'The dissing and bitching in rap seems to have disappeared. The only beef we'll be seeing in the grime scene this year will be at the annual Christmas Dinner at Mistajam's house'
Thank mud for Glastonbury! After glancing over the 2011 line-up, it deserves every column-inched, keyboard-tapped kernel of praise it’s garnered with this summer. Far from the tired (and over-tested) formula of other events that glare at diversity like vampires mistaking a solarium for a coffin, the Eavises have always embraced eclecticism. It’s Darwinian theorem in practice: people wanted raves, Glastonbury created the Dance Village. Evolution is the key reason why the festival is still renowned from Australia to Zanzibar.
And with the 2011 line-up, festival bookers have struck gold again. Or bling at least, with a whole day of grime and UK rap on the Dance East stage. More popular than herpes between the younger crowds, Professor Green, Devlin and Wretch 32 are among a (pound) sterling troupe of MCs, producers and out-and-out basshunters that fortify the high regard UK rap is held in right now.
Take Labrinth. The super-producer is quickly becoming the Britain’s own Timbaland. He’s stacked beats for everyone from Tinie Tempah and Tinchy Stryder to Master Shortie and Professor Green and he’s only just old enough to order half a bitter in the USA.
Like his football namesake, self-proclaimed hustler Giggs will be a menace waiting in the wings this summer too. With a pedigree of dark tunes and Peckham thug lyrics, the London MC isn’t for the BBC cameras on the main stage, but he’s an equally important institution for the musical landscape today and that’s why it’s great news that he’s been given a platform at Glastonbury.
UK rap is also the strongest it has been for a long time because of another Glastonbury tradition: free love. The customary dissing and bitching in rap seems to have disappeared somewhat, just check out the guests on Tinchy Stryder’s ‘Game Over’ (below). It looks like the only beef we’ll be seeing in the grime scene this year will be at the annual Christmas Dinner at Mistajam’s house – the man that seems to glue the whole scene together.
It’s not just the men either. Nicki Minaj isn’t the only female spitter making waves in rap (check: Female Takeover – ‘Game Over’) right now. If you want new talent, go watch London’s MZ Bratt or discover Yasmin who’s vocals will be haunting club speakers as much as Katy B in the next few months.
The Dance East line-up on the Saturday is: