Grime Labour

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Grime’s cross-race working-class appeal is connected to a wider picture of changing identifications in urban areas, particularly in the inner cities, the site of the emergence of ‘new urban ethnicities’ and ‘neighbourhood nationalisms’. Corbyn’s leadership makes it possible to link with this constituency. The response by Corbyn and grime artists to the Grenfell disaster further illuminates this shared link with contemporary working-class neighbourhoods. Grime artists should be understood as organic intellectuals, taking on roles to represent the working class, theorise their position and offer them a means of political intervention. Unlike the Blair/Britpop relationship, grime artists’ endorsement of Corbyn is from the bottom up, and Corbyn engages directly both with musicians and the communities they come from.


This article was originally published in Soundings, volume 68, in 2018.


Lawrence Wishart