about how to release music in 2020, to Wiley pushing the conversation and the boundaries of Grime culture to provide so much needed inspiration within the scene, along with Dot Rotten continuing to churn out the bangers further intensifying the spirit of independence that seems to swirling around the scene today. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and the efforts of the aforementioned musicians are helping towards building the village that’ll raise the future children of the Grime scene.

To be continued…

Written by Timi Ben-Edigbe
/@TIMI.WATSONROSE