“When Christ and grime combine”: Gospel grime cultures in contemporary London
AffiliationFaculty of Arts
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AbstractGospel grime is a Black-British religio-musical subgenre which emerged in London at the turn of the century. As a Black-British, street-credible musical brand of Christianity emerging from within grime musical culture, the manifestation of the genre reflects the dual identity formation of its social actors, who simultaneously identify as Christian and grime. As such, tied to London’s inner city street culture as well as the Black majority Pentecostal church traditions within the diaspora, gospel grime demonstrates how MCs (rappers) within the culture, navigate, negotiate, and explore their enmeshed subcultural identities; and how, in the process, they challenge, problematise, and disrupt false binaries imposed on them by the dominant cultures from which they emerge. Gospel grime is unapologetically evangelical. Yet despite its Christian evangelical identity, it is often rendered invisible within a range of institutionalised Black majority Pentecostal churches. Simultaneously, gospel grime is expressively grime. Yet despite its embodied grime formation, it is left out of existing scholarship and public discourses on grime music culture. Thus, given the omission of music in grime and Black-British gospel music scholarship and public discourses, this project makes a scholarly contribution by placing gospel grime within the lineage of grime and Black-British gospel music cultures. Through in-depth semi-structured interviews with MCs within the scene, online research, musical, lyrical and performance analysis, this multi-methodological project explores the ways in which London-based gospel grime MCs represent their Christianity through grime and grime through Christianity. Furthermore, given their shared heritage with Black Pentecostal and grime traditions, I explore the ways in which MCs display formal qualities of both cultures and how these qualities inform the construction of their enmeshed subcultural identities.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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