The New Music Revolution:
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Where’s the Urban Explosion?!
EVERY hour we are seeing the fragmentation and ridicule of the current…
PHOTO CREDIT: Unsplash
government without abatement and discipline. It appears things can go one of two ways: Mrs. May’s government hang on and curate some sort of organisation and focus – against all odds and predictions. The other is we go through yet ANOTHER General Election and, as the polls are suggesting, elect Labour into power. The percentages have shifted into the red column and there is a feeling Jeremy Corbyn will rise to power before long. I hope the second option occurs but it seems not (right now). I think there is a lot of confusion and nobody is really sure what will happen. What we do know is there’s a lack of trust and respect for Mrs. May and it seems that is unlikely to change any time soon. Many are calling for her resignation whilst others are waiting to see what her next move is. People my age (young/young-ish) are lending grievance and scepticism the way of the Conservative government. The tabloid filth-diggers – synonymous for their low morals and loose ethics – were on Corbyn’s back and villainising him throughout the campaign. Their propaganda and vitriol didn’t really go according to plan! Now, the tables are turning and (tabloids) are starting to pour scorn on Mrs. May. It is unbelievable how fickle they are and how they really don’t believe what they write or say. One shouldn’t be shocked the tabloid are full of crap because that is how they operate every single day.
Whilst the press and government are divided; people are confused and unsure what is going on – there is stability and promise in music that is refreshing.
Well, in a way there are nerves surrounding the state of live venues and whether sufficient capital will be injected into the industry. Corbyn promised to support music and preserve the richness and tapestry we all depend on – and I believe him. He is not in a position to fulfil that now so, yeah, there are some doubts.
IN THIS PHOTO: Grenfell Tower, London
The reason for writing this stemmed from a revisit of artists like Public Enemy. Kendrick Lamar is on my mind and, between these artists, you have fiery and intense voices that take the government to task and truly represent what their country is going though. Maybe it is a British thing but there is a definite need for anger and articulation to override the tutting and compartmentalised balking. Maybe there is not the same racial and social injustice that fired the likes of Public Enemy up in the 1980s and 1990s but there is something happening in our nation that needs to be addressed. I am putting a lot of pressure on our Urban artists to take charge but, historically, I find Hip-Hop and Rap are genres that carry more authority and innovation than, say, Folk and Rock. I may be wrong but the power and potency they bring to music remain with me far longer than it would, say a Folk artist campaign. I love Dylan’s protest songs but find myself gravitating to artists like Public Enemy for true sermon and leadership.
We have performers like Kate Tempest capable of penning socially-aware songs and (penning) brilliant observations – but where are the angry and bold young men and women at a time like this?!
I think it is a bit sad someone like Dizzee Rascal didn’t come along now – rather than in 2003. If Boy in da Corner were released today, one feels it would look at social isolation and deprivation; gang violence and manor feuds but address terrorism, austerity and the generational split – not to mention disintermediating from Europe and political cries. Imagine what he could achieve and what a Dizzee Rascal would sound like in 2017?! That is not beyond the questions – because he is still recording – but doesn’t have the youth and creative flair of fourteen years ago. I look around the Grime scene and, whilst I hear fantastic artists who speak honestly and passionately about their reality, there is nothing that blows my socks off.
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As we speak, Jeremy Corbyn is serving pints to punters down at Glastonbury and delivered a lionhearted speech on the Pyramid Stage.
Ironically, his oration will be the most high-profile and applauded on that stage. Over the past couple of days – tonight and tomorrow – some awesome artists will be amazing Glastonbury artists but few will be providing socially aware and explosive mandates. That is probably good because most people want to hear accessible and uplifting music: artists that get them all dancing and smiling. That is what the festival is about but, when we move forward, one wonders where those angry young voices will emanate from. We hear enlivened and passionate Londoners in the news – especially after Grenfell and similar high-rises being evacuated – but few in music that articulate that same sense of outrage and disgust. Maybe tastes are changing but I feel the Urban/Hip-Hop/Grime scene is divided. There are those legends like Wiley and Dizzee who have passed their best moments are not as young/essential as they once were. There are some agile and accomplished poets in the underground who are not getting the attention they deserve – or have a loyal fanbase unable to push the music to the mainstream. There are others who have the potential to succeed but will arrive a while from now. I know there are some fantastic musicians from the streets who are saying it how it is. Jeremy Corbyn – despite the fact he is middle-aged and white – seems to be one of the coolest and most switched-on politicians we have had for many years. If/when he gets into power, I think the disaffected youth will have a champion they can rely on. At the moment, and has been the way of things for too long, we are being nannied by over-educated androids whose spectrum of emotion and empathy is not exactly breaking. Take our current P.M. and do you think she is aware of what a working-class person is?! The streets, manors and lives of the hard-working salt are not being looked after.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy Corbyn
She would rather concentrate on policy and pieces of paper: detached from the reality of the country and devoid of any humanity. Corbyn seems like an attractive alternative that, if we go back to the polls, will sweep into Downing Street. Until that happens, there is a role for music to play. Although Corbyn has, technically, ‘headlined’ the Pyramid Stage; I wonder how long it will be until one of this country’s young Urban artists ascends that to that level? Maybe the motifs and mantras of these artists are too serious, real and affecting to gain populous appeal – a little heavy-handed and politicised for a crowd that wants to have a good laugh.
Look at the wider world and there is a definite desire to have the young musicians of this country speak out and get involved.
Of course, this need not be focused entirely around those in the ‘Urban’ genres: there is the opportunity for every type of artist to say something meaningful. As I stated; the nation is at its most volatile and malleable at the moment – it is uncertain how the government will fare and how much stability we have. This consequence is not down to bad luck or any sort of worldwide malaise: this is a problem we have created and are having to deal with – for no other reason than the fact our government has no understanding of the people (or the real world). Music has, historically, always been able to react at how society changes and speak for the people. Whilst I love all the great bands and artists creating sensational music this year – I need someone (or many) to pen an album that rips off the mask of government and points the finger squarely where it belongs. Aside from terrorism, displacement and voting divisions: there are more fun and upbeat areas that could mingle – on the theoretical – album. I know we have some of the best young artists in the world and it seems like the time – regardless of genre and privilege – to step up to the microphone and create something epoch-defining. Whether it is in-the-works or being formulated right now; I, for one, cannot wait to see…
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WHAT can be achieved.