Whichever way you spin Kanye’s live performance at the Brit Awards last week, it’s been a pretty good week for Grime. With West flanked live on stage by British MCs Skepta, Jammer, Shorty, Krept and Konan, Novelist, Stormzy and Fekky, some complained of an embarrassing lapdog-type display between US rap and UK grime. “Don’t treat my brothers like back-up dancers” summarised the concurrent mood in one notable op-ed piece in The Voice. But that’s not how some of the so-called back-up dancers’ contemporaries saw it:
Kanye Knows The Brits Ain’t letting dons in there like that so he kicked off the door for us.Imagine 1 of us saying Yeh I’m bringing 20 dons
— Chasing The Art . (@WileyUpdates) February 26, 2015
Skepta is doing a lot for us still, he created a wave in America and turned it into a tidal. Im excited for his album campaign. — P Money (@KingPMoney) February 26, 2015
Yet, if it wasn’t enough that Grime’s very own rulers came out in defence of the performance, last night laid any remaining criticisism to rest as Kanye went back to back with Skepta at a surprise show in London.
West graced the stage at a very delayed time around 1AM, joined by Skepta, JME, Meridian Dan and Novelist plus US rappers Big Sean and Raekwon of the Wu Tang Clan. His often chastised ego was diminished by opening the show with Skepta and JME’s ‘That’s Not Me‘, parlaying bars with the Londoners over the now iconic beat.
The live performance comes with the news of Kanye and Skepta working in the studio together, along with fellow US hip-hop superstar Drake gushing about the underground grime DVD series Lord of the Mics, his love of Wiley and a special thankyou to Skepta in the liner notes of his recent mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
Dizzie Rascal almost pushed grime over the edge a decade ago. Could it be about to happen for real now. Exciting times.
Skepta photo credit: Leonn Ward (Crack Magazine)