A Grime Guide to...London
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With tracks featuring grime MCs scaling the charts both sides of the Atlantic, sell-out tours and even a thriving underground Tokyo scene, grime has not only returned to the UK mainstream, but has truly gone global. Rewind back to its origins and its birthplace: London. It started as the sound of the city’s tower blocks and estates, of pirate radio, grainy videos and bedroom studios, of sweaty clashes and raves. Grime began as the sound of London’s underground. Today you won’t be hard tasked to find a good grime night in London. Here are some of the top ones currently running in the city, the best venues to check out, and where to cop the latest records... VENUES Visions 588a Kingsland Rd, London, E8 4AH
If you want an idea of what to expect at a rave at Visions, check out Skepta’s music video for his track ‘Man’. Joined by the likes of Lethal Bizzle, Chip, Shorty and Jammer, Skepta shot his video in this Dalston basement. Here you can catch major talent in an intimate setting. The club’s mad energy and 6am licence will have you raving until the early hours. Entry is guest list only, so make sure to send names over to their Facebook page before 8pm. The Alibi 91 Kingsland High St, Dalston, London E8 2PB
Another one in Dalston, this place has hosted some of the hottest (figuratively and also like literally, sweltering hot) grime nights. Look out for specialist nights, but their other events are worth checking out too. I hear they now have air con. Miranda Bar (Ace Hotel) 100 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JQ
When you hear MCs like Skepta namecheck Ace Hotel on their tracks, it’s the basement bar underneath the hotel they’re talking about. From the outside you’d never believe it, but this intimate club has hosted some of the sickest raves in recent times. The Nest 36 Stoke Newington Rd, Dalston, London N16 7XJ
Located in the vibrant district of Stoke Newington, this basement club has a reputation for putting on great nights. The place gets packed quickly but the sweaty crowds, dim lighting and smoke machines only add to the vibes. The club is great for checking out new talent and regularly hosts high-profile acts like Slimzee, Wookie and Youngsta.
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Not your typical grime night, Boxed shifts the attention away from MCs and instead focuses on producers as electronic artists in their own right. Through their events, radio take-overs and label, Boxed have played a major role in helping establish grime as a club genre. Synonymous with ‘experimental’ grime, you can expect appearances from the genre's most promising upcoming talent and some of the biggest names in the scene. Tonga
If Mike Skinner’s involved, you know it’s going to be good. Not strictly a grime night, Tonga is run by Skinner and Mancunian clubbing force, Murckage Dave. Tonga keeps the crowds small but the music loud with tickets usually selling out fast. Skinner says “party bass” is their music policy, playing a mix of grime, rap, trap and the darker realms of house. The likes of Kano, Big Narstie and Giggs have been known to make appearances. Expect banger after banger and good vibes. Eskimo Dance
Created by Wiley back in the day, Eski Dance brings together grime’s biggest names and freshest talent. The scene’s first event of such size, the early raves are stuff of legend. Showcasing the best of the best, you never know exactly who’s going to turn up but you can guarantee there’ll be mad energy. FabricLive
Head to Farringdon for FabricLive on the last Friday of the month. The renowned venue has hosted some legendary gigs with the best talent, packed pumping rooms and the sickest sound system. Check their website to see who’s performing. They’re all about that bass so expect the hottest names in grime as well as dubstep, DnB, bassline and garage. RECORD STORES DnR VINYL 352 Lower Addiscombe Rd, Croydon CR0 7AF
DnR Vinyl specialise in UK garage, grime and dubstep. The shop in Croydon is a goldmine for those looking for reasonably-priced, second-hand records. Here you can find the classics as well as some real rarities. The staff really, really know their stuff. They’re friendly and helpful, happy to pick out some recommendations or track down records that are harder to find. Banquet Records 52 Eden St, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1EE
You’ll find a fair selection of new grime records and CDs at Banquet Records but make sure to look out for their in-store signings and performances. They’ve had grime’s biggest names through those doors. Dizzee, Stormzy, Giggs, Skepta, Devlin, JME, Wretch 32 ... the list goes on and on. Well worth the trek down to Kingston.
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