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 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 11:55 GMT
Garage scene denies glorifying guns
So Solid Crew
So Solid Crew made headlines in 2002
Darren Waters

DJs and musicians have defended the UK garage music scene from accusations of glorifying gun culture and violence.

BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Iyare told BBC News Online the media were making a scapegoat of rap and garage music.

His comments come after Culture Minister Kim Howells said the deaths of two Birmingham teenagers were "symptomatic" of developments in rap and garage music.

Mr Howells attacked garage acts, like So Solid Crew, for "glorifying gun culture and violence" following the shooting of the young women after a party last week.

He said people should stand up to "idiot macho rappers".

Trevor Nelson
Anyone on the streets of a city in this country knows there is a problem and is scared witless

Trevor Nelson
So Solid Crew are one of the most controversial acts in the UK and in recent months three members of the garage collective have been arrested on gun charges.

DJ Iyare said: "The whole gun culture in relation to music is minute. Whatever is hottest on the streets will always attract a small number of idiots.

"It was the same with dancehall music and rap in the past and garage now."

He added: "Films and computer games glorify guns far more than music and have a wider impact than music.

"But Kim Howells is not prepared to take on Hollywood, or Sony and Microsoft."

'Threatened'

Iyare said members of So Solid Crew carried guns not to glorify gun culture but to protect themselves.

The media have blown it all out of proportion

Ms Dynamite
"Rightly or wrongly, they feel threatened and need to protect themselves. They are kids from council estates and are targets for those making a beeline for them."

Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson also defended rap and garage music.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "If there is a serial killer on the loose, they don't ring Stephen King and start telling him about what he puts in his movies or books because we all enjoy them.

"We go to the cinema, we know it is not real, we go home."

Social problem

"But as soon as this happens with this subject... they are knocking on every musician's door - from Eminem to whoever."

Nelson said those who attacked rap and garage music missed the point that gun culture was a social problem.

"I think it's wrong - it's an obvious problem. Anyone who goes into a club or who is young and on the streets of a city in this country knows there is a problem and is scared witless.

"It is a big horror story on the streets and people have to do something about it sooner or later."

Mercury prize winning singer Ms Dynamite also criticised the media.

"The media have blown it all out of proportion," she told the Guardian newspaper.

Attacked

She said some rap acts were involved with guns because it was "a metaphor for life in general".

Garage act Heartless Crew also attacked the culture minister.

The group told BBC Radio 4: "There is no evidence to say violence is connected to music. It is a general problem in society."

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur has criticised the garage industry for not doing more to combat gun culture.

Only Ms Dynamite has agreed to front a police anti-gun campaign, he said.

But 1Xtra DJ Iyare said he did not believe any such campaign would work.

"They tried it in the States with loads of stars releasing a charity record.

"But this is a social problem."


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See also:

06 Jan 03 | Politics
07 Jan 03 | UK
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