I recently did an article about grime songs new fans need to hear – that you can view here, and who doesn’t love sequels? This article is for those forgotten and/or
underrated under-appreciated grime artists who the newer grime fans may not know. Don’t expect Kano’s or D Double E’s, as even though they’re grime legends, they’re known by the newer generation of grime fans too.
Think of this as an all star grime team from yesteryear. Without further ado, here is a history lesson of grime legends.
Esco (of Slew Dem)
R.I.P Esco. I haven’t met a grime fan who doesn’t rate Esco. The brother of Jermain Defoe, he was once part of the illustrious Slew Dem Crew which also features Chronik and Tempa T, he’s a notoriously loved MC who sadly passed away following a street attack in 2009. Esco was a grime MC from early as seen in the link above, as he’s spitting alongside some of the best including Kano and Crazy Titch back in 2002 at Jammer’s Birthday Bash. A grime don who was taken too soon, Esco is one to know.
Real grime kids are gonna be scratching their heads right now like “How can you not know Footsie?!” One of the hardest grime dons ever, Footsie isn’t one to be messed with. One half of Newham Generals with D Double E (cue new fans “Ahhhh, D Double’s hypeman”) he has been around from early and has got the respect of pretty much every grime fan and MC alike. Also a heavy producer, Footsie was featured in one of the best Lord of the Mics clashes against Scratchy, check the link for the hard but jokes bars Footsie brings.
Demon was moving pure evil! One of the more aggressive MC’s you’re likely to hear, you could always tell when it was a Demon track you were listening to. He had some bars that were insane, so much so that people didn’t complain when he used them on different tracks. He helped pave the way for the more hype/aggressive grime artists, however he often was on the losing end of beef as seen with his beefs with Bashy, Chronik and Riko Dan.
One of the most prolific Roll Deep members, Trim is legend in the game. A staple of Roll Deep he delivered some of the better verses on In At The Deep End, his solo career may not have been the most successful commercially but he was a radio set favourite. Regularly featuring on Rinse either solo or with other Roll Deep members, when he was on he was the guy to tune in to. With a distinctive flow and voice, he’s an old school grime favourite.
For want of a better solo track, I posted the one above. His verse in it is too much though. The flow, his idiolect and just raw content all add to Bossman’s tracks. One of the Bloodline Crew OG’s, you may catch him on the odd track here or there, but you need to know Bossman. It’s a given that Bossman is probably one of your favourite MC’s favourite MC. Well respected and a well documented figure in grime as seen with Skepta’s multiple references to him, you really should know him.
One of the more intelligent and controversial MC’s in grime, Lowkey is a favourite of many but sadly on an indefinite hiatus at the moment. ‘Obamanation’ helped garner him some attention and his album Soundtrack to the Struggle was critically acclaimed. Many grime fans were happy to see Chipmunk get slewed earlier this year but check how Lowkey buried him years before Bugzy even attempted it!
What a producer Rapid was/is. Never underrate the importance of a beat in grime, producers really do not get the recognition they deserve. The most active producer of the classic Ruff Sqwad, he’s the producer of countless beats you’ll hear freestyles over nowadays, including new grime fan’s favourite Wicked Skengman 3. If you have the time, check Guns & Roses Vol 1&2 by Ruff Sqwad for not only some heavy reality bars, but also amazing production on every track (credit for production also goes to Dirty Danger).
Grime found a resurgence in mainstream relevancy when Meridian Dan dropped German Whip. Meridian wouldn’t be what it is without President T though. One of the most distinguishable MC’s in grime, he has a deadly flow paired with any type of bar you can think of, ranging from funny to grim reality. Recently featured on the That’s Not Me Remix he may be exposed to some new fans but not as much as he should be, a true Meridian thug, Prez T is a name to be remembered.
You don’t even need to know Titch for his actual music, but more so his persona. As seen in the clip above, he doesn’t really give a shit. This is seen through his music and his actions as he’s currently in prison for murder. Regardless of that though, he’s one of the best grime artists of all time, when he was making music he was arguably the biggest name in grime, even having beef with Dizzee Rascal. Seriously if you haven’t heard about Crazy Titch (not including Jme’s recent nod to him) then you should probably stop listening to grime, as he is one of the original grime dons.
One of the most underrated female grime artists, Lady Fury was able to go bar-for-bar with the big male names and wasn’t one to be taken lightly. As seen with the diss to Shystie (another respected female MC) she was just as aggressive as any male could be. Coming out of the Female Allstars she was one of the more talented ones and it was shown by the names she was able to collaborate with. Think ‘Back Then’ was the first time Skepta spat over a Mike Jones beat? Nah, check the Still Tippin Remix with Fury, Skepta, Jme & Tinchy and listen to how Fury can keep up with them easily.
The newest name on this list, Isaiah Dreads is one of the bigger names going forward in grime and rightly so. An amazing lyricist who is one to watch out for, you should jump on his wave before he blows up. Also he know how to shut down a set as I recently witnessed first hand at Leeds Fest when he killed it! Seriously, he is gonna be the next big thing so be that person who can rightly say they knew him before he went big.
And there it is. Some classic grime artists mixed in with a newer one who are all essential to listen to. Anybody you don’t agree with? Anybody I missed out? Let me know in the comments below.