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5 Black British Music Genres You Should Know

Similar to many other Black British genres, it had its roots in Jamaican dancehall but evolved thanks to the availability of better sound systems. 

Grime

Grime is a unique Black British electronic rap/hip hop mix that emerged in East London during the early 2000s. It has been the most significant musical achievement in the UK in the last few decades. 

It originated in London as a way for grime musicians to express their life experiences. Grime rappers tend to have British accents, which sets this genre apart from American hip-hop. Some important Grime musicians include Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, and Skepta.

Reggae

Reggae has been associated to Rastafari, and uses elements from rhythm and blues, mento, calypso, and jazz. The UK was a preferred destination for people in the Caribbean seeking to emigrate, causing Caribbean music in England, such as reggae, to become popular. 

Reggae topped the charts at first, but was also dismissed as rubbish by critics. It’s considered that Reggae impacted Black Britain in 1981.

 

One of its major contributors were the reggae/pop music band UB40, throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It’s believed that reggae was a catalyst for reinventing Britain.

 

UK Funky

UK Funky became mainstream in clubs and airwaves thanks to its effervescent vibes, mixing house music and other Black Diaspora genres. In 2008, it had become predominant in London’s club scene.

 

It fell from mainstream sounds as fast as it rose, and many of its biggest names went over to other genres. 

 

One of its pioneers was Supa D, a previous Jungle DJ who also moved on to garage and grime. 

 

UK Garage

Uk garage, also known as UKG, originated in England during the early 1990s. Inspired by garage house, it also borrows elements from R&B and jungle. The support of pirate radio stations directly triggered the popularity of UK garage, with production duos Shanks & Bigfoot and Artful Dodger being particularly successful. 

 

Ska

Ska combines Jamaican and Caribbean rhythms. It also features punk rock energy and horn sections that converge to create an energetic genre of dance music. Its first wave was in Jamaica, in early 1960s, marking the country’s Declaration of Independence from Britain. It faded less than a decade, after reggae took center stage in Jamaica, but surged in the UK during late 1970s and early 80s.

Millie Small’s ska hit ‘My Boy Lollipop’ made it to the top of the British charts in 1964. Ska is the bridge between 1960s Jamaican music, 1970s British dance music, and 1990s American punk music.

 

 

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