Grime Originals Is Taking Back The Scene

Words + Photography: Laura 'Hyperfrank' Brosnan

Over the last four years, the grime scene has broken through the glass ceiling——we've all seen, heard, and felt it. It's dusted off its gritty appeal and become a buzzword that corporate suits are throwing around to tap into younger audiences. This era has allowed a lot of our persistent emcees to really flourish, however, for many pioneers who inspired the new gen to grab the mic, it hasn't been as easy to break into the wider music industry. For some, the ones who felt the real impact of the recently scrapped Form 696, it feels like there's a gap between the actual grime scene and what outsiders consider to be grime——and they are running with it. There's a select few artists that publications, radio, and even fans tap into but don't seem too keen on getting to know the full spectrum of the movement. 

Attending Grime Originals last Saturday (December 9), at Fire & Lightbox in Vauxhall, South London, made me realise just what we've all been missing. Witnessing grime in its purest form, this night wasn't about who had just signed a big brand deal or gone to No. 1——it was about the core of the culture: beats, bars, and reloads. The excitement to be around like-minded lovers of grime (not trendies who think that Heat FM is a boiler-fixing service), the adrenaline of hearing the legacy of crews like Pay As U Go and Roadside G's live——and being in a space that felt like you were watching Eskimo Dance shellings from 2003 on YouTube——was sky high. Grime Originals took us back to the beginning, reminding us of the hidden heroes of "dark garage" and early grime.

The night started with the new generation of emcees stepping up to a full-capacity venue (1200 people in total). YGG received reload after reload and, with so much talent awaiting the mic, it was encouraging to see all the newer faces ready to fly the flag. After a hype interval of UK rap and Afrobeats, the sets that followed were a haze of memories; basically, it was so sick that the order for me is now a blur, but the reloads will never be forgotten. Flirta D and Swarvo riding Teddy's "Black Chains" riddim prepared us all for the high-quality wheel-ups we were about to witness. Lethal B jumped into the crowd as 2Face dropped his "Pow (2011)" verse over Rude Kid's "Electric", but one of the biggest moments of the night had to be Durrty Goodz lacing Rapid's "Xtra" production, spinning everyone off their feet with the renowned bar "Let me talk about the boy name Kylie…" from his notorious dubplate clash with Wiley. It was unexpected, considering they have a joint project on the way, but for the sake of grime was wholly appreciated.

South London's finest, Roadside G's turned up in full effect. Phantom dropped "What you know about sitting in jail on New Year's Eve?" with every syllable creating roars of delight from the lucky audience. Jammer jumped in on Spooky's refix of Coki's "Night"——with his classic line, "I'm a big man but I'm not 30"——and joined the likes of Chronik, Big H and Ghetts, who all got huge reactions from the attentive crowd. Later, Discarda joined DJ Target, Maxwell D, Flowdan, Jamakabi, Manga, Riko and more for a hardcore Roll Deep meets Pay As U Go set that ended the night off at around 5am. Grime Originals is a must-attend for any real fan of grime, and will soon join the likes of Dirty Canvas, Sidewinder, ChockABlock et al in the 'legendary underground club night' ranks.