Following a scathing attack on hip hop and rap culture by Cameron in The Mail On Sunday, and a fierce debate on Newsnight, the Tory leader has been invited to Lethal Bizzle’s next London show. The influential ‘grime’ artist, performing tomorrow at Scala, King’s Cross, has entered a vicious war of words with Cameron over the last few days, after the Tory leader claimed that Lethal’s lyrics encouraged knife violence.
Ironically, tomorrow’s show features a light hearted combination of stand up comedy and breaking new bands. The promoters have not yet received any guest list requests from Cameron’s office.
David Cameron made headlines last week when he asked the question: ‘Do you realise that some of the stuff you play on Saturday nights encourages people to carry guns and knives? Bizzle – a MOBO Award Winner and young entrepreneur – was swift to retort: “Open your eyes to UK society, by making comments like this you’re taking yourself further from the young British society. I’m a young black British music artist and i’m the voice for the streets, you should be working with us – instead of laying the blame on us”. Cameron fought back with a letter published in The Mail On Sunday: “You’re talking rubbish Lethal Bizzle” was the headline.
Last night Bizzle’s manager entered the debate on Newsnight, saying that Cameron’s comments were “unjustified”. Nadia Khan, in a debate with Cameron’s right-hand man Michael Gove, invited Cameron to meet Lethal Bizzle face to face. Despite saying that Bizzle’s music was “fostering a culture of disrespect”, Gove hinted that Cameron may be willing to accept the invitation, saying: “I think it’s absolutely right that we continue this debate”.
Tomorrow’s show at Scala – called Dead Giraffe – will see Lethal Bizzle alongside Channel 4’s King of Comedy, Andrew Maxwell, and recent Top 25 charting indie pop band, The Upper Room. At the very least David Cameron may have to send an aide along to prove that he is still in touch with British youth. He has scored a big PR own goal with this attack on popular British music, especially when the target of his rhetoric was a young record label owner who has helped “14 kids off the street” by offering them a chance of success in the music world.
The promoters expect a response to this invitation today. The Tory leader needs to make his mind up: is ‘grime’ at the forefront of an exciting new wave in British music, or is it propaganda for disturbed youths – encouraging violent crime?