R. Kelly is a free man because we’re “disgusted” yet complicit

With the recent documentary series, Surviving R. Kelly, many are asking why the self-styled “Pied piper of R&B” has got away with it for so long. Angelo Irving asks if our disgust really translates into action. Content Note: This article contains explicit reference to acts of child sexual abuse, please read on with caution. Editor’s… Read More

Opinion: Why Ms Dynamite should have said Thank U, No to the MBE | DIASPORA TALES

MOBO and Brit award-winning musician Ms. Dynamite was at Buckingham Palace yesterday to accept her MBE. She defended her decision as honouring her Windrush generation grandparents, but with the Windrush scandal still ongoing, author Vanessa Walters asks whether now is the time for nostalgia. The decision to accept or reject an MBE is personal and… Read More

Is Drill Music Killing Teenagers In London?

The recent moral panic about the deaths of teenagers in London being blamed on Drill music has led to groups being banned from making music, and appearing in a video can lead to a listing in the Metropolitan police’s notorious gangs matrix. Angelo Irving asks where the blame really lies. At the start of the… Read More

How we study music: navigating the whitewash

Dr Hannah Marie Robbins discusses how the teaching of music can be white-washed, and how teachers and researchers can disrupt the all too familiar narratives I was raised in North-West London in the 1990s, not so far from Wembley Stadium and minutes from the Notting Hill Carnival, which meant that “music” was part of the… Read More

Music in education: a living relic of Western Europe’s colonial mentality

by Nathan Holder Since music entered the National Curriculum in 1988, the UK’s approach to musical education has been grounded in Western Classical traditions. From Palestrina to Schoenberg, Baroque to 20th Century Experimentalism, students are routinely taught the fundamentals of the art largely by studying ‘The Great Composers’, by learning the conventions of western classical… Read More

How to be Desi in 2017: Riz MC and Heems are forging a new cultural reflection of South Asians in diaspora

by Iman Sultan  I don’t normally get moved by music videos, but Swet Shop Boys’ internet-released video, “Aaja”, a track off their Cashmere album, released late last year, felt like salvation A tribute to Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch, who was murdered last summer, and whose very death made her an icon, the video… Read More

Dropping the mic in his own time: as-salamu alaykum Yasiin Bey

by Jamal Mehmood Earlier this year, the artist formerly known as Mos Def gave his farewell performances in London. Hiphop’s own whirling dervish, who dared to whirl and pray on a simply decorated stage, dropping rose petals on a floor already filled with balloons. This was the Yasiin show. There was no formal set list… Read More

Chance the Preacher

by Zain Dada “When the praises go up, the blessings come down, I promise you!” This wasn’t the voice of a preacher at a gospel church in Brixton but that of 6-time Grammy-nominated Chance The Rapper at Brixton Academy on a rainy Sunday evening in November. The performance was Chicago rapper Chance’s first major gig in London, supported… Read More

Cashmere Hip Hop Straight from the Swet Shop

by Lamisse Hamouda  An American Hindu-Punjabi rapper from Queens drawls, “Insha’allah / masha’allah / No martial law / hai allah / yo yallah”. Never had I experienced such visceral sense of familiarity in listening to music until I was blasted with these lines from “T5”, the opening track off Swet Shop Boys’ debut album Cashmere.… Read More