Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Westwood 1Xtra Rap Show

Felicitations grime fans.

The word on the road internet is that Tim Westwood's 1Xtra Rap Show, every Sunday night from 10-12, kicking off real legendary, bringing some of that UK heat and just, you know, holding it up real strong for the UK, is now floating with the fishes.

The show has been drowned out by the BBC after a bit of in-house 'cleaning'. Valid claims have been made about the beeb not fulfilling their remit and, given the success in '09 of grime artists in the charts, the move isn't very representative at all.

But what's done is done. There's no question that grime will manage, cope - like a battered housewife it always has done. But what from here?

First off, I think the main legacy of Westwood's show has been the accompanying visuals via his YouTube channel. The technology and dedicated individuals were already there and grime was going to embrace visuals widely eventually, but Westwood's show initially highlighted the gaping gap in the market and everyone universally clocked on.

But while the Rap Show gave impetus to the influx in grime's online visuals, there are things that I won't miss. Given his status and personality, Westwood seemed to impose on his show in a manner that differed from the more deferential and probing Sama, and the quality of artists on Westwood's show descended into the realm of hit-and-miss. Yes, the show gave opportunities to upcomers, but when it came to the point that grime fans hadn't heard of the guests something was going wrong.

Radio was in decline when Westwood started his 1Xtra stint, but five minutes spitting bars and a nice little video out of it with thousands of views - why pay to get on the pirates?

I can't really say I was an avid Westwood listener - Karnage is that guy.

Picture by Lee Brasco - www.fleebrasco.wordpress.com

But, given his proximity with grime over the last 18 months, Westwood seems like an amusing bloke. I think the main question that was asked before he started - whether he was hosting grime for the right reasons - has been categorically answered.

Letting grime MCs into your house and making a beautifully-bassy racket, freshly-delivered for the neighbours, is a gesture and means of promotion that he didn't have to engage in. The Crib Sessions has no reason not to go from strength-to-strength, and the big dawg also seems to have a genuine camaraderie with grime artists that can lend to help, guidance and contacts.

Westwood's dalliance with grime isn't over yet. But, as the Rap Show slips away, here's some personal highlights.

Wiley Freestyle

Griminal & Lil Nars Freestyle

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