SOLID FOCUS – GRIME CLASHES – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Clashes Between MC’s of the Grime genre is an aspect of the scene which has shaped this genre of music into what it has become today. The question is, where did it come from? Why did it become so popular amongst MC’s in this arena? And how did these clashes affect the UK Grime scene positively or negatively?
Here’s a little introduction of some of the main clashes which I’ll be discussing with you right here:
HISTORY AND THE LORD OF THE MICS:
Grime clashes have been around since the glory days of the scene although the popularity of clashing was not always what it is now. During the early days of the genre, there were only a few major players in the scene and they could be found rolling together in crews like Ruffsqwad and Nasty Crew who’s original website you can still check out – it’s pretty sick. During this time Grime MC’s were relatively peaceful together; they often teamed up and worked together to draw more attention towards the new and exciting genre of music. However as the scene received more attention and the artists became more famous and dare I say it, self righteous, the beef between the biggest cats began to flow.
Much of it was light hearted in order to draw more fans to the music and succeeded in giving the genre a new outlook and a different feel to it. This can be seen in the early Lord Of The Mics (LOTM) days. A lot of these clashes during early days of LOTM were purely lyrical and were used to boost the profile of both MC’s by creating hype between the two artists clashing. A great example of these great early lyrical clashes is between Footsie and Scratchy. These guys are without a doubt two of my favourite artists in the game, who through production and MCing achieved an awful lot of success in the scene. So here it is then Scratchy hailing from Roll Deep and Footsie of Newham Generals taking chunks out of each other lyrically and mocking each others bars in the first of the Lord Of The Mics.
“You get B.U.N!”
It wasn’t going to be long before more bitter rivalries were formed, lawless raves all over London with large numbers of huge and often pretty fucking hard MC’s on stage is undoubtedly a recipe for confrontation. The most infamous clash from Dons of the early days comes from two MC’s who at the time were really starting to blow up towards mainstream success. Yes that’s right its Dizzee Rascal and Crazy Titch.
Serious bars from the two of them here, both hyping at each other, both completely gassed. One of my all time favourite clashes. A controversial one too, as I’m sure many of you will know Crazy Titch was incarcerated not long after the beef with Dizzee was gaining momentum.
Dizzee and Titch’s clash was probably the most well known clash in Grime history. Both MC’s were constantly dissing each other until Titch ended up going to prison for murder (The victim believe it or not was another UK artist who had was alledged to have disrespected Titch’s brother.). There have even been a few sly comments from Dizzee when he has been confronted on the topic following Titch’s incarceration. This beef was without a doubt one of the most real clashes in the Grime scene.
Now it would be impossible to write a piece on Grime clashes without mentioning the Godfather of Grime himself, Wiley a.k.a Eski boy, who has been involved in countless feuds. Wiley is not the type of guy who keeps his mouth shut when people diss him and consequently Wiley has sent for numerous MC’s in the game. Wiley always has something to say about most topics and I think that’s why we love him so much. The bravado is a huge part of his character on and off stage. Top be fair as far as I am concerned there is no other MC which has had such an influential Grime career and has also done so much for the scene itself. Wiley’s feuds include beef with Doogz, The M.O.V.E.M.E.N.T, Dot Rotten, Ghetts, Lethal B and obviously the odd disagreement with Dizzee.
It wasn’t long before huge clashes transpired…
At times clashes blew up insanely and ended up involving not just individual artists but also entire Grime collectives. In all honesty though, who doesn’t want to see two of the biggest crews of individual artists going up against each other? And that is exactly what occurred when Roll Deep and Fire Camp came to blows. This has to be the clash which involved the most individual artists of all time in the Grime scene. Wiley is said to have started the feud by calling out Lethal B on a few occasions which angered him and the rest of Fire Camp. As soon as Lethal B piped up it got completely out of hand and they began dissing each other at every opportunity, however some raw music got made because of this beef as ever. Check the video out below which features three Lethal B tunes and two Wiley ones, constantly slewing each other throughout.
Wiley was the top boy of Roll Deep and Lethal B was the top boy of Fire Camp so it was only a matter of time before members of both crew jumped in and escalated the situation further. Check out the video below which features the whole Roll Deep crew calling out Fire Camp big style.
In the end the beef was mostly quashed, Lethal B and Wiley have worked together since.
HOW DID THE INTRODUCTION OF DONT FLOP UK HAVE AN IMPACT ON CLASHING?
Most of the clashes I have discussed so far have been from the Glory days of Grime. But what’s going on with Clashes now? Well they are bigger than ever. Don’t Flop was founded in 2008 by rappers Eurgh and Cruger and took inspiration from Grime clashes and American Rap battles. This has given UK Rappers and Grime artists a platform purely for clashing. Many of these UK artists also have Grime and Rap releases on the side and clashes can really help the artists make a name for themselves. These clashes have provided an entirely different option for rappers up and down the UK and given them a different platform to display their lyrical ability. If you are interested in UK Grime, Hip Hop or Rap and enjoy clashing Don’t Flop is worth following. Check out some footage below with two of the biggest Don’t Flop artists Shotty Horroh vs Arsonol, this one is the UK against the US and who doesn’t love a bit of that.
The thing I love about Don’t Flop is it has the ability to be so aggressive yet light hearted at the same time whilst constantly displaying fresh and impressive lyrical capability through a different medium to the conventional spitting over a track method.
So what have we learnt?
Grime clashes have been around for time now and have their roots from the early days of the genre. Occasionally it was genuine disagreements and pure rivalry between each other which sparked the feuds. Calling out other MC’s and clashing was a platform for Grime artists to spray bars in a different way and show their intensity and ability. Many MC’s used clashing to keep themselves on their toes and to strive to write better bars and prove their dominance over other artists. Often it was simply used as a tool to create hype and for the artists to make a bigger name for themselves. Many people believe it became tedious and strangled the Grime scene somewhat. Yet others loved the excitement and hype it caused. Regardless of the reasons for it and whether you love clashes or loathe them, it has become a big part of the scene and that much has to be respected.
Here’s a few of my other favourite clash videos and artist interviews, serious bars!
Peace out, Saundersz
Skepta vs Devilman
Roll Deep giving their opinions on clashes, with Wiley calling out some rivals at the end.
Any old school Grime heads should be sure to watch the Risky Roadz documentaries. Featuring some fantastic old freestyles and interview footage which are all on Youtube.
Trim vs Flowdan
Wiley vs Kano