A few weeks ago, while watching megastar DJ Z-Trip rock a tailgate party for a few UCLA Bruins fans, the jocked excitedly told me that a sweet freshman girl, big cheeks painted with yellow and blue team logos, requested he play some dubstep. As the crowd of clearly mainstream coolege football fans went bonkers to the low end beats, I was struck that this genre’s time in the “phenomenon” spotlight is almost up.
A new film, Bassweight, is coming out in the UK this month. With dubstep superstars Mary Anne Hobbs, Skream, Benga and Kode 9 all partipating, the film is doubtlessly a credible look at the music’s near decade-long history. But the angle being reported by The Guardian is that Bassweight focuses not on the past, but on the predicting the future of dubstep. And while I’ve not seen the flim, nor heard the postulations therein, one doesn’t need to look far to take an educated guess at where dubstep is headed.
Since it’s inception, dubstep has mirrored the pop-cultural arc of drum’n'bass almost identically. And not just because the former is pretty much a half-tempo version of the other. Here’s a breakdown of the parallel timelines:
Drum’n'Bass / Dubstep
Begins in working class Britian
Bristol / South London
Seminal club nights evolve
AWOL (A Way Of Life) / FWD>>
Pirate broadcasts spread the sound
Kool FM / Rinse FM
Seminal artistic albums are released
Goldie- Timeless / Burial- Untrue
Sound takes off in the U.S.
Dieselboy / Rusko (UK Expat)
Mainstream stars adopt the style
David Bowie / Britney Spears
What happens next is just as predictable. Within a year or so, dubstep will fall out of favor with the forward looking music fans who raised it into popularity to begin with. The media will move on to new genre’s as well. However, the music will continue to thrive amongst purist communities and, surprisingly, in frat houses across the country (trust us, d’n'b was huge on college campuses throughout the ’00s). After a fallow period, a revival will occure somewhere around 2016 before the music finally normalizes into just another category in your iTunes playlist—like lounge, IDM and jungle.
Cycle of life kiddies. Trust me.