Friday, 30 January 2009

"Money, Cars, Fame, Pop Champagne, No More Chilling On The Block Was The Aim"

Grime visuals have changed with the times, and for the better given a more professional and commerically-minded scene. Independent artists are now releasing videos with a visual quality that, a few years ago, was only associated with grime's big-wigs with label backing.

Newham Generals - Head Get Mangled

Combined YouTube hits: 9,215

Chipmunk - Chip Diddy Chip

Combined YouTube hits: 37,170

Skepta - Sunglasses At Night

Combined YouTube and Myspace hits: 49,500

However, videos aren't just about visuals. Chipmunk's is the best of the lot. He didn't say much and, with content that a general listener can't relate to in any way, the director has done a great job in creating some kind of narrative that carries the viewer along. The talent show theme, even if it's cliche, does a job, and the snapshot of a successful, future Chipmunk gives a tried-and-tested sense of closure.

The only story of Head Get Mangled is Adam Deacon getting terrorised; fitting retribution for dashing beer bottles at the shopkeeper in 'Kidulthood'. Videos reflect lyrical content, and the indistinct vocals don't help. Maybe it's all a reflection of Deacon's mangled mind, yet this video is still as plotless as Rise Of The Footsoldier. DEE and Footsie growl a bit like the Turks in that film, while Deacon is the scapegoat for the botched heroin deal.

I don't have much to say about Skepta's really.

Narratives are as important as visuals. Maybe a reason for the improvement of visuals, besides money, is that there's no room for messing them up, since there's no other element, like narrative, to fall back on.

Videos are essentially something to look at, and all of these support single and album products that should be released soon. Yet none of them are a Merkle Man. Its token cameos and comedy rest on the foundation of a simple but strong narrative; from the inciting incident of the phone call, to the total resolution of the story for all three characters. It's laughs and cameos add to it, but they would lose their power without the central, driving vehicle of the narrative. It could well be the reason why it's the best grime video ever.

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1 comment:

Conisholme The Alien said...


I'm new to this planet and wondered if you could tell me about grime?

My English is limited, but why is that beautiful sound called: 'music' referred to by a word that means dutty?

Conisholme The Alien