Having spent years establishing himself as one of the major players in the UK underground, Grime artist Skepta looks as if he’s set himself a trajectory for some mainstream recognition with the release of his new single ‘Rescue Me’, a dubstep-backed grime track with designs on earning Skepta – and his Boy Better Know collective – the respect that he feels they deserve.
“Rescue me is just a metaphor for wanting to be shown appreciation for all the hard work that I’ve put in over the past couple of years, from the radio, from the police, from everyone really, and seeing what we’re doing as a positive thing rather than just playground work.”
But whilst ‘Rescue Me’ may be geared towards a certain amount of positive critical reception, Skepta is keen to observe that he doesn’t think an overall shift towards the mainstream is a good move for either him or the UK Grime scene. “Grime music is not mainstream now, grime music can never be mainstream because it’s underground music, there’s no need for underground music to be mainstream because when underground music goes mainstream it’s rubbish, so grime needs to stay where it is, stay with Logan (Sama – Kiss.Fm DJ), stay with the young MC’s on the street and be a culture of England. Me MCing on different genres of music has opened me, opened Boy Better Know, to MC to people who we wouldn’t be able to MC to.”
However, it looks like with London pirate radio station Rinse.FM finally winning it’s official FM license, the underground could be set for even more exposure – yet Skepta is a firm believer that this sort of development is good for the Grime scene in general. “I don’t think there is any radio station that shows the culture of grime as good as rinse. I was saying the other day, I don’t think all the new kids today understand the culture of standing in a radio station with a microphone, MCing. The only place you can go to see that is Logan’s show on Kiss.fm. The kids need to understand that because they’re growing up and seeing people on telly MCing to the camera with nice clothes on and they think that’s what it is – “oh I’m going to make a song tomorrow, get girls, buy some nice clothes, get in the video and MC – but that’s not what you get lyrical skill from, that’s not why people in grime are good, we’re good because we’re used to going into radio and battling each other and passing the Mic to each other and knowing that at the end of the day you had the best lyric in the room, know what I mean? So it’s a good thing to show the new generation really.”
It’s hard not to be impressed by Skepta’s attitude towards Grime. Clearly intent on working hard to both elevate himself and his Boy Better Know associates (including tipping his brother JME for success in the interview), Skepta also endeavours to keep Grime’s best interests at heart. With individual releases from the Boy Better Know camp arriving, as well as a Boy Better Know album due “after using this year to establish ourselves as individuals”. It looks like mainstream or not, the BBK output will be as prolific as ever over the next few years.
Rescue Me is out now on Boy Better Know. You can find out more about Skepta here
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Question: What short lived dance move/fad did Skepta create in 2008?
Answers: (A) Timex Shuffle (B) Casio Crunk (C) Rolex Sweep