As we have all been saying 2017 was the year for the culture, a lot happened in what seemed like a short space of time. As your representative for entertainment within urban culture we are going to round up the year and usher you into a year destined for great things left, right & centre.
With artists such as Stormzy making his return earlier this year we wouldn’t have thought that he went anywhere with all he has accomplished this year; from dropping the best album of the year to being issued the GQ’s Best Solo artist by Jeremy Corbyn. We also saw the return of Dappy to the scene doing what he does best on his freestyles, as he may just be getting his clout back after years of controversy & facing possible jail time. Now if we’re talking jail time & music we think of the likes of R.A, the gangster of grime. After spending years in jail we finally see his long awaited return when he linked up with Krept & Konan for his feature on their latest album with the track Khalas. Khalas was the track that had enough man spazzing out and had a lot us feeling nostalgia.
So now we’re talking about comebacks, a comeback bigger than just an individual; UK comedy within urban culture has returned. The likes of Mo the Comedian & Michael Dapaah have bought back a scene that was clearly gone but not forgotten. It was probably one of the main highlights of the year when Michael Dapaah became the biggest online sensation fuelling the rise of UK comedy. With an unbelievable work rate releasing content and attempting to break through, Michael Dapaah finally caught the attention of the people when Charlie Sloth invited him for a session of Fire In The Booth. His FITB broke through the internet which lead to him rubbing shoulders with legends in the music industry such as DJ Khaled and Busta Rhymes. The rise in comedy doesn’t stop there, after entertaining us on social media Mo the Comedian took his comedy to the stages where he launched a sold out tour around the UK titled ‘A Couple Cans Tour’.
So lets talk about achievements, this year was big for awards - from the MOBOs to the Rated Awards to the plaques most artists wish for. A lot of artists have broken boundries this year and many have been awarded for it. The likes of Not3s and J Hus who won GRM’s Rated award for Best Breakthrough Act and Best Track respectively, were similarly up for awards at the MOBOs. J Hus was up for 4 categories and took away an award for the best song whilst Stormzy who was up for 5 awards walked away with 3 out of 5. Also beyond the awards there were celebrations that was at the heart of the ceremony when Stormzy’s Mrs, Maya Jama became the youngest person to ever present the ceremony in its 22 year history which was well deserved after a year of great things from her. Also an award that grabs our attention every year is the Hyundai Mercury Prize 2017 where J Hus, Stormzy and Sampha were up for nomination for their respectable albums but was taken home by South London star Sampha. Also still on the topic of achievements Anthony Joshua won the heavyweight title against Wladimir Klitschko where he entered the arena to a Skrapz banger.
Another award that is treasured by the artists and has become something of significance are the GRM Daily plaques given to featured artists once their video has hit 1 million views on Youtube. We have seen many bag the 1 million views on Youtube this year including Fredo, Not3s, Kojo Funds, Hardy Caprio, Chip, Ramz & more so big up to GRM for being the connect for the plaques. Speaking of platforms Link Up TV has just reached 1 billion views on Youtube which has been well deserved and i’m sure they have something to give back for that - so big up to them on that. Out of all the awards, one that I personally see as a very honourable award is the ones that are issued by the Queen - so to be given an CBE, OBE or MBE is something that is truly honourable. There are some people within our culture who have one already such as SBTV founder Jamal Edwards but earlier this week Wiley was given an MBE which he sees as the school grade he never got (lol). Also more recently Skepta’s manager Grace Ladoja was awarded an MBE.
Many projects dropped this year and as we can see everyone has been working hard in the studio and beyond. But to name a few projects that dropped was Giggs’ - Wamp 2 Dem which was inspired by the haters, also Krept & Konan dropped a double album; one for the streets and one for everyone else. Their album featured the likes of J Hus and Stormzy who both also dropped projects earlier in the year and both done extremely well. Nines also dropped One Foot Out after getting signed whilst his team mate Skrapz dropped Different Cloth. Projects were also dropped by Fredo, Chip, Wretch 32, AM & Skengdo and to be honest there are too many projects to mention so if i’ve forgotten one feel free to mention them in the comments.
I think we should all applaud Giggs for his work over the last decade or so. Giggs has been consistently giving us banger after banger and hasn’t given up despite neglect from the industry and bans from the police. This was the year that Giggs managed to tour for the first time as well as featuring on two tracks on Drakes ‘More Life’ project. Speaking of bans in 2017, we also saw the Form 696 lifted which may mean more open doors for the industry. 2017 saw some of the most unforeseeable link ups such as when Giggs linked up with Sneakbo on ‘Active’. After decades of conflict between the areas of the two rappers, we never thought we’ll see the day the two sides joined forces.
John Boyega; young actor from Peckham reached the Forbes list for the highest grossing actors in 2017. Film and TV was definitely big in the UK this year or should I say big for UK talent. It all started at the time when, we all wanted to find out what the hype was about with this film called ‘Get Out’ and when we did it exceeded our expectations which lead to it smashing box office numbers. We were proud especially as the lead actor, Daniel Kaluuya is from the UK. The trailers for the new Black Panther film launched where I can confidently tell you we’re all going to be storming to the cinemas in numbers and possibly African attire; another one for the culture. We’ve always been behind when it comes to FIlm & TV in the UK but with the likes of Tom Moutchi & Kayode Ewunmi both launching shows on the BBC we’re coming for it all.
There has been key individuals building the link between Canada/US & the UK this year within entertainment and one that has come as a shock to some of us was Drake’s interest in the drama series Top Boy. The news came not too long ago that Season 3 of the series would be hitting our screens in 2019 and that Drake will be playing a major role in its production and possibly a character in the drama but I’m sure that we’re all happy for its return. We have seen Drake all up in the comment sections on some of our favourite UK stars but is Drake building a relationship that should have been established a long time ago? His love for the UK is evident especially since opening his European flagship store here in London which was supported by the likes of Fredo & Aj Tracey. A Boogie With The Hoodie also came over to his sold out show in Brixton where he used the opportunity to jump in the studio with Fredo which now leaves us awaiting a banger from the both of them. The US to UK link up has grown stronger over this last year with Stefflon don & French Montanna linking up on hurtin me or Nicki Minaj co-signing Ms Banks on Twitter.
Before we leave 2017 it’s important that we speak on some important issues such as the victims of Grenfell Tower who we shouldn’t forget about going into 2018. The traumatic events had us asking questions about whether the government is dogging our society with yet a lot of questions still unanswered. Now the Mayor Of London launched his campaign for the fight against knife crime using influencers such as Slumflower & Yungen, I don’t think the campaign is as strong and effective as it could be. From the use of influencers to the TV campaign itself - I don’t think there was any call to action for the young guys really involved out there however let’s see if things can get better in 2018. Big up to Krept & Konan for the launch of their first youth club as part of their foundation and hope they can really make an impact. Also in 2017 Kinde LDN was launched and has been working on some very interesting projects and laying the foundations for a lot of great things in 2018 which also includes our project titled #Roadz2Success, which aims to empower the young guys in our community to do better which we feel is a better approach to tackling the bigger issues. Anyway big up to all our readers, partners and friends for the ongoing support we pray to see you on the other side.
Happy New Year!