Tuesday, March 2, 2010

UK Rap -What's going on?

Wiley gets his rock on - old skool drum n bass with a steal from possibly the oddest UK number one there's been. . .What next for UK hip-hop? Any tips, 'Spillers?


tincanman said...

I'm going to go out on a limb and say picking a K'naan song as the World Cup anthem is going to have a huge impact on the direction of hip hop.
I think the faux-gansta posturing is getting a little old anyway, even in America to some degree. Certainly in Europe, there seems to be an appetite for more compassionate and thoughtful artists informed by a wider, more wordly range of musical influences.
I'll readily admit to not being an expert on British hip hop. I don't listen to much of it, and thats simply because when a song starts out and I hear or see the guy/gal trying to look/sound American, I tune out. Speech Debelle and Jamie T I can listen to all day, but they seem more intent on expressing themselves than breaking into the U.S. market.
Where was I going with this? A UK led hip hop 'reinvention'; less posturing, more art. Merging world music rhythms and cultural sophistication with American street beats and smarts. Throw in a dash of British punk/rebel attitude, and you get get to be funky, write poetry and sneer. Whats not to like?
Or, you know, like, not.

ejay said...

That makes a lot of sense Tin, and I don't think it's just a generation thing. I think it was always the younger generations who were into the faux gangstas like 50 cent, and now they seem to be more into the europop sampling stuff, which is mostly family fun. It's funny because when I was growing up, a rapper sampling Dragostea Din Tei would have been unthinkable, it was galaxies apart. ANd who knows what white American suburban kids buy nowadays. Anyway, I like UK Hip Hop's approach to things in general, whether it's the post grimers like Wiley and Dizzee (it's still hard to believe that not so long ago their music was banned from most clubs) or Golden Age influenced guys like Roots Manuva. Of course through all this I'm talking out of my arse. In my personal case, a lot of the stuff I used to listen to, let's say maybe only 60% would survive if it was new to me today, and very few of it came from the UK. I feel ambivalent about all this sampling of chart hits from my teenagehood,it makes me feel old mostly. I guess guys like Wiley have found a way to exist and be successful in the music market. Still feels weird though.
Not sure the choice of Wavin' Flags will have such an impact on the direction Hip Hop (not sure there's such a thing as a direction anymore). On WC shows, you'll hear the chorus, and I'm sure very little rapping.
Well that was a ramble...

B-Mc2 said...

Giggs seems to be a big throwback to gangsta rap but with a british inflection, kind of a shame he's got such americanised beats - i think he'll be huge

Japanther said...

interesting observations and I pretty much agree with Tin.

I like the fact that Dizzee and Wiley have gone completely pop (although I do draw the line at Tinchy Stryder (although i've only heard the chart stuff)), but for my own personal tastes, I hope that there's also enough room for a separate darker, dubsteppy direction for UK rap.

Radio 1 did a pretty good documentary on the story of "UK sound" a couple of weeks ago focusing on the development of UK urban music. It's amazing that it's taken so long to hit the charts really, but i'm glad it has.

I loved this Wiley track by the way and that's a great indie track to rip-off. I remember me and SatanKidneyPie rooting for it to get to number one (i'm pretty sure SKP bought a copy) and were well pleased when it made it!