In America, few hip-hop and rap fans know what grime music is, but this may be changing in 2017.
As a matter of fact, the time has been right for Americans to get on board with grime music since Kanye West went to the Brit Awards in 2015 and invited top musicians from that genre to join him on stage.
The takeaway for most Americans was the surprised expression on Taylor Swift’s face when Kanye West denounced the people that organized the 2015 Brit awards for not recognizing grime musicians such as Stormzy and Skepta.
Kanye West followed this by having a large crowd of people dancing on stage with him while he rapped “All Day” and someone employed a special effects flamethrower.
However, Kanye West was right to denounce the organizers behind the Brit Awards because they traditionally left out all of the British black musicians that performed rap music. This is especially questionable considering the popularity of grime music in the U.K., according to Voice.
Oddly, some music fans in the U.K. expressed outrage that Kanye West would say black musicians were left out of the Brit Awards because there was another type of award for black musicians called the MOBO.
Despite the accusations of racism about the situation, it was announced that for the 2017 Brit Awards, more members of the grime music community would be included as nominees for music awards.
Fader reported that grime rapper Skepta would also be performing at the 2017 Brit Awards in addition to having a nomination.
As it appears, grime music may finally be getting the recognition it deserves in its home country of the UK, but will it become extremely popular in America?
Currently, grime music listed on websites like the Grime Archive is described as being a type of rap music specific to people that are currently living in England, Scotland, and Wales.
Many of these grime musicians are people descended from various colonies from England over the past 500 years, and there is a direct influence from Jamaica, according to MTV. In addition, grime music represents every community of people in the U.K. including White, Muslim, and Pakistani.
Regardless, while many people in the U.K. will immediately say the names Lady Leshurr, Stormzy, or Skepta when asked if they have a favorite grime music musician, many Americans are unfamiliar with their work.
Despite this, Americans may be exposed to more grime music in the near future, and exposure may come in the form of other celebrities. For example, in 2016, One Direction’s Liam Payne said he was into grime music, according to Capital FM, and he was working with grime producer, Krunchie.
It was announced by Lana Del Rey that she would be headlining the 2017 Paris Lollapalooza with grime rapper, Skepta.
While it may be awhile before it becomes clear if grime music is going to take on the American music charts in 2017, what hip hop might be focusing on instead is a special anniversary in the history of rap.
In particular, there will likely be a big focus on 40-year-anniversaries for 1977 NYC for a variety of reasons. Namely, both punk and hip hop heavily evolved during those times and in that city. NYC is also where President Trump is from, and he has a lot of old interviews about “how bad” NYC used to be in the late 1970s until he helped “save” it.
Punk history aside, it is also likely that hip hop will revisit a disaster in 1977 that ended up pushing the birth of the genre.
This critical moment in hip hop history took place when the NYC Blackout and Heat Wave happened on July 13, 1977. Soon after the NYC 1977 Blackout was when DJ Disco Wiz did the first mixing with sound effects.
However, none of it could have happened without Grandmaster Caz lifting a Clubman 2 mixer during the heatwave riot.
According to DJ Disco Wiz, before the blackout, there were only four major DJ crews. The very next day after the blackout and riot, there were a whole new set of DJ crews because all of these people went and looted mixing equipment that they previously could not afford.
Adding to the importance of that year, it was explained that 1977 was also a time when the city had slashed the budget for public schools. This meant a lot of kids in NYC no longer had music programs to attend in their public schools and they also fired a lot of the teachers or cut other services.
Since there were a lot of kids around with nothing to do, Afrika Bambaataa, a former gang member, wanted to start doing something positive in his community that was focused on non-violence.
For this reason, Afrika Bambaataa started to organize parties for young people and he played the music. He called these parties “hip-hop.” By 1979, hip hop was an official genre.
[Feature Image by Jo Hale/Getty Images]