Grime heavyweight Stormzy gave a talk to Oxford University students on Monday, receiving overwhelming support.
The 22-year-old MC, originally from Thornton Heath, joined the likes of Kanye West and Shia LeBouf by participating in a Q&A with 300 people at the event organised by the Oxford Guild Business Society – a student organisation.
Stormzy opened the event by joking: “You guys did something I couldn’t do, by getting sick A-level grades”.
The UK grime scene has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, with artists such as Skepta, Krept & Konan and Stormzy helping to bring the genre into the mainstream.
Recently, Skepta announced that Drake, a Canadian superstar, had even signed to the independent grime label Boy Better Know. This “bridging” of American and British music scenes was something Stormzy addressed, after being asked about how he sees the future of grime and its growing recognition from the US.
Stormzy said: “I think it will be a very organic thing. I don’t think it will be as sudden as everyone is making out, but I think that is for the best.
“You see Drake really respects Skepta and appreciates what he is doing for the culture and I feel that steady growth is best – UK music is doing incredible now, but that’s all happening naturally and American artists embracing UK artists is cool but it’s not make or break.”
Yet the UK music scene is not without controversy; last month the Brit Awards came under fire after people highlighted the lack of diversity amongst the nominees, with no grime artists or British people of colour nominated for an award.
Stormzy himself was very vocal about the lack of diversity, but has since changed his stance on the issue, after speaking to the Brit Awards chairman Ged Doherty.
“After saying that, I actually had a very a positive talk with [Doherty] and I gave him a few ideas of how I think they could become more in touch [with the scene].
“I’m not too sure how much of a race or diversity issue it was, I think it’s more about the voting panel – we came to an agreement that it was mainly middle-aged white men on the panel.
“Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but if you have a thousand middle-aged white men commenting on UK music, they might not know about people like me.”
You can watch the full speech below: