Son Raw’s going on not that great
On Danny Brown’s extremely entertaining turn on The Champs podcast, he once again reiterated how influential Grime was to his approach. In response, the hosts just couldn’t get their heads around how a guy from Detroit would like some weird shit from across the ocean – it wasn’t what the hood was “supposed to” listen in their eyes. Now aside from the fact that Detroit has always been musically open minded, the key misunderstanding here is that no matter how weird Grime got in the early aughts, it was still 100% street music by kids in council housing – think Ultramagnetic, RZA, Muggs and The Bomb Squad, not Anticon or even The Soulquarians. If I have to draw for American references a decade earlier for the comparison, it’s that Hip-Hop at the turn of the last decade was at the peak of its commercial dominance, and while it was no less creative than a few years earlier, that creativity was channeled into songs meant to appeal beyond a core community.
Rollo Jackson’s documentary on legendary Grime DJ Slimzee does a great job at highlighting just how street London’s street music was – no easy feat considering the lack of archival footage from that period. Instead, he follows the legendary DJ on a comeback run, shooting semi-abstract black and white footage that captures the tension between an art form and the surroundings that birthed it. More importantly, it’s also tells the story of a pioneer whose critical role in Grime’s rise threatened to be left out of the history books: after co-founding Rinse, spinning for Pay as You Go and Roll Deep and just generally dominating the scene, Slimzee was served with a court order after getting caught installing a pirate radio areal on a London rooftop, knocking him out of the game for 5 years. His recent comeback has been a true feel good story, and the film does a great job at capturing just what he contributed to the scene early on.