Music Is the government infiltrating the UK grime scene?

In a powerful exclusive piece, Jody McIntyre, a proponent of grime and Hip Hop music as vectors of revolutionary social change, takes two grime artists, Ghetts and Skepta, to task for seemingly allowing their message to be co-opted, and dictated, by the establishment.

Ideas, New in Ceasefire - Posted on Saturday, November 6, 2010 12:00 - 16 Comments

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Skepta

By Jody McIntyre

The British government have a history of attempting to co-opt our revolutionary voices, and it seems that our grime artists may have become the next target.

This article is not an attack on Ghetts, as he is an artist I have always had a huge amount of respect for. Rather, this is a call for Ghetts, as an artist, but above all as a human being wanting to make a positive change in the world, to stand up and refuse to allow the government to co-opt his voice.

It is deeply disappointing to see a grime track released in direct support of the current government. This is part of a worrying trend which has also seen Skepta photographed whilst wrapped in a flag of the apartheid State of Israel. Grime and hip-hop should be voices of rebellion against the status quo, not voices of obedience.

It is vital that we realise that a positive change in our society is only possible once the current political system has been overthrown, and replaced with a system that allows equality for all.

The following lyrics are taken from “Invisible”, by Ghetts, followed by my own analysis:

“Some don’t know what a Census is / some do but they don’t see the sense in it.”

– You’re right, I don’t see the sense in giving my details to the government; a government that slaughters civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, a government that supports Israel in its oppression of the Palestinians, a government that kicked the entire population of Diego Garcia out of their homes to make way for a US military base, a government that has no qualms in selling weapons to dictators across the world, a government that now wants to make us pay £9000 per year for the privilege of an education, a government that is overseen by an unelected, undemocratic House of Lords and monarchy, a government that has historically imposed imperialism and capitalism on poor people across the globe, and not only that, but a government that is likely to sell on my details to other companies, all the better for them to target their advertising. No, I don’t see the “sense” in it.

“Just remember this, if minorities don’t fill in the form, what’s the point of living in Britain at all?”

– I am sorry, but this line has racist overtones which are completely unacceptable. It is vital that we don’t cave in to the disgusting rhetoric that is accompanying the rise of the right-wing in the form of the BNP and the EDL, aided by the imperialistic policies of New Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative party, and the obedient commentary of the mainstream media. Instead, we should be uniting to say yes, of course minorities have a right to live here, especially when we have decimated their own countries through our wars.

“The government have got a lot of money coming in, so if you pay tax in the long run you can benefit.”

– Did I just miss something? Hundreds of thousands of people are losing their jobs, our education is being cut, the whole welfare state is being slashed to pieces, and you are celebrating the fact that the government have a lot of money?! What are they spending it on? Is it the billions of pounds being poured down the drain to occupy other people’s countries? Is it the hundreds of millions spent on building weapons that are sent to maim and kill people around the world? Is it the hundreds of millions used to bail out the capitalist banking system that crippled our economy? Or are the MPs simpling lining their own pockets again?

“And if I have to be the voice of the people, then I’m going to keep making noise until I’m equal.”

– Voices for the people should be speaking in the interests of the people, not in the interests of the government. We should be fighting for equality for all people, irrespective of race, religion, gender or physical ability; that is not what our government stands for, as they have proved through their policies of mass murder abroad, and creating a system of social apartheid at home.

“There’s a lot of history we can’t erase.”

– You’re right, there is a lot of history we can’t erase. We can’t erase the colonisation of Africa, we can’t erase the Balfour Declaration, promising the land of Palestine to the Zionist movement, we can’t erase centuries of pillaging the “third world” of their resources. Above all, we cannot erase people’s memories. But we can support those people whose histories we have littered with massacre and genocide, by making a clear stand, from today, against our government.

“Most of us feel like the government ain’t doing nothing for us / but now we’ve got a chance, to put them to the test…”

– Our governments have been “put to the test” for decades, and they have failed miserably, on every count. People across the world see the Union Jack as a symbol of the armies that have invaded their lands and humiliated their families, and the governments that have played God with their futures. We don’t need to test our governments any longer, we need to test ourselves. Can we replace the current, undemocratic political system with a system that gives a voice to all our people, and can we replace the ideologies of capitalism and imperialism once and for all?

“It doesn’t have to be this way…”

– No, it really doesn’t, but until we take the power out of the hands of an elite few, and into our hands, it will be.

Jody McIntyre is a writer and activist. His blog ‘Life on Wheels’ appears on his website and is syndicated by Ceasefire.

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16 Comments

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Cronikal
Nov 8, 2010 20:10

Insightful and above all else, true. Well written and I’m glad you’ve highlighted this.
There is a very real reason why ‘urban’ music is being given so much more prominence in the mainstream these days and you’ve hit the nail firmly on the head.

NOTirrelevant
Nov 8, 2010 20:51

it’s obviously that ocultistic'[ culture+ (o)CULT URE time of the ocultism ] movements have big influece on music 😉 and hiphop is NOT excluded, hiphop made for degradation of black people around the globe. Hiphop has alot other agenda’s that it brings with it

It’s all about culture creation i.e emulating others. it’s speaks for itself that culture creation has influences of ocultistic societys, just as they have their influence in most goverment movements, religious infiltration ect… it’s all to spread deception among human beings.

Also worthing noticing is that hiphop lately also promotes perpetual childhood. with songs like ‘forever young’ ‘opposite of adults’ ect.. also the fashion that emulates the opposite sexes 😉

D.E.C.E.P.T.I.O.N get knowledge ; or live in a fantasy

voyou
Nov 8, 2010 21:23

How is encouraging young black people to ensure their visibility in official statistics by participating in the census, “in direct support of the current government”?

Zxcvbnm
Nov 8, 2010 22:34

You need to look at the good this country has done for a lot of people. The thing with being left wing is that if you keep turning left then you end up on the right. I suspect you are a left wing facist. Give Ghetto and England/ Britain some credit. Besides, a census can be used positively and as a way to measure poverty and areas which need work. I’m sure that there are a lot of youths who don’t know what a census is.. At least Ghetto is using his popularity as a platform from which he can educate the youngers/ uneducated. From there these people can construct their own views.

nathan
Nov 8, 2010 23:14

Disagreeing with some policies of a government doesn’t mean that we should not fill in a census. I would much rather live in a country where governments can be held accountable because we have the data that says these people live in this area and are subject do these harms rather than in France where no such data exists. This especially true for marginalised races. In regard to the line about taxes, if the pay of the top 1000 earners in Britain was frozen in 2009 and taxed it would pay for half of our deficit, instead the ConDems choose to hurt the poorest. Due to these reasons, I agree with the main message of this song.

GlobalFaction
Nov 9, 2010 3:55

A very insightful and frank article. We’re in full support of the perspective put forward. I can see in the not too distant future MC’s being paid to endorse micro chips under the skin while their supporters cry “At least it will help to curb crime and terrorism” or they’ll say “At least their making their P’s so stop hating”. People really need to study history to understand the trend!

Mik
Nov 9, 2010 13:56

“You need to look at the good this country has done for a lot of people.”

He has:
“a government that slaughters civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, a government that supports Israel in its oppression of the Palestinians, a government that kicked the entire population of Diego Garcia out of their homes to make way for a US military base, a government that has no qualms in selling weapons to dictators across the world, a government that now wants to make us pay £9000 per year for the privilege of an education, a government that is overseen by an unelected, undemocratic House of Lords and monarchy, a government that has historically imposed imperialism and capitalism on poor people across the globe”

“The thing with being left wing is that if you keep turning left then you end up on the right. I suspect you are a left wing facist.”

Is this the Pub Idiot school of politics you’re paraphrasing there? Can you explain what you mean? If by fascist you mean someone who disagrees with you then perhaps you are right.

nathan:
“I would much rather live in a country where governments can be held accountable because we have the data that says these people live in this area and are subject do these harms rather than in France where no such data exists. This especially true for marginalised races.”

Well this isn’t actually what the government collect data for, unfortunately. They collect data to better control their subjects, to track everyone, work out where they can cut, work out where to find people, etc. Data is never neutral – it all depends on the power dynamics between people who hold data and about whom. This is why marginalised people have the most to fear from the census.

adam
Nov 9, 2010 14:09

Ghetts blatently got paid to do this by the pigs

EJRtruth
Nov 9, 2010 14:24

the point is that the information you agree to put on a government census is effectively a tool used AGAINST you. think about it. it highlights our differences so how can we expect any sort of equality? i think the track is slightly naive coming from ghetts with his obvious amount of talent…
but looking at the bigger picture here we all know that the goverment infiltrates the music industry so why should grime & hiphop be exempt?
it’s a shame especially as it contradicts the exact principles which these genres were born from.
as for the image of skepta with the zionist flag, it’s insensitive ignorance. not a fan of his music anyway that just makes him seem an even bigger douche.

the bitter after-taste of the truth comes in the form of calling you a “left wing facist” i laugh at that non-sensical remark. it has no basis.

A quality Article Jody.

Mik
Nov 10, 2010 11:22

Just found out that the census will be carried out by US arms manufacturers and “intelligence and surveillance” company, Lockheed Martin. It is still unclear whether the data collected will be covered by the US Patriot Act. If it is then it will be shared with the US government as well as our own.

Sele.
Nov 10, 2010 16:53

You wrote: “Some don’t know what a Census is / some do but they don’t see the sense in it.”

– You’re right, I don’t see the sense in giving my details to the government; a government that slaughters civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, a government that supports Israel in its oppression of the Palestinians, a government that kicked the entire population of Diego Garcia out of their homes to make way for a US military base, a government that has no qualms in selling weapons to dictators across the world, a government that now wants to make us pay £9000 per year for the privilege of an education, a government that is overseen by an unelected, undemocratic House of Lords and monarchy, a government that has historically imposed imperialism and capitalism on poor people across the globe, and not only that, but a government that is likely to sell on my details to other companies, all the better for them to target their advertising. No, I don’t see the “sense” in it.

My reply:

I agree… but what’s the solution? These are questions, and facts. But what is the solution?

What is the exact plan for providing free education for everyone? Who has stepped up to organise and administrate this? How will people get paid, feed themselves and their families? How will university buildings be maintained etc? These are the initial common sense questions in reponse to the abolition/elimination/reduction of tuition fees? Money is the currency of the world… so money is the main issue here – everything has to be paid for.

Kicking the Queen and her crew off her throne makes sense, but the amount it will cost to provide security/protection for her and her family will be damn expensive.

Also, the ‘democracy’ that we have is the closest thing that we can call democratic, and this system falls short. What is the exact structure that YOU propose for a completely 100% democratic system, and can one even exist?!?!

You said: It is vital that we realise that a positive change in our society is only possible once the current political system has been overthrown, and replaced with a system that allows equality for all.

I say: There will always be proles. There will always be inequality. Equality does not exist. And what’s to say that this government infiltrated grime is any worse that the general crap that is out there? We are not all born equal – what is this equality that you speak of? Where does it exist anywhere except in fairytales?

You are describing life Jody, but what is the solution? This onlystage one of the debate.

Rizwaan
Nov 13, 2010 12:52

Video by Ghetts: What an absolute insult to Grime!!

vikki
Dec 15, 2010 10:39

Dont you think its one sided and ignorent to call the state of israel ‘the apartheid State ‘. You people clearly dont know shit about anything. Theres a massive bandwagon you have clearly joined in abusing the state of israel. Perhaps you should actually read something objective about the ‘palestinians’ and the israelis then you wouldnt sound so stupid.

Martin
Dec 21, 2010 19:03

Vikki, you clearly don’t know shit. The land of Palestine belonged to the Arabs for over a thousand years, in which both arab and jews and chrisians lived together. The only period of violence in the arab/turk controlled years was the crusades. Now, go back over 50 years or so and the creation of Israel, is completely illegal.

Paul Bowring
Dec 23, 2010 10:10

In response to Sele’s following comment:

“I say: There will always be proles. There will always be inequality. Equality does not exist. And what’s to say that this government infiltrated grime is any worse that the general crap that is out there? We are not all born equal – what is this equality that you speak of? Where does it exist anywhere except in fairytales?”

Inequality exists because people like you maintain it, by saying it can’t be overcome. Ok people are not born equal but that doesn’t mean that this justifies a lack of attempt to tackle this inequality.

Your use of the word “proles” is also very offensive and sets you up as either an elitist or someone willing to hand over the reigns of power to anyone who was educated in the ‘right kind of establishment’ (something like the age-old ‘divine right of kings’).

At the moment we are living in a system that has been set up to maintain a privileged elite, and they maintain this position of power by use of disinformation, coercion, force, etc. etc. and amongst other things maintaining inequality in order that everyone fights one-another to be part of the elite, rather than focus on those who have manipulated the system to their own ends.

Refusing to acknowledge that there is any possibility of change is just a lazy childish reaction to something that seems too huge to tackle by yourself. But the key issue here is that individuals are less likely to make much headway compared wuth a collective attempt to address the issue. There will be many different viewpoints on how this can be achieved without creating a replacement elite and/or system.

My point is that while there is hope there will always be an opportunity for change, so whatever you do you shouldn’t undermine people who dream of and strive for equality, however far-fetched it may seem to you, as this only plays into the hands of those who want to maintain the status quo.

Ziva
Oct 16, 2014 22:32

I live in Israel and i can tell you for a fact that it is NOT an apathide state what so ever. Arabs walk round with Israelis we shop in each others shops, to call it this is an insult to what the black people went through in south africa. G-D gave us that land well over 2 thousand years ago and let me ask you this, after the Holocaust would you want to stay in a Concentration camp when the homeland you had been thrown out of thousands of years ago was just across the sea, no of course not and if you say other wise you have really not thought it through and also we were happy to live with them but they did not want us there at all and the grand mufti had plans with hitler to build concentrations camps in Israel. Then when the UN was about to pull out of Israel the arabs then decided to try and kill us all. You anti Israelis and anti jews never seem to mind our amazing medical treatment or amazing I.T or any of our products and you all sure as hell do not mind our money when it comes to your lands. If you support Hamas then i will give you 3 guesses who you support even if you do not know it ISIL and that is a fact, look what Hamas does to their own people, drag them out of holy building, shot them, tie the dead bodies to motorbike and drag them round Gaza and have people spitting on the dead bodies, nice. They danced when you were bombed on 7/7 while we felt for you and for the americans on 9/11. Nelson Mandela was very close to the jews in south africa and would be disgusted at this comment, he spent many times with rabbis talking about G-D etc so he must not have felt that what was happening in Israel was ;like south africa. The sad fact remains most none jews are blind to what REALLY happens here but one day you will have to see, if Israel goes down then so does the world because their will be no more cures and close cures for cancer, so next time your ill when you see the doctors ask them to give you medication not created, made or part created in ISraelis or by jews and see how long you live, good luck and failling that just use soap and water!

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