It’s about time we got to know the genre steadily making its way over from the UK onto American shores. Grime has been on the British scene for well over a decade, but in the last few years has experienced more mainstream success with the likes of Skepta and Stormzy. With a gritty sound and flows that never end, it can be daunting to approach, especially when you’ve got OVO luring you into a trance of reminiscence and tears. Like hip hop, not all grime music sounds the same, so we’re making it easy for you to take that first step by matching up hip hop and grime artists – if you’re a fan of one, we reckon you might just like the other.
If you like Lil Wayne, you should listen to: Kano
Kano is one of the original grime MCs and Lil Wayne built Cash Money, introducing Drake to the world, so we’ve got a lot to be grateful for. If you appreciate Lil Wayne’s consistently impressive word play, then you’ll feel the same way about Kano’s lyricism. With lines like, ‘I’m on my P’s and Qs, that’s guna make more P’s than U’s’ and, ‘If some of man’s jeans looking MC Hammered / Nah it’s not that he’s just holding a hammer’, you can’t really be disappointed. Like Lil Wayne, Kano has drifted in and out of the spotlight, taking a music break to star in ‘Top Boy’ with fellow grime MC Ashley Walters. His discography is varied, from the emotionally-charged Nite Nite to the highly-charged New Banger, which you could compare to Lil Wayne’s Mirror and A Milli respectively.
If you like Eminem, you should listen to: Stormzy
Although Eminem has been in the game a lot longer than Stormzy, the lyricism and delivery of both show how aware they are that being at the top is fleeting. You can almost feel the biting at their feet and eventually one of new kids might hurt, so making it last is the priority. Stormzy has been getting mainstream radio play for a while now, but his bars still sound like he’s trying to win a park battle, and well, we know how Eminem acts in that situation. There’s also the sheer speed of spitting bars that they both do with such ease. With one of Stormzy’s many names being Stiff Chocolate, you should not skip this force on the scene.
If you like Nicki Minaj, you should listen to: Lady Leshurr
Yes these are both female rappers, but the comparisons go far beyond the obvious. They are fearless in the game, not afraid to make a name for themselves in their male-dominated and traditionally misogynistic genres. Their lyricism is quick-witted and tight; Nicki’s verse on ‘Monster’ is arguably some of the best female rap we’ve ever heard (‘Hairdresser from Milan that’s the monster do / Monster Giuseppe heel, that’s the monster shoe’) and Lady Leshurr just calls out everyone (‘Don’t think you’re buff cause you’re wearing contour / Cause I’ll wipe your brows off / I’ll snatch your wig and your nails off (Bye Felicia)’). Although their images are near opposite ends of the spectrum, the hunger of both artists is undeniable, and keeps you coming back for more.
If you like Future, you should listen to: Giggs
With his signature grunt and deep, deep voice, Future fans should appreciate the unique vibe Giggs brings to grime. Both have made the stylistic choice to repeat lines throughout their music, reinforcing their desire for girls/drink/codeine. Giggs tends to use a slower, laid back beat which should go down well if you’re a fan of Future’s hypnotic trap production. The only difference? You can understand what Giggs is saying.
We’ll be adding to our recommendations on a regular basis, so look out for the next installment. If you want to know who you should be listening to in grime, send in your favorite hip hop artists, and we’ll see what we can do!