Is Grime a subgenre of Hip Hop?

I recently had an interesting little debate on YouTube about the origins of Grime. Here’s what I wrote. I amended it slightly so it makes sense on here.

Remember, it’s just my opinion:

I wouldn’t say it’s a subgenre of hip hop, more like a branch of garage. Garage in turn is a branch of drum & bass/electronic music. In the early days, Grime was never about lyrical depth, it was more about HOW you spat your lyrics which is why dudes would always repeat that one explosive line over and over…it was flow over bars. Unlike hip hop, grime was never slick or cool it was highly energetic and raw. Dudes would spit like they were pissed off ready to fight. Things are rather different now, but grime was always about that crazy energy and that uncontrollable head nod.

The main thing both genres have in common is rap. Don’t get hip hop mixed up with rap, they are two different things. I think that’s the main problem here. People see rap as a synonym of hip hop. In an informal sense you could say rap is hip hop but technically they’re separate. Rap is merely a facet of hip hop just like rap is merely a facet of grime. Hip Hop is about the music (fast/slow rapping, lyricism, sampling) and the culture (b-boys, graffiti, DJing, fashion). Likewise grime is about the music (generally fast rapping, electronic beats, snappy catchy lyrics, pirate radio) and the culture (crews, fashion – avirex jackets were a thing in the early early days, rap battling – lord of the mics, distinctive jamaican-influenced slang, post code wars). Grime also had a certain kind of look. Instead of dudes on street corners chillin it was “mans” on the block chillin. It was blocks, estates and council flats – no “corners”. To summarize – Two different worlds, two different stories.

In the beginning grime was just about riddims and beats – no lyrics. People associated grime with the beat you heard at the beginning of the vid below (pied piper riddim). Grime began when London kids started making beats on crappy computers. Today, it could be described as a loose subgenre of hip hop but it’s mainly garage, 2-step and drum & bass.

One thing is for sure though, Hip Hop definitely influenced grime…no one can deny that.



  1. Interesting article. I think your observations on point. I’m mainly a US hip hop fan myself but I think you nailed it with how the cultures are different.

  2. I’m a Grime fan and I agree, it stemmed from UK Garage, because it became the darker part of UK Garage, that’s how Grime came about. It does have very similar characteristics to HipHop, and I’ve always thought that Grime/UK Rap is the UK version of HipHop.

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