Written by Edward Burrell
There are a new wave of fans just entering the Grime and UK rap scene, a genre I love and have spent a lot of time with, yet newer fans are suffering from a problem that isn’t necessarily their fault. Grime and UK rap has blown up, but in terms of radio play, it doesn’t give anywhere near a true reflection of how much talent there is. Which means newer fans are failing to grasp the true nature of the music, and have a lack of knowledge concerning how big the scene actually is. They are only being shown the tip of the iceberg. As much as being on the Vodaphone top 40 or iTunes chart is great exposure, truthfully, that’s never been important to this genre. Familiar faces such as Stormzy, Skepta and Wiley are often found there, but that’s not where most the scene’s exposure comes from. Most of that exposure comes from radio. Grime has had a huge history as a culture integrated with pirate radio. Radio stations such as Axe FM, Déjà vu FM and Rinse FM were a huge part of that, with DJs such as Logan Sama and Tim Westwood being frontline ambassadors. Although that aspect of grime hasn’t changed, the radio stations have, so here are the best radio stations to keep in touch with the latest releases. I guarantee your current favourite MC has been on one of these shows at least once at some point.
The Grime Show on Rinse FM with Sir Spyro (every Sunday 21:00 GMT)
Sir Spyro is well known and respected DJ and producer who runs his own grime show. Rinse FM used to be a pirate radio station known to promote grime and UK rap in the times when it was more of an underground scene. Now it has become a popular internet radio show with a regular grime show. Sir Spyro starts by playing a few songs which are hot at the time, then leading on to a set with whichever guest he decides to bring on, varying from big names to those just coming up. The last roster was Izzie Gibbs, Stormzy, Jaykae and Dapz on the Map, which shows the amount of respect the show has garnered, as well as the diversity of it. His beat selection is perfect, giving the MCs lots of room to show off and promote themselves. This show should be your priority in getting regular updates on artists you like and finding some new talent you had previously missed. Find more info here.
Credit: Rinse FM
The Joints Show on Radar Radio with Big Zuu (every 3rd Tuesday of the month 20:00 – 22:00 GMT)
The young and energetic Big Zuu hosts his regular fortnightly show which is a bit more light-hearted. Big Zuu is not necessarily a DJ or producer, he is an MC who is part of the MTP collective with AJ Tracey and ETS. However, he is certainly entertaining and his show is recommended to anyone who either dislikes grime, or misinterprets the culture. His show usually begins with him playing a few of the latest songs and taking calls from listeners in between, consequently this gives Big Zuu an opportunity to entertain all the listeners, not just the caller. Although there is a guest MC who is interviewed, but normally they are a less serious and executed in a casual manner making it easier to listen to than other grime shows. Find more info here.
Credit: Radar Radio
SPLURT DIABLO on Radar Radio with Splurt Diablo (every 2nd Wednesday 20:00 – 22:00 GMT)
Splurt Diablo would be perfect for anyone that you would consider to be a ‘Hip’ as although it has a seemingly regular format, it’s the host that makes this show quite edgy. Many people can be considered as ‘hip’ if they listen to niche music or radio stations, and this delivers that vibe within the grime genre. The mysterious Splurt Diablo used to be anonymous, despite producing many songs for multiple artists, and he was mainly associated with South London collective Family Tree. However, it was revealed half a year ago that Merky Ace (Ex-member of Family Tree, Founder of Tizzy Gang) is in fact Splurt Diablo. Fortunately, Merky Ace has chosen to keep his alter ego as part of his musical repertoire. It’s comical however, that Splurt Diablo is supposed to have a child. Merky Ace confirmed the obvious in a Rinse FM interview, that he does not have any kids, as well clearing up other aspects about his alternate alias. With all of this aside, Splurt Diablo and Merky Ace both appear on some of the episodes making it all that more interesting, giving you both a talented MC, and an edgy yet ingenious DJ and producer for you to marvel at. As Merky Ace is veteran MC himself, you should expect some big names flooding into this show, with his most recent show including Roll Deep’s Manga and Footsie from the Newham Generals. Find more info here.
Credit: Radar Radio
Kiss Grime on Kiss FM with Rude Kid (every Sunday from 10pm)
Kiss has been very hit and miss with grime shows. Logan Sama used to run a successful grime show on Kiss FM, but his show kept being moved, shortened, and pushed out of the limelight, to the point where he decided to leave. Sacking Tim Westwood was also unhelpful, because there was nothing representing the UK rap or grime scene on Kiss FM. After a long hiatus, Kiss has reconsidered its stance, giving budding producer Rude Kid free reign on his own grime show. This is simply a new version of Sir Spyro’s Grime show, however, it is still worth mentioning as Kiss FM is an already a popular station. With a typical structure of a play-through of the latest releases with call-ins and shout outs in between, to a live set and then an interview, it is a show that can be used as the foundation for your regular listening. As Rude Kid is a long-standing producer, he has a large beat selection during the sets, including some of his own, with a variety of guests from President T to Capo Lee. It exposes you to well-established MCs as well as newly emerging ones. Find more info here.
Credit: KISS FM UK
Sian’s Studio on 1Xtra with Sian Anderson
Sian’s studio is simple, which is the purest form that a grime radio show could come in. The guest is briefly introduced and then what follows is pure and simple fire. Since Sian is not a producer, the mixing might not be as flashy, however the beat selection is authentic, keeping the emphasis on the freestyling itself. This is simply a platform for MCs to deliver bars, encouraging you to check them out afterwards. The talent yet again is very diverse, ranging up and down the country, as well as the MCs differing in experience. Appearances have ranged; from having a Midlands take over, with the likes of Mez and Kamikaze, hosting the London based the trio YGG, and long standing crew OGz. With the show being only half an hour long it won’t take up much of your day. If you are only after the bare bones this is the show to tune into, as 1Xtra has variety of other shows that play grime music, which might be a bit too convoluted for your liking. Find out more info here.
Credit: BBC Radio 1Xtra
With Spooky Bizzle’s #NightShift on Mode Fm and the regular radio sets on Pyro Radio as honourable mentions, I’m sure I’ve given you enough content to satisfy you. All of these examples also have YouTube channels, where you can listen back to all of the episodes that you will have missed if you are a new listener. I hope you discover more about what this scene is about as a result and see the mass amounts of talent that is waiting for you.