A GUARDIAN, OBSERVER, PITCHFORK, NPR, METRO AND HERALD SCOTLAND BEST MUSIC BOOK OF 2018
‘The definitive grime biography’ NME
’A landmark genre history’ Pitchfork
The year 2000. As Britain celebrates the new millennium, something is stirring in the crumbling council estates of inner-city London. Making beats on stolen software, spitting lyrics on tower block rooftops and beaming out signals from pirate-radio aerials, a group of teenagers raised on UK garage, American hip-hop and Jamaican reggae stumble upon a dazzling new genre.
Against all odds, these young MCs will grow up to become some of the UK’s most famous musicians, scoring number one records and dominating British pop culture for years to come. Hip-hop royalty will fawn over them, billion dollar brands will queue up to beg for their endorsements and through their determined DIY ethics they’ll turn the music industry’s logic on its head.
But getting there won’t be easy. Successive governments will attempt to control their music, their behaviour and even their clothes. The media will demonise them and the police will shut down their clubs. National radio stations and live music venues will ban them. There will be riots, fighting in the streets, even murder. And the inner-city landscape that shaped them will be changed beyond all recognition.
Drawn from over a decade of in depth interviews and research with all the key MCs, DJs and industry players, in this extraordinary book the UK’s best grime journalist Dan Hancox tells the remarkable story of how a group of outsiders went on to create a genre that has become a British institution. Here, for the first time, is the full story of grime.
About the author
Dan Hancox is a native Londoner who writes about music, politics, gentrification, social exclusion, protest and the margins of urban life, chiefly for the Guardian, but also the New York Times, Vice, The Fader, Dazed & Confused and XXL. He is the author of The Village Against the World (Verso).
- ‘Grime is the sound of 21st century protest. Inner City Pressure is essential reading from a superb writer on the political awakening of a generation’ Owen Jones
- ‘Dan Hancox charts a remarkable story from pirate radio to the front pages. This is a story that deserves to be heard’ David Lammy MP
- ‘Unputdownable and bristling with insights about grime and the city it was born in. Anyone with any interest in grime, you need to be reading this, trust me’ Jeffrey Boakye, author of Hold Tight
- ‘It says something about the last two decades that the first real history of 21st century London comes in the form of a book about grime. Hancox tells the story of a city and a music scene with restraint, humour and anger’ Owen Hatherley, author of A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
- ‘Riveting… Grime, black music’s rawest response against social injustice, has the chronicler it deserves. Hancox is a tremendous guide’ Kitty Empire, Observer
- ‘An extraordinary pop music story. Hancox’s deep knowledge of London illuminates the music … just as you could tell the story of the US in the Sixties via rock music, Hancox sees 21st Century London through a grime lens, from the 2011 riots to Grenfell Tower’ Dorian Lynskey, GQ
- ‘A vivid and serious study of grime, stretching from its earliest stirrings through to its unexpected love-fest clinch with Corbyn’ Simon Reynolds
- ‘A terrific achievement and an instant London classic’ Leo Hollis, author of Cities Are Good For You
- ‘An absolutely brilliant read’ Tom Dyckhoff
- ‘A must read’ DJ Slimzee
- ‘A dazzling book’ Ellie Mae O’Hagan
- ‘An excellent, thorough history’ Wire
- ‘An exhaustive, thrilling account of one of UK music’s most fascinating and complex musical experiences’ Clash