For a long time the Grime music scene has been done a disservice.
Often described as a violent, crime-inducing form of art, leading rappers and musicians from the field have been told they are contributing to the rise in knife crime and violence, not merely reflecting it.
Yet those in the Grime scene, politicians and many academics say it is a “lazy” assumption and unfairly targets black music.
Among the many Grime artists seeking to undo this image is MC Yizzy, from Lewisham, reminding young people that their lives are unique, special and certainly not worth giving up.
MC Yizzy’s new track 3 Minutes To Live highlights the rise in knife crime and youth murders in the last two years, aiming his lyrics at those who might pick up a knife in a bid to deter them.
“Got so many young kids that are dying nowadays. Why the fuck did you kill one more?” Yizzy raps while lying on floor in the music video, clutching his gut that is pouring with blood after he has been stabbed.
Yizzy said: “I wanted to tap into how unique a person is.
“It’s never highlighted when you hear about someone getting killed. You just hear name, age, location in the news. Nothing about who the person was. They are nolonger unique.
“I really want to emphasise that a young person dying in the streets is not normal.
“This person was more than just a number. This person is special and that’s what I’m trying to show in this song.”
“I’ve never seen anyone get stabbed with my own eyes but I got mugged at knifepoint once when I was younger.
“Unfortunately friends and family have been in those situations though and been stabbed.
“There’s a running joke between me and my friends that there’s something in the water in South London. It just keeps on creating so many driven and successful people.
“And everyone knows everyone, it’s a united community. Pretty much everyone grew up calling someone else’s mum ‘aunty’, it’s a connected family unit.”
MC Yizzy is being heralded as one of Grime’s next biggest stars and growing up in Brockley, going to Crofton School, now called Prendergast Ladywell School in Crofton Park, he says that his music comes from him taking a look at his area and seeing what is going on, the good and the bad.
“People in my area made it happen,” said Yizzy. “People like Novelist who grew up at the bottom of my road. They made it clear that someone my age could get this far in a music career.
“When I started I didn’t have any money but there was a local studio which was Government-funded through a youth centre in Sydenham, TNG Sydenham.
“The first time I heard myself on a track was a big moment and a step in the right direction.
“My mum is disabled so couldn’t look after me all the time so I went to youth clubs and school camps which were key for my development as a person and an artist.”
Yizzy says the lack of youth centres and activities for young people is contributing to the current trend in youth violence and thinks more can be done by people from all walks of life to help.
“I’m not going to sit here and say I know the answer but if people contribute in their own way we can bring an end to the problem.
Artists can raise more awareness. MPs can bring more money to youth clubs. Lots of people need to help to bring change.
“A life is rare and precious and we’re moving into a place where that is being forgotten.”
3 Minutes To Live is Yizzy’s newest single off his most recent EP Welcome To Grime Street.