Grime and UK rap is at an all time high right now. It was only a few years ago the grime scene was near on non-existent to the mainstream, but now it’s the new wave (and the return of some old heads) and is being documented everyday across the globe.
It’s an overwhelming feeling, especially for artists and fans who have lived and breathed the culture since its birth 14 years ago; grime connoisseur’s Hattie Collins (i-D Features Director) and Olivia Rosie (photographer) have notably examined the scene’s evolution, releasing the book This Is Grime, whilst also teaming up with Red Bull Music Academy this past weekend in Leeds to create an exhibition showcasing the documentation of the culture throughout its existence.
Curated by Olivia Rose, An Eye On Grime featured an array of photographs of the pioneers in 2002 such as Wiley, Dizzee and D Double E, to the current 2016 new age artists like Section Boz, Novelist and AJ Tracey. Rose also arranged one room to mirror a vintage lounge area of a typical London estate flat, with 90’s fat back TVs playing old grime music videos and PlayStation one games in the corner… Vibey.
But that wasn’t all the Red Bull team had up their sleeves. In conjunction with the exhibition, Giggs was in the building to have a conversation with Hattie Collins. The pair spoke about the Landlord’s upbringing in Peckham, his past as a carer working with disabled people, refusing to mop floors at his old McDonalds job, his son looking after him as a manage and his first DJ name being “Super Giggler”; and the brilliant fact that his mum wrote a bar for him when he was 13.
After the lecture came the “Knock Knock” after-party show, featuring enthralling performances from the likes of home town hero Dialect, Mez, Sian Anderson, Jammz, Nadia Rose, Slimzee B2B Grandmixxer and of course, the man himself, Giggs.
Giggs’ juxtaposition in persona was most notable when his shy offstage presence was annexed by a cathartic onstage animal. I mean, how could it not be when you’ve got hits like “Whippin Excursion”? Which was wheeled back three times to emphasise its gargantuan banger status. If you thought Giggs’ tracks were hard in your shitty Apple headphones, they’re a whole different monster live such as “501”, “Clipped Him”, “Lock Doh” and his career defining “Talkin The Hardest”. Giggs certainly shut down the RBMA in ferocious style.