It’s grime up north ... Scots stars of the ur­ban mu­sic scene are tak­ing the world by Stor­mzy

Sunday Herald - - NEWS - BY KARIN GOOD­WIN

YOUR mum might think it’s some­thing un­de­sir­able found un­der your fingernails – but Scot­land is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a golden age of grime.

Young Scots per­form­ers are at­tract­ing mil­lions of views on YouTube, and artists rap­ping in broad Scots ac­cents are now the toast of the ur­ban dance mu­sic scene.

Grime – a fu­sion of garage, hip hop and jun­gle – first came out of Lon­don in the early 2000s, and while Scot­tish grime crews such as Lev­els Syn­di­cate have ex­isted for just over a decade, pro­mot­ers and record la­bel own­ers say the scene in Scot­land is go­ing through a resur­gence and are pre­dict­ing big things for artists from north of the Bor­der. The big­gest grime star to­day is Stor­mzy, now a global star.

Lead­ing the charge are MCs like 20-year-old Shogun, whose cult hit Vul­can in which he raps with im­pres­sive lyri­cal dex­ter­ity about his dif­fi­cult Pais­ley up­bring­ing, has clocked up al­most three mil­lion views since it was posted in July. Mean­while, upand-com­ing young DJ/pro­ducer duo Rap­ture 4D and Polo­nis have been tipped by taste-mak­ers in­clud­ing Radio 1Xtra and on­line radio sta­tions Radar Radio and Beats 1.

Other Scot­tish grime artists mak­ing waves us­ing their own ac­cents and lo­cal slang – and clock­ing up tens of thou­sands of hits – in­clude Poczy and Oakzy B as well as Chrissy Grimez and Skola. Raps fea­ture plenty of Glas­gow pat­ter and in­clude ref­er­ences to the city’s tower blocks, sec­tar­i­an­ism, class and “s***e weather”.

Josh Casey, of the J-Bone Col­lec­tive which rep­re­sents Rap­ture 4D and runs one-off grime nights across the city, said: “It’s been a crazy cou­ple of years but the growth has been enor­mous.” He set up Glas­gow-based J-Bone in mid-2015 in re­sponse to a grow­ing de­mand for grime gigs. Planned events this month in­clude Lon­don rap­pers Fekky at Glas­gow venue SWG3 and AJ Tracey at the Sub Club, also in Glas­gow.

“Glas­gow is a mu­si­cal city so once the crowd gets a bit more con­sis­tent it’ll just grow and grow,” he added. “The progress in the past two years has been mas­sive and the fu­ture is re­ally ex­cit­ing.”

Gal­lus One, a founder of Lev­els Syn­di­cate, a mu­sic col­lec­tive set-up in 2006 that now runs in­de­pen­dent la­bel Tuigse, said de­spite a “slow burn” Scot­tish grime had taken hold. He claims that the growth of the DIY scene – al­low­ing artists to de­velop an on­line fan base through YouTube and re­lease mu­sic via in­de­pen­dent la­bels rather than wait to be picked up by ma­jor la­bels – is a big fac­tor in the boom in grime.

“In the last 18 months or so in­ter­est has re­ally been build­ing up and now we’re at a place where it feels like we’ve got peo­ple’s ear,” he added. Kip Cozy of Twelve 50 TV, a flag­ship Scot­tish YouTube grime chan­nel with over 12,000 sub­scribers and 3.5 mil­lion views, said al­though grime had been around in Scot­land for a while, in the last year in­ter­est had re­ally taken hold with Zesh, Poczy, Shogun and Oakzy B gain­ing the most trac­tion.

Raps fea­ture plenty of Glas­gow pat­ter and in­clude ref­er­ences to the city’s tower blocks, sec­tar­i­an­ism and class

The pro­ducer said: “Peo­ple want to see what Scot­land has to of­fer in terms of this cul­ture. What makes it dif­fer­ent is the ac­cents are dif­fer­ent to any­where else – they are very lyri­cally skilled and man­age to use their own slang from their own ar­eas and tell a story. Th­ese guys all have fans young and old that look up to them, want to hear their story and have had views in hun­dreds of thou­sands and mil­lions to­gether, from all over the world.”

Joe Heron – aka Shogun – told the Sun­day Her­ald: “I’ve only been mak­ing mu­sic for a cou­ple of years but I’ve al­ways writ­ten – po­etry, short sto­ries, stand-up com­edy. I think grime is now be­ing taken more se­ri­ously in Scot­land – cer­tainly my own mu­sic is, along with some oth­ers. I’m just go­ing to keep do­ing what I do.”

Above, MC Shogun from Pais­ley en­joyed a hit with song Vul­can while duo Rap­ture 4D and Polo­nis, left, are mak­ing waves on Radio 1Xtra

Pho­tographs: YouTube

Su­per­star Stor­mzy is the UK’s lead­ing light of the grime scene

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