Much more so than individual MCs, crews in grime come and go. N.A.S.T.Y. Crew, Ruff Sqwad, Pay As U Go, the list goes on. That might be because it is easier to make music without depending on others, or because fans prefer to focus their affection on an individual, or perhaps because crowding too many MC egos into a room is a bit like trying to home lions in a cat kennel. Whatever the reason, crews in the scene tend to have the life-span of my iPhone 4 battery (kmt).
Not BBK though. Emerging in 2005 as an offspring of Meridian Crew, Boy Better Know has gone from strength to strength. At the time of writing, Skepta’s LP ‘Konnichiwa’ and JME’s single “Man Don’t Care” are both boasting silver plaques, and on Sunday 10th July, the crew will be headlining Finsbury Park’s much-loved Wireless Festival.
But what are the secrets of their success?
At the helm of BBK are two brothers, big bro Skepta and big ‘fro JME. The family ties between them serve as glue that keeps the crew tight. Skepta has also said the natural sibling rivalry between the brothers spurs the two of them to impress and improve. Maybe that explains why bangers from BBK just seem to get bigger and better. The brotherly aspect also means the BBK mandem will never drift too far, because that’s not what families do.
Same Crew, Different Ships
One of the factors that has previously hindered crews of acclaimed solo MCs is their inability to find the time to do a project together. For about three years, every interview with Ghetts, Wretch, Scorcher, Mercston or Devlin would include a question on the progress of the highly-anticipated Movement album. The answer was always something along the lines of “everyone’s doing their solo thing, we just need to find the time”. For MCs in demand, it is easy to understand why blocking time for a collaborative project would be tough. BBK’s approach has been different. They have never worked on an album together, but collaborate on singles, cyphers and shows. That makes them agile as a crew, and means that there are never questions asked of their togetherness.
Same Circle, Different Angles
On top of that, BBK is a diverse squad, attacking the game from a variety of angles. First up, there’s colour-coded tracksuit Skepta, with his deep voice, deliberate flow and Japan-love. Then there’s JME, uni degree-er, Pokemon enthusiast, with his conversational style and catchphrases. Jammer is defined by his dreads, anthemic bars and ability to turn the rave into a drum and bass doppelganger contest. As well as that, there’s rhythmic and ice-cold Frisco, Ace Hotel-loving Shorty and the muscularity and aggression of Solo45. Each BBK spitter comes with his own, unique strengths, which makes their collaborations dynamic.
Who Produces Anthem After Anthem?
Most importantly, though, no crew can boast the bangers that BBK can. If anthems were trainers, they’d have enough to accommodate the whole of Blazing Squad. It is BBK’s pedigree of explosive hits that have made them the most revered crew in the game, and potentially the best ever. It’s also those anthems that means you’d be a fool to miss them at their headline set on Sunday.
Get your tickets for that BBK Wireless heist here.
And, just so you know why you cannot be missing this…