Grime artist Chronik and Noisey’s “Deepest Darkest” Africa

Guest Post by Jack Van Cooten

Those who have an interest in UK grime music may have stumbled across Chronik’s latest offering “Deepest Darkest”. The video, released via Noisey last week, was filmed in Ghana earlier this year and is staged in the fictional nation ‘The Democratic Republic of ‘Uduno’’, which is assumed to be the DRC, based on the map at the beginning of the video. Whilst VICE, who curate Noisey, aren’t exactly well-known for their diligent and impartial reporting style when it comes to foreign affairs, this seems to have taken them to new levels of sensationalism.

It features Chronik as a heavily armed rebel leader who is reported to be the “new face of terror in Africa” (by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1978; not sure who fact-checked that one). At one point, the camouflage-clad leader ominously claims

All those who do not comply to my rules and regulations will meet the full force of my entire army. We will go anywhere we have to go, and crush anyone we have to crush. We will destroy your livestock. We will destroy any means you have of survival. Slew dem, slew dem, slew dem.

Whilst grime is no stranger to hyperbolically violent videos and lyrics, this is perhaps the most extreme example that I can recollect. It explicitly glorifies African conflict and capitalizes on the fear and violence that it entails. Complete with the usual Heart of Darkness discourses, many of the scenes involve terrified villagers running away from Chronik and his gun-wielding soldiers. As if this wasn’t ridiculous enough, the rapper from Stratford also appears to have developed a bizarre affinity with a crocodile, which he sits on throughout the video as he spouts his dire lyrics.

Aside from the almost humorously ignorant visuals, the lyrics are nothing more than a series of consecutive menacing and aimless threats, devoid of substance, direction or flow.

I would like to think that Chronik is presenting some kind of clever critique of the way that the media represents Africans and African conflict as savage and barbaric, and that it’s just too clever a metaphor for me to understand. Yeah, it’s probably that.

* Jack Van Cooten is a Geography undergraduate at the University of Sheffield, keen traveler and music enthusiast. He runs the Banana Hill music events in Sheffield.


6 thoughts on “Grime artist Chronik and Noisey’s “Deepest Darkest” Africa

  1. Talentless, absolutely no talent whatsoever! If one looks at how he jumps away from the croc when it moves I have to wonder how long he would actually survive in Africa ’cause as we know, Africa is not for Sissies!

  2. Right im going to say some facts.. The genre of grime is violent and the flow and lyrics suit the genre. Therefore bitching about what is said is stupid as it has been created for thoes who like the genre. I guarantee you there are many grime fans out there who love the flow and lyrics because it stays true to grime and doest try and impress twats like you.. Secondly the Uk grime scene needs new people like chronik to try and be original or it will never develop and you guys criticizing an artist for developing is ridiculous as its not only unfounded but also counterproductive to the scene as others will hesitate to break out and do their thing. Also, you trying to take this piss out of the croc thing is just weird. surly you understand that the whole video was aiming for an original vibe and visuals such as him being on the croc is highlighting he fact that videos can be what you want them to be rather than guys standing with there hardest mates rapping in the hood. Oh and its also hilarious and a surprise which makes you remember both the video and the song. Lastly, think about what you are saying i mean your taking about how Chronik is portraying a negative imagine is insane because at the end of the day its just how you as a person is interpreting it. Ive watched the video a few times before reading this and never came to the same conclusion as you and in fact it made me think about the conflicts in africa and got me on google wondering why the fuck there are so many coops over there which lead me to learn about area and the cultural and political problems but hey fuck it I mean if you want to think like that great.. If you want to assume somebody is stupid without meeting them then fine but dont use media as a platform to criticize original thought because its just gona slow the development of a genre which many people love.

    • I’m a big fan of grime myself, and have been since the Pay as you go days, please don’t think that I don’t know about, or respect the genre. I also know that violent lyrics and visuals in grime, and indeed hip-hop are connected to it and always have been. I mean, if you come from a violent background, it makes sense that it can reflect in your lyrics.

      My point is that the video is ignorant and attention-seeking. It’s not particularly artistic and it certainly isn’t trying to make a political statement. It’s needless and offensive, especially to all those who have the misfortune to have been involved in conflict. Also, I never said that Chronik was stupid, but that he was ignorant. The video purely exists to take advantage of destruction and misery for entertainment, and subsequently his own gain.

      Just like you’re entitled to your opinion, I am entitled to mine. I’m not bitching, I’m reviewing. I think it’s pretty fair considering that if you’re an artist, and you release your art into the public, people have a right to criticise it,rather than blindly praise in and reject all negative comments. You can be original without being ignorant and offensive, no?

      Lastly, it’s good that the video made you think, but surely if Chronik wanted to, he could have drawn attention to subjects like civil-war and conflict in a more positive and productive way.

  3. This is bollocks, I was in Sierra Leone during a long bloody civil war, i have also been an avid fan of grime music since its inception in the early noughties…….this video is simply crass and tasteless….to be honest if someone was to make the same kind of video in the context of the holocaust im pretty sure the world would not be as open minded and tolerant about this. I know what grime is about, i went to school in Saaarf London and I experienced a lot of the influences on and of this sub-culture, the bottom line is I find this video offensive and disturbing. Millions of lives were lost in senseless conflicts in Africa and it is disrespectful to utilise these dastardly acts as a cheap means of publicity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s