Now first off, I don't like cameras - isn't my game, but I did this for the people against the over-exaggerated influence of hip hop's impact on the world. Admittedly, our team lost members as they were blinded by the lights, conned by materialism and hip hop culture propaganda through mass media telling us hip hop is who we are. Hip hop justify things they may not necessarily agree with "But he/she stays getting money" and state "money over b**ches". People flock to that without even thinking it's nonsense. Propaganda money buys out minds.
I responded to DJ Snips' on twitter over comments such as "Grime is a form of hip hop" & "It is people rapping over a beat which stems from America" made in this video
IS MAN MADDDDDDDD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!!? Can't make reckless statements like that to my ears. I'm so sorry. Even after Chuckie corrects him by saying Jamaicans toasting came before hip hop, he acknowledges it then goes back to his original point that rapping is American. How does that even make sense in 2011 bordering on 2012? During our Twitter debate, he told me I need to study music and some next stuff. I replied "Common sense is better than reading music books as told from the perspective of hip hop." (shortened in tweet character limit obvi.) Back-and-forth for about a three hours I reckon.
Basically, it was the straw that broke the camel's back type of vibe really. This Twitter debate happened on a Saturday some time ago following a heated debate I had with contributors to a website the previous Sunday about who is a grime legend. Won't name the MC we discussed, but basically the opposition was wrong. Problem with a particular persons argument is she used general hip hop way of classifying a legend; back catalogue, lyrical-ability aka metaphors, similes and that nonsense. Also, someone remarked that dancehall is one-dimensional. Why do hip hop fans think they have the right to comment on everything, mainly things they don't even listen to? People that don't listen to hip hop deeply will still describe it as drugs, guns and bling, so don't think the skinny jeans brigade are saving your reputation.
Also, that Hip Hop Odyssey book they sell for over a £100 (waste of money, BLAM I said it), gave reggae's sound system culture influence on hip hop two lines followed by "something Kool Herc denies" in brackets. ARE THEY MADDDD?!?!?!?!?!?! RIP Heavy D, he says "hip hop comes from Jamaica". Jamaican-born Kool Herc took what he knew from Jamaica mixed it with American culture and blam! Go to 9:00 mins
So yeah, I'm on a mission to challenge the way we perceive everything as hip hop, due to the arrogance of some hip hop fans that think it's the best because it sells the most. "Rapping" doesn't automatically make an artist hip hop - it's just the universally-recognised term for rhythmic spoken-word type vibes. (And if a person doesn't know about what the hell they're on about, it's best to keep quiet.)
Anyway, @XianLoves suggested we record it live on JumpOff and voila
I don't understand why British people champion hip hop so hard when it isn't our culture. I know why; it's deemed cool because it makes money and "money = success" in 2012. Doesn't mean I understand it though. Basically, Snips says "music that comes from poor background and raps is hip hop." These times reggae did it before hip hop and had more influence on us than hip hop. There were points I couldn't put across due to the time restriction, so I wrote a blog post...
Elijah (grime DJ crew on Rinse FM /label Butterz), Aaron Hanson (from Hanson's House and also Rinse FM grime DJ) and I had a conversation about/poked fun at Dot Rotten's interview on the Guardian's website where he states his influences range from (brace yourself) "Wu-Tang (hmm, but I'll let you have it), Motown, Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra". I rate Dot highly; deep, can be thought-provoking etc., however I can't take that seriously. Thing is, that type of answer isn't unusual for MCs. "Who are your influences?" to UK MCs means opportunity to name random artists who's couple tracks pop-up during shuffle mode on their iPod to prove they're not stereotypical urbanite, they listen to the same things are rural folk.
(There's a reason for the random rant above. I'm gonna reel you back in to the original point now.) Lists of influences always miss two vital elements that contribute to all of our current scenes: reggae/dancehall and homegrown scenes like jungle, garage or grime itself. I'm willing to bet almost every single MC picked up the pen/mic because of either one or a few of those genres. "So why do they always miss those?" I hear you ask. Because they aren't deemed cool; they don't feature regularly on top 40 mainstream charts, championed in mainstream media or awarded at mainstream ceremonies like the Brits. "Mainstream" being the operative word here.
As a result, some of the people in the original debate, who may not have followed grime or were a part of the scene culturally, hear these guys name rappers as influences and take it as fact. Plus, they themselves were probably into the American stuff over "that noise by the youths shouting about shankin' (stabbing/causing harm to someone)" that everyone thought would be a flash-in-the-pan.
I can tell you, as someone that grew up in similar areas around the same time as these grime guys, most youths under-18 (much like today) weren't listening to hip hop that much. If you weren't listening to Tim Westwood on Friday and Saturday nights and/or buying CD's, you weren't a hip hop head, because the music/scene wasn't plastered everywhere nor as accessible as it is now. Believe me, hip hop heads were in the minority on ends until the explosion of Sky Digital around the mid-2000s through watching MTV Base and downloading on Napster (not me personally). Dare I say r&b artists such as R. Kelly, Joe, Donell Jones, Brandy, Monica, 112, Dru Hill, Destiny's Child etc. were more popular. Inner city youths in London listened to Delight, DeJa Vu, Rinse etc. or ragga on one of the countless other pirate stations like Power Jam, Bassline etc. Hip hop was and has never been that popular on pirates.
First and foremost, everyone of these artists believed there was a living to be made from music in UK after So Solid. Garage crews HeartLess Crew('s in whose name?!) and Pay As U Go, grime crews NASTY and Roll Deep and/or Bounty Killer, Ninja Man, Shabba, Terror Fabulous, Saxon Sound etc. influenced these kids to pick up a mic. I can't even tell you one rapper that was bigger than MC's on ends. Nor can I tell you rappers that racked up more chart positions than Shabba Ranks, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Shaggy, Bitty McLean, Maxi Priest... Even before that with The Specials, The Police, UB40, Madness etc. It's that real. Don't let them fool you; reggae and dancehall has always been and arguably still is more popular than hip hop in areas that birth these MCs. Bashment songs still rival Rick Ross, Lil' Wayne and Drake on the back-of-the-bus charts (teenagers that play music from their mobile phones) in many of these areas.
So yeah, that's why I did the live debate despite my camera shyness. Everyone and everything black/urban gets sucked into the "hip hop" banner, but why not reggae? I remember Reggaeton being discribed as a cross between latin music and hip hop on CD:UK. Says it all about the program but still. UK "urban" music has more in common with of reggae than hip hop. Dub/instrumentals, clashing, gun fingers, passing mic, "rapping" for reloads... are all vitals elements in both yet not present in hip hop. But that doesn't mean it is reggae or dancehall. It has similarities.
MC's are more likely to use a Jamaican accent than Yank, many rappers (not all, big up London Posse, Skinnyman, Klashnekoff etc.) in the UK were usually criticised for twanging American accents - see the difference? And reggae directly influences all of our genres. Producers regularly use reggae/dancehall samples and we add bass to everything because of our reggae background. Every single one of the genres (jungle, garage, grime, UK funky...) are mixtures of UK and Jamaican influences. Even this UK road rap ting, Giggs rides the riddim like a bashment artist. Did you know he was a ragga DJ then a garage MC before becoming the rap don? Wretch admits he didn't know rap until late; garage and dancehall were his thing. Chipmunk, Wiley, Scorcher and them have also admitted similar things.
But we're at a stage in music where a popular dancehall song requires an unofficial remix by Chipmunk, Sneakbo or an American (Nicki Minaj) before certain radio DJ's/stations play it with the exception 1Xtra and Bang (Londoners have the choice to know who I'm talking about or kiss the ring). Come on, man, how can the heartbeat of our music be treated as foreigner music over actual foreign music? (Rhetorical 'cos I know it's all about money spent.) Do the majority of people in London actually know any Americans? But we all know Jamaicans, right? We mainly know American culture through TV and Internet, not direct face-to-face with an American in human flesh. No one outside of SoulCulture blog dancehall videos for songs by the well-known artists like Mavado and Vybz Kartel that will hit high views, but they're quick to post a false story about Vybz Kartel's "prison break". If you're a blogger, ask yourself why this is. (Quick plug: check my post on the silent but loud reggae/dancehall influence on underground and mainstream last year.)
Moral of the story: stop downplaying the influence reggae music has on our music in favour of hip hop. It is inaccurate. And Jamaicans were influential on hip hop's beginnings. But most of all rate our own rich British music history. Grime is grime, like hip hop is hip hop, like reggae is reggae.
See the similarities between grime
p.s. Big up the dubstep producers that feel no way in shouting out King Tubby, Scientist, Lee "Scratch" Perry as influential in their thing. Oh and Maverick Sabre for always shouting out Mavado and Sizzla. Leshurr for shouting out Sister Nancy "Bam Bam" although they didn't include it in this article.
p.p.s. I don't hate hip hop, I just don't think it's the be all and end all of the world.
p.p.p.s. Let's hope 2012 is the year reggae, bashment, soca and afrobeats dominate make a big impact on our airwaves along with homegrown music. We're in this together.
#OccupyRadio movement soon land.