Walk In The Room, Spray What I Like: A 'Grimey' BRIT Awards 2016 Review
Following Ant & Dec’s upbeat but slightly mundane welcome to the 2016 BRIT Awards, the band everyone loves to hate Coldplay kicked off the proceedings with an enchanting rendition of their track ‘Hymn For The Weekend’. The recorded version features the Queen herself, but as Beyoncé couldn’t make it over to the UK due to a bunch of ‘Anti-Beyonce’ protesters delaying her at the airport, the band decided to call upon the services of JME. Whilst his style is very different to the ‘Single Ladies’ star, JME used his incredible talent as an MC to bring his own unique style to the track. The crowd were up on their feet cheering him on and as he glided across the stage on his hoverboard, dressed in a black Boy Better Know t-shirt even Chris Martin threw a cheeky gun finger in the air - his bar “...try murk me, nah fam no way / my bars make you shiver just like Coldplay” being the standout moment of the entire performance.
Once they’d all departed, it was time for the first award - British Female Solo Artist. The hotly-tipped Lady Leshurr was a worthy nominee with the video for her ‘Queen’s Speech 4’ track picking up over 22 million views despite being released independently only 6 months ago. Her main competition was vocalist Adele, who had released an album that had done quite well during 2015 and it was indeed the former BRIT school attendee who took the crown. Lady Leshurr was gracious in defeat however, and during her acceptance speech Adele co-signed the Birmingham-artist as a real influence on her own work.
The next award was for British Male Solo Artist and Simon Cowell was the man to present the award. Seemingly thinking that his industry pal Mark Ronson was a shoo-in to take home the trophy ahead of the much-fancied Skepta, it was in fact a little known South Londoner by the name of Stormzy who was victorious. Cowell sounded hugely bitter when announcing his name, possibly due to the fact that Stormzy had charted higher than X Factor winner Louisa Johnson with his freestyle in a park, but we can’t be 100% sure. Accepting his award, Stormzy was his usual humble self, thanking God and his mum, before Jammer attempted to replicate his infamous outburst of support which we saw at the 2015 MOBO Awards, although the ITV programmers seemed to be aware that Jammer had previous and so cut the mic as soon as he grabbed it.
That wasn’t the end of Grime’s participation in the ceremony as the next award, for International Group was announced by Big Narstie. Clearly looking to make the most of his time in the spotlight, the Brixton MC donned a white ‘Uncle Pain’ t-shirt and informed the audience that Lordie had received emails from a number of artists who were sitting at tables in the crowd, causing a series of nervous laughs from some people we won’t name. Australian band Tame Impala were the winners but Narstie took a good 5 minutes to announce the result as he kept laughing, seemingly intoxicated by something blue that he was drinking.
Following a slightly awkward segway into the next section by show hosts Ant & Dec, who tried to claim they created Grime with their 1994 track ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’, it was time for the performance that everyone had been waiting for - the allstar performance. In a BRITs first, diversity was taken to a new level as artists from a range of genres appeared on stage, spitting 16 bars over Danny Weed’s classic instrumental ‘Creeper’. With no back-up dancers in sight, the likes of Wiley, Ghetts and Wretch 32 and a skanking President T were joined by Justin Bieber, Father John Misty and two slightly drunk members of One Direction, with the group living up to their billing as a collection of the world’s finest wordsmiths. Adele looked clearly miffed at her omission from the collective, having previously auditioned with her version of Nicki Minaj’s verse from the Kanye West track ‘Monster’, but the selection panel felt that it wasn’t anything they hadn’t seen before.
This was succeeded by some more performances and awards but as none of them featured any Grime artists, we lost interest and dozed off. The BRITs should be commended for embracing music of a diverse nature and celebrating Grime. With Skepta, Kano, Ghetts and many more due to release highly anticipated projects across this year, we can’t wait to see even more love for the genre in twelve months time at the 2017 awards.
Words: Matt Tarr