When I first got approached by Flavourmag to write an article on the Top ten grime acts of all time, I was eager and ready to give my opinion, growing up in London I’ve seen first-hand how the popularity of the grime scene has increased over last decade with the rise of several new exciting MC’s. As a lover of all things rap related, I already had my picks in mind already of who I thought deserved to make the list and who didn’t which had me debating with my boys on who the best was. Unlike pop music, the grime scene is a small and competitive world where word gets around quick, from the underground to the mainstream; there have a been hundreds of MC’s with the hardest rhymes but only the best of best could make the cut, from North to South and back. Grime is much more than just a genre of music on your I-tunes playlist, it’s a genuine and organic sound which connected to a generation and gave you a sense of pride when someone from your ends made it. So here you have it my personal top ten grime acts of all time the most consistent, influential and successful acts to date:
10 Giggz/Nathaniel Thompson
Giggz aka Hollowman, the monotone and direct sound of the south London MC amassed a strong following in the streets through his SN1 (Spare No 1) crew which included his brothers Joe Grind, Kyze and others, with the release of a series of mixtapes which put Peckham on the grime scene map. Despite his run in’s with the law and being blacklisted by music stations such as BBC 1Xtra, the MC has managed to release to 2 albums (Walk in the Park (2008) and Let em have it (2010) which have garnered him huge popularity even winning a BET award for best UK hip-hop/rap act (2008). Giggz is set to release his third album ‘When will it stop’ this year following a brief hiatus and stint in prison.
9 Professor Green/ Stephen Paul Manderson
The rapper/song writer from Hackney, east London rose to fame by winning the ‘Jumpoffmyspace’ rap tournament in 2008 gaining a reputation for his mic skills, following the release of his early EP’s and mixtapes; Green’s debut album ‘Alive till I’m dead’ (2010) was a commercial success debuting #2 on the UK charts going gold selling 100,000 copies. Soon after the MC released his second album ‘At your inconvenience’ (2011) the album dealt with the harsh reality of Green’s difficult upbringing including the suicide of his father. The Album included the chart topping hit ‘Read all about’ ft. Emeli Sande which sold 153,000 copies; the album went gold peaking at #3 on the UK chart. Away from music Professor Green partnered up with sportswear brand Puma to release his official apparel collection.
8 Devlin/ James Devlin
Devlin emerged on the grime scene with friends and fellow MC’s ghetts, Wretch 32 and Scorcher as a member of the group ‘The Movement’ before setting out on his own. The east end MC from Dagenham gained a reputation for his gritty and intense rhymes. After the release of his debut album ‘Bud, sweat and tears’ in (2010/11) which peaked at #21 on the UK charts; Devlin released his second album ‘A moving picture’ which was released in February 2013 to mixed reviews by critics but featured his best single to date ‘Watchtower’ which went #7 on the UK charts.
7 Tinchy Stryder/Kwasi Danquah III
The rapper turned CEO from Bow, east London first came onto the scene with fellow MC’s Dizzee Rascal and Wiley as part of Roll Deep, but was the leader of the grime supergroup Ruff Sqwad from 2000 to 2010, under which they released several mixtapes and albums including ‘Guns and roses’ volume 1 &2. Stryder has released 3 solo albums and sold over 22 million digital singles worldwide. Outside music Tinchy has branched out to other ventures including his own clothing line ‘Star in the Hood’, headphones ‘goji’ by Tinchy Stryder as well as being CEO of his own entertainment company ‘Takeover Entertainment’ a subsidiary under Roc Nation owned by Jay-Z.
6 Skepta/ Joseph Junior Adenuga
Boy Better Knows’ own Skepta alongside his brother JME together co-founded the grime record label BBK (BOY BETTER KNOW) in 2006. The grime MC from North London’s notorious Tottenham borough came onto the scene independently gaining a local buzz with popular hits ‘Rescue me’ ‘Too many man’ and albums ‘Microphone champion’ and ‘Doin it again’ which included his chart topping hit ‘Rescue me’ as well as a collaboration remix with Diddy ‘Hello, Good Morning.’ The album peaked at number #19 on the UK charts; following the release of his mixtape ‘Blacklisted’ the boisterous MC has announced his currently working on his fourth album.
Next week we will be posting numbers 5 -1 so keep it locked to FLAVOURMAG… Can you guess who is in the Top 5? Leave your comments below.
Words by Tosin Salami