Drake has received a lot of backlash in putting a number of British Artists onto a World Stage and I just don’t get it.
Can Drake take on a role in #Topboy without ruining the show?
— RONIE BOND (@roniebondmag) April 4, 2017
There has been a lot of discussion about Drake appropriating British culture by featuring with London’s underground hotlist and I’ll be entirely honest and say I don’t understand what your beef is.
If we are entirely honest, (we the kids from the UK’s urban centres, we the kids that grew up on Grime and Funkyhouse and all the very niche British genres that have stemmed from the African and Caribbean diaspora…) all of our urban British genres would not, could not and have not successfully made it onto the world stage at any point in history until now.
It could be argued that Grime artists like Stormzy are getting mainstream recognition because the genre has matured to such a point that it is ‘good enough’ to get into the charts. It could also be argued that only now can Grime artists learn from the successes and failures of artists like Wiley… But I personally believe, genres like Grime are only making it to the mainstage because of cosigns from the likes of Drake.
When an artist with such presence and mainstream recognition as Drake says music is good, the world is forced to take note.
I am not disputing the skill, talent and artistry of the Donae’os, the Ghetts’, the Kanos and the Princess Nyas of British music, but I am saying that to a large extent these artists have never been able to break the world stage because there has never been a cosign such as this and as Frank Ocean bluntly puts it “you need a cosign for your health”.
If we consider for a moment, the fact that Top Boy was not going to be on British TV again. After season 1, it got locked off. We were not to hear of Dushane and Sully gain. Top Boy was killed by the white, middle-class execs that were behind it from the beginnning. If we consider this fact, why is Drake bringing it back to life something that so many people are bitter about?
Top Boy 1&2 were exec-produced and directed by an almost entirely white middle/upper class team. No1 was talking then… https://t.co/S9zCHpHIT8
— Michaela Coel (@MichaelaCoel) April 6, 2017
I remember speaking to NFTR’s Charmaine Hayden about Taking Underground Mainstream and she mentioned that it’s like when we actually ‘make it’, nobody wants to know about it. It’s like the people that are so against Drake uplifting British artists (whose music had barely crossed the pond before now) only want Grime, UK Garage, jungle, dancehall, drum and base etc, to stay a little British secret genres.
But what’s the point of art if it’s not shared?