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Son Raw is dead.
Congratulations Grime, you’ve reached the “existential crisis” stage of genre development, reflecting on your own mortality through countless “Is grime dead?” tweets. Welcome to the club. Grab a seat next to NY Hip Hop and Jungle.
Of course, the idea is absurd – there’s plenty of kids spitting over bass-heavy, 140 BPM beats–they’re calling it dill–and getting shit for it from the police. Pornhub is the new pirate radio.
As for the original grime generation, they’re still dropping fantastic music, with Roll Deep veterans leading the charge. Manga Saint Hilare’s Outbursts From The Outskirts was the best Grime album of 2017–mainstream press be damned–a fact he’s sure to remind you of on his latest single, “Forever.”
Blessing Wiley’s classic “Ice Master” riddim, a nearly lost dub, the outsider showcases how grime can grow without losing what makes it so special–updating the genre’s skippy flow and sonic template with a wizened strain of lyricism and an entrepreneurial streak. That t-shirt game is strong.
Manga’s been particularly vocal about his DIY approach, whether throwing shows in London (no easy task in grime) or releasing his own music, and it’s impossible not to root for him. Beyond the shock of grime’s sonic boom, the independent structure of pirate radio, white labels, and hood DVDs was a huge part of the appeal, and seeing it updated for the online era makes for a great example of how it’s possible to survive in music without watering down the formula for a chart hit.
Manga’s not trying to be a star here; he’s being himself from the beats to the spectacles. And that’s the sort of honesty you want to see monetized so we can hear and see more of it.