Attacking lyrics of hate

AN up-and-coming young urban music artist has spoken out against the negative and often violent message found in grime music. The 21-year-old, from Broughton Hill, Letchworth GC, who performs under the name Steve J, has told The Comet he fears the lyric

AN up-and-coming young urban music artist has spoken out against the negative and often violent message found in "grime" music.

The 21-year-old, from Broughton Hill, Letchworth GC, who performs under the name Steve J, has told The Comet he fears the lyrics in some grime tracks are influencing youngsters.

Grime music is a recent development in the urban music scene having evolved from the more established "garage" style.

According to Steve J, around 70 per cent of the lyrical content of the grime music is negative.


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He said: "You hear lyrics about cracking people's skulls, 'merking' people which basically means robbing them, and about carrying guns and threatening people with knives, in a positive light."

As a youngster Steve was cautioned by the police for minor offences and admits that music could have played a part in making him break the law.

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"I think a lot of why I did certain things was influenced by who and what was going on around me and the music I listened to, and maybe the types of films I watched as well," he said.

"But now I'm older and wiser I'm not easily influenced by the media.

"The point is that teenagers who have these positive messages of crime and violence around them are more likely to be influenced by them and thus commit stupid offences that they'll probably regret doing when they get older.

"I reckon that unless we as artists work together to change the content of these tracks then things will get worse and worse over time.

"I've seen a big change over the last few years where teenagers seem to think it's cool to be violent and sell and use drugs on the street.

"I don't want to think what it will be like in 10 years if it continues."

Steve, who as well as his own music runs Suburban Entertainment, a company which books DJs and artists for clubs, said he is not alone in being concerned about grime music's lyrics.

He said: "I feel that there are many artists and producers who feel the same way as I do, who like actual music, the beats and production, but don't like how some artists are glamorising carrying guns and knives in their rhymes."

Steve believes as well as being a bad influence, negative lyrics in songs make it difficult for performers to get live gigs.

He added: "My message to all grime recording artists is to think more carefully about the impact their lyrics are having on today's youth culture and to think more carefully about the message they're getting across to the listeners.

"If you have been raised in an area where you've experienced drug dealing or the carrying of guns or knives then try and use your experiences to deter people away from street crime instead of encouraging it."

l For more information on Steve J or Suburban Entertainment, visit www.myspace.com/stevejames1 or www.suburbanentertainment.co.uk

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