The Real Hero of the UK Election Is the Country's Underground Rap Scene

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The UK election is underway, and while incumbent Theresa May is currently predicted to beat socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the race is tighter than many people expected. The recent attacks in the country have had an impact on May’s run, and honestly, no one really expected the “unelectable” Corbyn to be this popular in an election meant to reestablish Tory control, not gamble it.

Corbyn does boast celebrity endorsements from people like Russell Brand, Lena Dunham, and Stephen Hawking. But more importantly, he also has a very crucial secret weapon: the UK’s grime scene.


Whil egrime king Stormzy has been singing Corbyn’s praises for the last year or so, others in the scene have been stepping up recently. Last month, grime collective and label Boy Better Know—founded by JME and Skepta—launched a website called Grime4Corbyn. (For a moment, Corbyn was even listed as a member of Boy Better Know on the label’s Wikipedia page.) Over the weekend, Grime4Corbyn hosted an event featuring number of grime artists, a “secret grime rave” open to those who had registered to vote. JME, one of Corbyn’s most vocal grime supporters, even took over his Snapchat account to garner support.

Another artist, Akala, who is voting for the first time at age 33, wrote an op-ed for The Guardian about why he was backing Labour. “For the first time in my adult life, and perhaps for the first time in British history, someone I would consider to be a fundamentally decent human being has a chance of being elected,” he wrote.


Last Sunday, artist AJ Tracey appeared in a video explaining why he was supporting the Labour Party, citing the party’s commitment to affordable housing, ending university tuition fees, and saving the National Health Service.


Another artist, Novelist, also recorded a video, discussing the importance of the NHS and how it has supported him through his own medical issues.


And of course, as expected for the internet, a parody video of Stormzy’s “Shut Up” featuring Corbyn’s head superimposed on Stormzy’s red tracksuit-clad body and replacing Stormzy’s lyrics with audio of Corbyn bemoaning tax cuts for the rich went viral over the last couple weeks.

Whether or not Corbyn wins the election, three things are for sure: 1) Corbyn is resonating with the UK’s disenfranchised youth, 2) grime, which has always been politically vocal and anti-establishment, is as relevant and powerful as ever, and 3) Drake is probably about to drop a thirsty pro-Labour track any second now.

Isha is a staff reporter who covers pop culture, representation in media, and your new faves.

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