Changing Music Tastes

As a seventeen year old living in the then derelict council estate of Haggerston in Hackney, East London, before the rapid and borderline-forceful movement of people; otherwise known as gentrification, swept the area over night, there was very little to do for people like myself. With no disposable income what so ever, music was the most consumable and available commodity of the time. Mums old cassette tapes filled with African music that she never touched were the perfect mediums for storing exclusive sets from pirate radio stations like Dejavu and Mystic FM which were then played on repeat with my beloved cassette player. During this period, I’d like to say at the time my music tastes were diverse but no, it really wasn’t. I was a product of my time and my environment. My genre of music was broken down to; seventy five percent Grime, thirteen percent RnB/Mowtown, eleven percent rap and hip hop and one percent of everything else meshed together.

What’s weird though is at the time, throughout that sweet tender free spirited age of seventeen-ish, I remember clearly, always talking to my self, saying it would be impossible for me to not listen to a grime track every day. But Now? Ten years later everything to do with my taste in music has completely shifted. I couldn’t even tell you what genre half of the music I listen to fall under. A month could go by without me even listening to a single Grime track. What happened?


I always thought at the time that your music taste is for life and that once you’ve discovered a sound that you think defines you, you’ll never give it up. Take for example, Mowtown. Anyone from the generation above me will most likely still listen to a given number of music from that genre, most likely because it was the music that defined their youth. It was what they grew up on and what they identified themselves by. Looking back through my music growth in the past decade, this idea becomes clearer and clearer.


The music that you identify with your youth and the blissful moments of your life will always stay with you. Listening to them brings back those feelings and moods you once felt. They make you relive those moments again and again. Grime, at the time was the sound track of my youth. They remind me of life without the responsibilities of today. Memories of Listening to songs for the first time and learning the lyrics just so I can recite them together with my boys – believe it or not but these were high weighted priorities at the time. Dizzee Rascal, Crazy Titch, Ruff Squad, Kano, The Mitchel Brothers; Just saying those names gets my head bopping and hands shaking ready to deliver their bars. The artists of that grime era made the sound tracks to the most care free era of my life. So those artists, and those songs that they created will always be with me.

Written by: Thompson Urhiofe

Dizzee Rascal - Stop Dat

Kano -Mic Check

Now bringing it back to my musical tastes now that I’m living the semi-mature period of my life, I can still say that I still love Grime! I still listen to the original Grime artists. Just not these new Grime artists that are coming out now; It’s not because they aren’t good. Some of them are amazing and I will listen to them once in a while but I can’t enjoy them the same way I used to enjoy tracks from the early days of Grime. It’s now harder to form memorable occasions where these new Grime artists will be in the background. Imagine my daughters first steps being taken, cuteness overload, and then you hear Stormzys “Shut Up” in the background. Just doesn’t work. And I don’t party as much or jam (is that still used?) with friends as often as I used to so occasions to find new Grime artists or Grime beefs don’t come around often. And this is not just limited to grime. It’s also hip hop and rap. Things just aren’t the same. I remember the days of knowing the lyrics to verses in rap songs. Now I only have time to know the hooks. The way we consume music has changed so much from recording radio sets on cassette to Soundcloud and Spotify which have opened up galaxies filled with all types of music waiting to change your life in that moment.


It’s a great thing when your musical tastes changes. Music is so damn amazing and only listening to one genre of it the majority of your life is like living only in Hackney all your life. Yeah, it’s great and all but sometimes you just need to get out for a while…for like a year.


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Refraction and Reflection