V-day is approaching (vote day, get your heads out the gutter), and there’s no doubt this political season has been an especially unusual one.
From the distinct absence of May in debates – or, to be fair, any kind of scenario where she might have to respond to somebody that hasn’t been vetted prior – to the general, messy rush of it all, it’s been weird for sure. However, even the most foresighted of us would struggled to have seen ‘Grime4Corbyn’ coming, a movement where grime artists have come together to vocally back the Labour leader.
But why on earth not?
Sure, politics and music – for the most part – are usually separate entities. I can’t imagine Theresa May spits a good verse, to be honest. But, when you think about it, grime shares a number of similarities to the ideologies of Jeremy Corbyn and his labour party. It’s a match made in heaven, really.
To begin with, Grime has a huge focus on young people. It’s where the sounds and cultures of the genre grew from – they are responsible for moulding it into the behemoth it is today. Additionally, it is the youth of today who first identified with the music, too; they are the ones who listened, bought and lost their shit to the genre.
So, at 68-years-old, why Corbyn? Well, because his policies, much like grime, are aimed at the youth of today. Namely, Jeremy Corbyn’s focus on student fees shows this focus at its finest, as he fights to reverse the changes the Tories have made over the last few years. Though he’s been around the block more than a few times now, he still finds mutual interests with grime, as both find the next generation at the heart of what they do.
In Corbyn’s interview with JME, the love for grassroots became obvious, as JME spoke of how his love for underground music came from a mentality of doing things himself with the little tools he had, and working his way up to the top. Likewise, Corbyn discusses housing in ‘bottom-up’ way, working to provide housing for the homeless, which in time, will result in a better country.
These two men are not that far apart, they both believe in starting from the bottom, and working their way up, they are both truly grassroots men. Even Corbyn’s policy on football, a topic few politicians get involved with, is to invest in the bottom, to develop the game as whole.
However, possibly the most uniting factor between grime and Corbyn is their distaste for the way things are. Grime is sparked by people who feel forgotten or pushed down by the system – it’s musical revolution, protest and activism. Grime artists often vocalise their anger with the system, and this is largely instilled through their upbringing and the things they’ve seen around them.
Corbyn too, has spent his life largely outraged by government practices. A popular phrase coined by the twitter-verse reads that ‘Corbyn has always been on the right side of history’. No matter how blinded the rest of the world, the UK, and the government were on certain matters of the pasta, Corbyn campaigned for what, in retrospect, was always the right thing.
And so, a man who has disagreed so much has now got the power to finally make radical change – and a genre of music, produced by those shunned by the government, now has the global platform it deserves. In conjunction, they are both are united by a need to speak out against poverty, injustice, inequality, and to campaign for the generations of tomorrow.
So, on the 5th of June, ‘#Grime4Corbyn’ a campaign which itself, is entirely grassroots, took centre stage in North London, and offered free tickets to those who had registered to vote. Hundreds came to witness panels on the similarities between grime and the Labour leader, as well as dance to the free music on show. Whereas music’s relationship with the political system is often as a protesting, oppositional voice, Jeremy Corbyn and grime music have formed a strange little unity. Except, really, when you think about it – it’s not that strange at all.
All that’s left now is for Corbyn to drop the mixtape we all know he has in him and fire his way to Number 10.
Words by Alex Slater