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What unenticing names music enthusiasts give their genres. This is a black British dance genre which is emerging from the London club scene and raves via pirate radio and bootleg vinyl discs. The US magazine Entertainment Weekly described it last January like this: “Also called sublow or 8-bar, grime mashes dancehall, rap, and jungle into a menacing mix of stuttering drums, woofer-blowing bass, PlayStation blips, and MCs spitting stories of life in London’s rougher hoods.” The Guardian said of it in early July: “Combining the ear-crashing instrumentation of garage with the crime-riddled rhymes of rap, the sound creeping cautiously from the bowels of the underground is refreshingly and uniquely British.” Its better-known performers include the Nasty Crew, Dizzee Rascal and Shystie.

Following the achievements of artists as diverse as Dizzee Rascal and Ms Dynamite, the 21-year-old Shystie (aka Chanelle Scott) is the first star of grime, the new underground dance genre descended from UK garage, to sign directly to a major label; she is also the first female British MC to have success.

Independent, 2 July 2004

Dizzee Rascal’s Mercury Music Prize-winning breakthrough last year has led record companies to check out a scene labelled “grime” — a tougher, dirtier strand of garage that rejects the pseudo-American, designer-label stance of Craig David.

Evening Standard, 25 June 2004

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 7 Aug. 2004

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
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Last modified: 7 August 2004.