Grime: The New Punk?

Punk and Grime music are two different entities yet pose similar positions in their motives. Grime, in a nut shell, has been depicted as the most important youth movement since the initial Punk movement of the mid 1970’s. Interestingly many key characters within the modern-day Punk movement notice this marriage, and rather than condemn and section these movements as different entities they promote them. Artists such as Slaves’ Laurie Vincent and Frank Carter, of Frank Carter and the Rattle Snakes, have declared this movement as ‘amazing’ for British culture Grime’s infinite relevance to London’s streets is not the only similarity the two pose.

It is clear that the aesthetic of Grime and Punk do not clash in anyway, in the same way the music has almost no overlap. However, more social aspects that render around attitude may suggest why the two genres have been compared since Grime’s resurgence in popularity over the last few years.

Sex Pistols - Holidays In The Sun


The working-class dynamic of ‘do it yourself’ or D.I.Y, formulated throughout Punk, is coherently obvious in the Grime scene. Although the D.I.Y aspect of Grime may be more technologically advanced ranging from early Pirate radio to the now polished SBTV, one may argue these feats would be impossible without Punk’s examples of D.I.Y clothes, music videos and fanzines.

Time and place within subcultural movements has always played an important role. Both Punk and Grime have been branded as ‘inevitable’ in many ways. Johnny Rotten expressed ‘the need’ for a movement like Punk in 1976, in the same way second wave Grime pioneers such as Skepta have in their own genre. In comparison to Punk, the notion of live performance has been saturated through Grime. However, advances in technology give Grime a completely global audience which many Punk artists would envy. As a result, the progression of time has enabled a new social-media based platform for the modern-day music. Whether this demeans the message that Grime possesses is up for debate. Although this may be the case parallels can still be drawn with the Punk scene which, by its initial death in 1978, had amassed a following of ‘copy-cat’ art students


Slaves - Shut Down (feat. Skepta) (Radio 1's Big Weekend 2015)

The coherently British values contained within the anti-establishment protest have often been depicted through art and music. Although the performance frameworks within Punk and Grime could not be further apart, the attitude that both scenes were born out of have an overwhelming sense of similarities.

The original Rasta-Punk Don Letts describes Punk as ‘not Mohawks and safety-pins’ but rather an ‘attitude and a spirit.’ If anything embodies the Punk attitude more than Grime in recent years I am yet to find it.


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