Who’s On The Panel? Meet The TRENCH X UD Industry Takeover All-Dayer Panelists

Words: James Keith
Photography: Alexis Maryon

We recently announced that we would be partnering with UD for the return of their long-standing Industry Takeover All-Dayer at Protein Studios, Shoreditch, on September 4 (grab your tickets here). As part of that, TRENCH is hosting a discussion about the history of grime, the way it’s been documented and its legacy for the future. For years now, UD has been an essential industry event, priding itself on the connections made between musicians, labels, A&Rs, radio hosts, DJs and artists, as well as launching a few careers on the way.

This year, TRENCH will be hosting an all-star panel under the banner Exploring 20 Years Of Grime: From RWD To TRENCH, chaired by This Is Grime author and former RWD editor, Hattie Collins. Joining her on the panel will be TRENCH contributing editor Yemi Abiade, ex-RWD writer Raj Kapone, Janaya Cowie, and Lord Of The Mics and BBK legend Jammer. And together, they’ll explore the sound and scene that gave London a new global identity. From the early-00s to the present, we’ll also be taking a look to the future of one the UK’s most recognisable DIY sub-cultures.

Meet the panel...

Hattie Collins

Journalist, editor, author and radio host Hattie Collins was there before grime was grime. Over the past two decades, Hattie has tirelessly documented the scene’s grassroots and its occasional flirtations with the mainstream as a journalist and editor at publications like The Guardian, i-D, RWD, Sunday Times Culture, Grazia, BEAT, Conde Nast Traveller, and ASOS.

Much of that work was woven together for her magnum opus, This Is Grime, a collected oral history of the grime scene she created with her long-time friend and collaborator, photographer Olivia Rose. Together, the two spoke to just about every MC, DJ and producer who’s ever had a hand in the grime scene, combining the artists’ stories, in their words, with intimate photography that gave the scene the historical record it deserved.

“The idea of genre in 2021 is an interesting thing to consider,” Hattie tells TRENCH. “Though music is demarcated by BPM, sound, genre—or those little dividers in the HMVs that still exist—the blurring of boundaries and the homogenisation of culture makes it hard to distinguish, to me anyway, what drill, hip-hop, road rap, grime really is now. Sure, they all sound different, but they all seem rooted in similar ideas—protest, despair, hope and the absolute insistence of being a voice for those whose words are either silenced or taken away, by society, in the broad and loose sense of the term. Which is to say, the erasure of Black though, ideas, experience by white society. But whether Wiley or Digga D, NoLay or Giggs, young people had something to say and a unique and powerful way of saying it.

“For a long time, we wondered if grime would thrive and survive. I have no doubt of that now. While drill and Afrowave is the dominant sound of today, grime has survived and it has thrived. Whether it continues into the future in the literal sense or as a legacy is almost irrelevant. It is, and will always be, a music, an idea, a culture that revolutionised not only pop music, but popular culture. I think that will remain forever. And rightly so.”

Yemi Abiade

Representing TRENCH on this year’s panel is our contributing editor and co-host of the Rhymes Like Dimes podcast, Yemi Abiade. Yemi’s history as a journalist stretches back for the best part of a decade, weaving between grime and rap, and documenting their place within the contexts of the Black British diaspora and its roots in the Windrush generation and beyond. Over the years, besides his deep dives for TRENCH, Yemi’s has notched up bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The FACE, Pitchfork, VICE, Complex, Noisey, i-D, TRENCH, Crack, Dazed, Mixmag, The Fader, and more. His work has also been featured by Channel 4 News, Sky News, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live.

Janaya Cowie

For as long as she’s been building her considerable status in the music industry, Janaya Cowie has worked alongside her brother, Wiley, helping to grow his career from the start. As the brains behind Eski Dance, she’s helped nurture and grow it from an underground, DIY rave to a global brand and one of the biggest brands to have grown from the grime scene. Throughout the pandemic, Janaya, Wiley and the rest of the Eski Dance team have been putting on outdoor raves and hosting studio sessions with a cast of grime titans including Scratchy, Riko Dan, Manga and more, which they’ve been livestreaming and putting out on Instagram. Having seen grime grow from its earliest seeds, before it even had a name, Janaya has been there since before the beginning, helping to legitimise it and secure its standing as the cultural force of nature it has since become.


From the early days of N.A.S.T.Y Crew through to the modern era of Boy Better Know, and a stacked solo career besides, Jammer’s sonic contributions to grime are vast—and that’s before you get to Lord Of The Mics. Whether it’s as host of the clashing institution or as a producer in his legendary basement, Jammer is personally responsible for the careers of countless MCs over the years. Like many who were there from the beginning, as both MC and beatmaker, Jammer’s role in sculpting grime’s evolution—from its roots in garage and jungle to where it is today—defies comparison. He’s weathered the highs and the lows and always pushed new talent and new sonic developments. It’s no exaggeration to say that without Jammer, grime would be unrecognisable.

Raj Kapone

After joining RWD Magazine’s editorial team in 2005, Rajveer Kathwadia, aka Raj Kapone, quickly found himself in the centre of the early grime scene. What was originally only meant to complete a three-month work experience placement as part of his degree, grew into a five-year stint as a senior staff writer, interviewing and writing about everyone from Wiley, Kano and Skepta to Amy Winehouse, Usher and J. Cole. Knee-deep in grime music’s original ascendency from the underground to the mainstream, the East London resident penned words on the scene for The Guardian, i-D, The Metro and AllHipHop, before shifting lanes into branding and copywriting. After a decade freelancing, Raj now holds down a 9-5 as a senior copywriter for a multi-branded luxury fashion retailer.

The UD All Dayer takes place September 4 at Protein Studios, Shoreditch. Head here for more info on the event and head here for tickets.

Posted on August 12, 2021