As the days progress – in the wake of the polarising EU referendum which has divided the nation, incited racial hate crimes and aggravated an already agitated British public. That, with the recent terroristic murder of Jo Cox (Labour MP) by a lone British nationalist has catalysed a palpable and widespread sense of public unrest, which is painting the picture of a damaged Britain, descending into further civil decay.
Last year I wrote a post called ‘Audio Ammunition: A Century Soundtrack For Civil Unrest’, which touched on the subject of the current socio-economic climate becoming similar to that of the late 70s and how Grime music could play a part in empowering a new generation if the music became politicised.
Without getting fixating on the romantic notion of some form of anarchistic/socialist Punk-Grime movement – although that is a growing possibility – when you look around, the climate for an imminent cultural shift, among a new generation of young people that resembles Punk – in attitude and angst – is becoming a vivid reality. From the growing fanbase of grass roots artist and designer Ryan hawaii, to the anti-establishment offerings of MC’s like Novelist, Stormzy and Skepta aiding the shift.
The work of artists like Ryan Hawaii, aswell as the views expressed by prominent cultural figures like Novelist, Skepta and Stormzy reflect the times in which we live. Young people today are growing up in a economically stretched, socially divided, hostile Britain today; where a widespread sense of public despair and anger is informing there basic attitudes towards queen and country. And that, mixed with the pill popping, lean sippin wave of opiate based drug culture popularised by global Hip Hop stars such as Drake, Future, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Future and more – is shaping a new generation of inner city Brits – particularly young london – in a way that hasn’t happened before.
Unlike any prior generation of British youth, the 90s baby’s have prescription drugs like Xanax, Valium, Codeine and Promethazine in there arsenal of cultural condoments. Drugs that’ve been almost exclusively popular in the Southern States of America for decades have bled into broader youth culture and like the ecstasy laced acid house days of the decade in which this generation was born, Xanax, Diazepam and Codeine are becoming an ever present fixture of youth culture today. With availability growing in parallel with demand in our inner cities – particularly London.
Anyone who’s indulged in these drugs themselves, or atleast familiar with these drugs would probably undertsand that when you consider the effects of anti-anxiety medications on behaviour – plus there heavily addictive nature – and also consider the disparaging and anxiety inducing society in which these young people live, and amplify that on a mass scale, it makes for an interesting and otherwise volatile picture of the future.
I’m not saying that London’s going to be ingulfed by a Xanax epidemic like some kind of 80s New York crack wave. But, when you think in terms of mass culture, with drug culture moving the way it has, mixed with growing social hostility – particularly in light of the EU referendum – it’s likely leading to further austerity, and with the treacle down affect of the mainstream media proliferating a culture of hate; informing an angrier, more bitter and dislliusioned generation of young people; poppin’ all sorts of pills and sippin’ all sorts of syrup, this compound is likely to have a profound affects on culture. The results of which, can’t be fully determined just yet, but for better or worst are on the horizon..