Size: 250mm x 250mm
Illustrations: 115 colour & 10 b/w
Don’t Call Me Urban!
The Time of Grime
Although ostensibly a genre of ‘urban’ music, acknowledged as the UK’s answer to hip hop, the author sees ‘grime’ as an era where youths living in these deprived areas began to behave in an increasingly wild manner. These youths live a fantasy largely based on ‘urban’ culture imported from the USA, where Simon believes rap music has degenerated from an originally ‘conscious’ base to one in which the ‘gangsta’ strain that emerged in the late 1980s/early 1990s is now dominant. The mindless postcode warfare that now plagues London, and is the cause of many of the sudden wave of teenage killings, can be seen to have roots in the east and west coast confrontation in US hip hop.
Don’t Call Me Urban! Seeks to cut through the perceived glamour of ‘urban’ culture behind the bravado and posturing which is now prevalent in the genre and document through photographs and stories what is the social reality of life on a London council estate, where ‘urban’ music – specifically the culture of emceeing and rapping – has become a standard means to communicate and express feeling.
Simon Wheatley gained the trust of the key figures in the grime culture who allowed him to capture the harsh elements of the street with its raw violence and drug taking as well as the more intimate and tender moments of their lives.
Check out Simon's website www.dontcallmeurban.com
For several years Simon Wheatley has been working as a photographer on the underground 'urban' music scene in London. His work with this sub-culture led to an invitation to join Magnum in 2005, which has brought these photos to international attention.