From East London to America : The Fascinating Rise of Grime (PART 1/2)

In this weeks write-up, we'll take a look at Grime, a sub-genre of rap music that traces it's worldwide roots exclusively to London and the neighborhoods that surround it. Tune in to Burbs this Tuesday for Part 2 of "From East London to America : The Fascinating Rise of Grime".


On March 17th, 2017, Drake released More Life, a project in which the 6 God explained was a playlist, rather than a studio album.

When I first saw this proclamation, I saw it as nothing more than a marketing strategy. This viewpoint held firm throughout most of More Life, as Drake performs in some way, shape or form on every song.

All but one.

Halfway through More Life, I came across a track titled "Skepta Interlude". Initially, my expectations were like any other time I went into an interlude - expecting a short, sonically pleasing musical "snippet" of sorts.

I was way off.

I very quickly discovered that "Skepta Interlude" was performed by... Skepta (a rapper I had not heard to that point).

Skepta murders the track. His thick British accent catches the listeners attention from the jump, and over the course of 2 minutes and 23 seconds, the London MC keeps rhythm, delivering bar after bar.

At the time, I noted the track as one of my favorites, and like any true musical connoisseur, I moved on to the next song.

What I now realize (almost a year later), however, is how colossally important this little interlude was to an entire country sitting on the other end of the Atlantic Ocean.

Skepta and Giggs (the album's two Grime artists) had made it onto an album by of the world's most popular rappers - effectively introducing countries all over Earth to the sound and passion of a genre that had largely stayed within the confines of the nation it hails from.

For those of you that have yet to immerse yourselves in Grime, let me provide a history lesson:

In the early 2000's, the UK was a booming hub for electronic music, a genre that has taken heavy influence from cities across England.

Rap, however, was minuscule at best.

Wait, let me rephrase that: rap music coming out of England was minuscule at best.

Enter Wiley, Dizzy Rascal, Kano and Lethal Bizzle.

Considered by many to be the "Godfathers of Grime", these four artists (among others) birthed a new style of rap music - pulling heavily from the fast, dance-based sound of the wildly popular EDM genre in England.

Let's focus on Wiley, arguably the most influential name in early Grime music. To this day, Wiley's 2004 debut Treddin On Thin Ice largely exists as a blueprint for every young Grime artist to follow. It's fast, addictive production and head-spinning flow helped to define a brand new sub-group of rap.

A sub-group that wouldn't see the light of day in America for over a decade.

*go check out Wiley's 2017 project Godfather, it's the perfect blend of early/new age Grime*

Tune in to Burbs this Tuesday for PART 2 of "From East London to America : The Fascinating Rise of Grime".


Boy in da Corner - Dizzee Rascal (2003)

Home Sweet Home - Kano (2005)

Treddin On Thin Ice - Wiley (2004)

-Carter Ferryman-