In conjunction with the Leeds edition of the Red Bull Music Academy UK Tour, Christopher Jenkins met up with local Leeds lad and one of Grime’s finest, Dialect, to find out why the city absorbs all genres and to discuss the growth of Grime.
I first wanted to ask why the Leeds music scene, across all genres, attracts audiences from all over the country. “A lot of music comes out of Leeds. People even outside of Grime like Corinne Bailey Rae are demonstrating the authentic music scene. People feel the Leeds vibe, it’s different, it’s raw”. With Red Bull promoting all things cultural and Dialect performing at their Knock Knock event on the 27th October at Park Cross St alongside other Grime artists such as Giggs and the female up and coming star Nadia Rose, I wanted to find out what creative process he undertakes when developing his music. “I’m usually listening to instrumentals and constantly working on my own art and always sharpening my own sword. It’s crazy how much I listen to people around me in Leeds because it’s music I can relate to and vibe off”. It was evident that Dialect sees the music scene as a team game and believes in bringing through the local talent, you can view him and two Leeds MC’s battle it out with AJ Tracey and his MC’s at UK’s Meanest Grime MC’s Battle it Out | Grime-A-Side: Leeds vs. London.
I wanted to find out who influenced him when growing up and pursuing a career in Grime. “Ghetts is a massive influence to me, one of my top three that I rate to the maximum”. He said he respected the way that “he expresses himself on grime, he’s aggressive, he’s skippy and messy with his words and I rate all that kind of lyricism”. If you want to have back to back Grime nights this week, then Ghetts is also performing on the 28th October at Belgrave Music Hall alongside Elf Kid, AJ Tracey and Boy Better Know legend Frisco.
With Dialect’s career on the rise I asked what pinnacle moments stood out to him so far. “Being on Lord Of The Mics was one of my biggest achievements because I obviously started off on Grime and that’s what I came up listening to and to get that opportunity to get on that same platform means a lot to me.” Just as Dialect’s career is growing so is the fan base of Grime, this is epitomised by Skepta winning the Mercury Prize this year. We went on to discuss why the scene is moving in all directions, from the underground to the charts, “Grime’s always had a good sound, there’s no denying that. I think it’s just taken people like Skepta and Stormzy to get some of the mainstream limelight and they’ve done a good job with it. I feel like they are keeping the authenticity of Grime and that’s why it’s growing. It’s getting so big because it’s more relatable, these guys are traveling out now, going to America and showing people and it’s finally getting respect”.
With the scene growing at a fast rate, I asked what area of the UK outside of London was contributing the most to Grime. “Probably up north to be honest, anything from Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. People like Hypes and that are still underground guys but have still been putting in work and are known as legends in their own right in their cities”. It’s clear that the spread of this genre and culture is helped by the internet and the power of YouTube, so I asked for his thoughts on this. “When I was younger and was doing Grime, we had YouTube but not on that level where it’s so easy to get things on there and the amount of channels now that help people to get more exposure. YouTube is a platform that’s accepting Grime now, so we can use it more”.
The Grime scene is quickly advancing and so is the talent within it. Dialect is one to watch and he has recently completed his new EP ‘Lifting the Curse’ which is set to be released later on this year. We expect big things from the local Leeds lad as his attitude and passion for the Grime scene is vast and in his own words “I live this music, I love it, I know for a fact that it’s what I’m about and I can make a contribution to the scene”.
(Image: Shang-Ting Peng)