In the Mercury Music prize UK Soul and Hip-Hop has had the unlikeliest of allies, long may the award continue
I’m not even gonna sit here and lie by saying I was on Speech Debelle from day… I wasn’t. I can tell you the exact date and time I became a Speech Debelle fan, 2pm on July 30th, I had listened to Searchin’ for the millionth time on Spotify, and at 5:32pm that same day I ran to HMV to buy the CD!
For this reason I have to thank the Mercury Prize because without it I would not have heard one of the most groundbreaking moments in UK Hip-Hop.
The premise of the Mercury Prize, to celebrate the best British music irrelevant of record sales is a great one and has surprisingly supported the UK Hip-Hop and UK Soul scenes over the years when other mainstream awards have shunned the best examples of the respective genres; Terri Walker’s Untitled, Sway’s This Is My Demo, Flotery’s Floetic and Roots Manuva’s Run Come Save Me all received Mercury nominations in years they were shunned by the BRIT Awards and MTV Europe Awards.
And let’s not forget Dizzee in 2002, and Ms. Dynamite in 2003 who won the award, which in doing so forced the hands of the other awards to include them on thier nomination lists.
What makes people buy music no one really knows, however it is clear that sometimes the best albums never get the awareness or recognition they deserve. The Mercury Music prize has served to introduce some great albums that would have otherwise passed you by so long many it continue to do so.