It’s no secret that grime is in the mainstream and has been for a while. I’m sure we could all go on for hours about how and why the genre has taken over - Meridian Dan gassed off his great deal on a quality used car? Skepta ditching Ed Hardy for Supreme? - but that’s a conversation for more knowledgeable people at another time.
There are MCs that dominate tunes with their flows and prescence, others have a way with words and messages to preach- some more philosophical than others. So with a new generation affixed on grime music past and present, let's look at what they're being taught...
Lady Leshurr - ‘Part 4’
We’ll start off simple: The importance of oral hygiene.
It's depressing that the first lesson needs to be taught to people that aren't children, but unfortunately there are some scummy lazy cretins that exist amongst us.
The self proclaimed Lady isn't afraid to tackle social ills - as with “what you Snapchattin' in the club for?” - so the menaces of tooth decay and that gross tongue fur are met with a firm “brush your teeth”. She teaches us oral hygiene is more than just brushing your teeth; it’s also about your breath. If you don’t brush your teeth “it’s a bad breath ting”.
If you can’t takes these words of advice into account and get them pearly whites nice and pearly, well, you'll struggle with the next few lessons.
Kano - ‘P’s and Q’s'
Sometimes the most important lessons come from the unlikeliest of places, so Kano's message is surprising from a genre known for its savagery. It is: manners maketh man!
Mind your P’s and Q’s and you could be where Kano is; an accomplished grime artist, actor and even victim to Adam Deacon’s mental deterioration. That's right- you too can get yourself a stalker! Kano points out that that “difference between me [Kano] and you [everyone else] is that [he’s] on [his] “p’s and q’s”. What are you on? You might be thinking, ’that’s fine, I’m polite on the weekend’... no, just no. Those pills that made you a bit handsy and wide-eyed might have made you feel forward, earnest and polite, but those aren’t manners; that’s just you fucked.
Plus, if you needed more of an incentive to reel in that filthy mouth of yours, Kano has the answer with fisticuffs: “Act up and get bopped in tha mouth”.
Ruff Sqwad - Together ft. Wiley
If it is broke, don’t try and fix it - dump your other half.
If, like the majority of people, you've had a shitty relationship but decide to desperately cling on like a sad, horny limpet and keep it together, Wiley has some sage advice for you. If any of the lyrics are hitting home a bit too hard, giving you the nerves your other half's dagger eyes do, then maybe you’re in that shitty relationship and it’s taken the wise words of one of grime’s originators for you to see the light.
Wiley knows that if it “ain’t working” then “he’s off to find a new lover” and more importantly “not now or maybe in a few years/when I get past self-destruction” because him and his wifey “both know what it is, it's over”.
Wiley's persona may lead you to believe that he’s intimidating, cold hearted, staying in his own lane and when it comes to his music you could say he is; but with matters of the heart he’s bit of a relationship guru and we should all keep his lyrics in mind.
JME - Integrity
JME's cryptic, metaphorical song titles have clouded what this lesson is, so let me break it down for you in the simplest language: integrity.
There’s a long list of musicians who’ve sold out to become the face for the music industry's endless stream of dogshit that - for some irrational reason - sells (or used to at least). But JME hasn’t ended up in that position because… yes, you guessed it; he kept his integrity: “Fam, all I wanted to do was pick up the mic and spray, and today I still do that..” he doesn’t care about “YouTube stats… First week sales”. You can thank that BBK Mobile money for tiding him over and keeping his credibility safe.
Skepta - Too Many Man
It seems to be the case that any talk of grime comes with reference to Skepta in some way, shape or form, so I thought I’d follow suit and shoehorn in the prodigal son.
Given the majority of the chorus, you'd think Too Many Man is about the importance of a female presence at a party; but dig deeper, there's more to it then ensuring your festivities aren’t dominated by sausage. Skepta and the BBK crew are touching upon the dangers of mob mentality, something which I’m sure we all fall victim to at some point, whether that’s innocently pissing about at school or setting cars on fire in full on riots. Not judging, we all get carried away.
So keep this cautionary tale in mind. When there’s ‘Too Many Man’ BBK hint at the dangers at the beginning of the song: ‘it’s gonna break loose like hell in here’ and, as the song progresses, so does the violence that comes with mob mentality, escalating to Frisco saying he’ll “slew any man”. When you next find yourself in a group debating whether or not to throw that paper airplane or hurl that bin through the shop window, consider the story Skepta & BBK tell.
Take these tips onboard and soon you'll be a minty breathed, well mannered, credible individual who knows how to make you own decisions. Life can be hard but don’t fret, because if you are ever in need of some guidance you need look no further than the UK grime scene; the place of modern day philosophers and life coaches who you wouldn't want to punch in the face (and you couldn’t, even if you wanted to).
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