Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Giggs and Paul Morley

Check out this film featuring the somewhat unlikely sight (but why not?) of Paul Morley walking the streets of Peckham - East Surrey Grove round by the Damilola Taylor centre to be precise - at the start of an interview with Peckham rapper Giggs. Born Nathan Thompson, Giggs is now signed to XL Recordings with an album due out in June.

Here's the video for his most recent single, the excellent Don't Go There, which cuts back and forth between Peckham (especially round by the library) and New York:

Morley is keen on 'keeping it real' and seems to imply that Dizzee, Chipmunk and co. have somehow sold out by moving away from gritty urban realism to 'pop' - a somewhat surprizing stance for someone who has always argued persuasively for the wonders of pop. As someone who lives a little bit closer to the impact of the Peckham Boys and their ilk, I can both recognise that Giggs is good, defend his right to tell it like it is, and hope that through his music he can move himself and some of his mates out of that reality. If, as Morley suggests, some people want to keep young black people 'in their place' by stopping them making the move from crime to music, it is also true that the expectations of some music critics and fans also subliminally want to keep them in their place by suggesting that they are only 'real' when they talk about guns, gangs and life in 'the hood'.

Another young man shot at the end of my road last week, another kid I've seen grow up from a baby in and out of the nick for gang business. Park yuh guns, badboys - keep it unreal.

(Update: since I wrote this post there have been two more local shootings of teenagers - making three in the last week, two in Brockley, one in Peckham right near where the Paul Morley walkabout was filmed. Fortunately nobody killed this time)

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