Jungle, Garage and the Birth of Grime

Hailing from London’s East End, grime is a genre that exploded into the cultural mainframe in 2014 with Skepta and JME’s That’s Not Me. Speaking to both the cultural moment - with the rise of social media apps like Instagram beginning to distort reality - as well as Skepta’s experience in the music industry, it marked grime’s first spotlight as a genre of international significance. But it was well over a decade earlier that grime had emerged from East London, broadcast through the DIY transmitters stuck on top of buildings by pirate radio stations like Rinse FM and Deja Vu.

The sound was like nothing heard before, with beats made on game consoles, and artists spitting lines so fast over the top it’s a miracle they didn’t run out of breath. A reaction to the earlier London-centric genres of jungle and garage, grime was like their little brother, deeply raw, always fresh and full of energy, with a tracksuit and Air Force Ones to boot.

In the first episode of this new series, i-D’s Osman Ahmed speaks to music journalist Chantelle Fiddy about the cultural significance of Grime as a genre, alongside its sartorial style. Saul Milton of Chase and Status remembers his first interactions with jungle and grime. D Double E recounts the early days of grime and the community formed around it, and Semtex reflects on the success of so many of its artists in pop music in the late 2000s. Dan Hancox, author of Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime recounts the rise and fall, and then the unexpected rise of grime once again.

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