From the outside looking in, commentators will have you believe that grime is the most one-dimensional genre, one incapable of breaking down its aggressive and raw foundations, stuck within the canon that lyrics have to be violent, misogynistic, and generally unfavourable to the average Joe. Those within the scene, however, will paint a very different picture, with the R&G (rhythm and grime) angle proving how diverse grime can be in both sound and lyrical content. Whilst you wouldn't consider it big enough to be a sub-genre, R&G created impact amongst listeners by exchanging beats filled with frenetic energy—made for pirate radio airwaves and large soundsystems—with smoother joints that connected with listeners on an emotional level.
I first heard R&G being used as a descriptive term on DJ Cameo's show over ten years ago, and there's always been one producer synonymous with the start and growth of the sound since: Terror Danjah. His Aftershock label, which doubled-up as a crew of MCs, producers and singers, was a pioneering base for the sound between 2003 and 2006—and while some producers attempted to keep the flame burning during his absence, it was Kelela's 2013-released mixtape, Cut 4 Me, that served up a massive reminder of how fitting female vocals could be over grimey-yet-serene rhythms.
Here's a look back at 10 R&G tracks that defined the short-lived movement.