Today we have a guest writer on Artists for Christ, my good friend Jonny Rose. He is currently a student at Exeter University and has a love for Urban music.
Grime? – it’s just hip-hop isn’t it?…
Unlike hip-hop, where true fans are at pains to explain the difference between the original praise-worthy tenets of the music – championing the virtues of education, hard-work and mobilising as a means of self-improvement – as opposed to the trends of illicit gangsterism and materialism that later entered the genre. Grime lacked this from its very conception.
A darker sonical off-shoot of UK Garage, Grime sprung up in from the insalubrious urban sprawl of London’s less affluent areas. Traditionally, the sound comprises of double-time rapping over grubby basslines and syncopated beats. The lyrical content never strays far from the secular rap staples of drug-taking, pre-marital sex and the constant championing of violence. It comes as no surprise that most of the proponents of the scene have been involved in criminal activity and spent time in jail as a result.
Grime is the voice of angry and disenfranchised British youth who aren’t blessed with a stable home-life, a sparkling academic record or opportunities. Most of all, they’re lacking the Good News.
Enter Bibles! Bibles!
An 8-bar Grime riddim championing God’s word in a way that would make a Fundamentalist proud, ‘Bibles! Bibles!’ firmly sets itself apart from the scene and embodies – in my opinion – the Christian ideal of being in the world, but not of it. Subverting the traditional grime response of elevating fingers shaped like a pistol and shouting, “Brrrap!” as a means of showing approval, the song instead calls for the lifting up of Scripture.
The restrictions of the Grime sound means that the MC words lack the slower more contemplative lyricism that can be found in the Christian hip-hop but this does not make for a watered-down experience.
The song contains lyrics such as:
“I stay close to God for my own survival
I seek God and wait for his arrival
No-one else he’s my only Idol
The Bible always brings a revival”
“I’m kinda hungry and I want a munchie
So I draw for the daily bread
Forget cutlery I make moves on my N.I.V”
As well as a catchy and joyful chorus. Watching the video, one can’t help but smile at the sheer ebullience of these boys and their rhyming.
What I’ve always loved about the Gospel message is its enduring ability to permeate even the most God-forsaken places. Although mass media, in all its forms, does all it can to reject the word of God, God is not limited. Bibles, Bibles shows this.
Some may view this as inarticulate noise, but I have no doubt that if more and more music like this is made, we’ll see something amazing happen amongst the young in Britain. For those of us who like their music to have a little more ‘umph’, when it espouses Kingdom values, you can’t go wrong with this!
– Jonny Rose