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With its hordes of MCs representing unglamorous corners of south London, the all-star track helped grime take off in a pre-social media era – and now its collaborative chaos is coming back
It’s easy to forget, in 2017, how atomised the early grime scene was. There was no social media, no YouTube, no interest from the established music industry, no technology to broadcast the music to the UK or the world beyond. Grime was hyperlocal.
As Kano has put it, MCs and DJs could quickly become “local-famous”, but their bars and identities would resonate only as far as their pirate radio aerials could transmit – usually a few miles at most – before their voices were submerged in static and sank beneath the waves. Tinchy Stryder has told me about being the talk of his secondary school the day after he appeared on Deja Vu FM; Wiley would get mobbed walking down Roman Road in Bow. But beyond that narrow radius, it was hard to make an impact.