GrimeForum.com. RWD Magazine. Dirty Canvas. Prancehall. Hyperfrank. Chantelle Fiddy... 

If you were aged between 16 and 25 during the early-to-mid ‘00s and were into UK underground music, chances are you’ll know these names and platforms very well. This period of time is what is referred to by those of us who worked in it and lived through it as ‘The Grime Blog Era’—a time where “bloggers” were just as respected for their pen as the rhymesmiths they wrote about; back when being a “bait face” was very much frowned upon if you didn’t have the work to back up the notoriety.

This was also way before TikTok, Instagram and Twitter invaded our lives; Bebo and MySpace just about made the cut. And before music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music changed the order of the day, it was all about the MP3 download, Napster and Limewire, where you could go to your favourite blog and download the latest pirate radio set or freestyle from the week’s top-boy MC. YouTube—and the grime/rap channels we’ve come to love, like Grime Daily, Link Up TV and SBTV—wasn’t around either: if you didn’t have the latest Risky Roadz, Practise Hours or Run The Roads DVD/CD pack, you didn’t really know what was happening in the scene—unless, of course, you followed your favourite bloggers who were tapped in and on the ground. And despite what some of the more traditional journalists may have thought back then, music bloggers had power—lots of it, too—and especially on the grime circuit, their work is still being referenced to this very day.

At the peak of the Blogspot boom, circa 2004, a group of then-aspiring music writers from in and around London—some of whom had bylines in mainstream publications but still wanted a space to voice opinions—decided to launch blog sites to document what was happening in the big city’s vibrant music scene—which, at the time, was spearheaded by the fast-paced genre of grime, a sound powered by “showerman” MCs and beats that are still somewhere in the future. While some bloggers, like Chantelle Fiddy, lived in the thick of it—right where the genre was born, in East London—others, like myself, who didn’t live in London at the time, travelled to and from every weekend to experience and explore the most important UK subculture movement of our time. If it wasn’t for grime laying solid foundations, both musically and on a culture level, there wouldn’t be a stage for Central Cee, Digga D, Dave, and the countless other UK acts shaking the world right now.

In celebration of grime and its Blog Era, I caught up with some old friends to relive the years that helped us and allowed us to be able to do what we’re doing today in music, and beyond.

AS TOLD BY...

Chantelle Fiddy  Artist & Brand Manager
Laura ‘Hyperfrank’ Brosnan — TV Producer
Sian Anderson  A&R Exec/Radio Host
Raj Kapone  Marketing Exec
Elijah  Label Owner/DJ
Simon Reynolds  Author/Critic
Martin Clark  Label Owner/DJ

Honourable mentions: Jamal Edwards, Thembi Jozana, Hattie Collins, Danny Walker, Matt Mason, Styleslut, Lower End Spasm, KESH, Zezi Ifore, Tim & Barry, Kids Of Grime, Logan Sama, DJ Cameo, Cat Park, Channel U, Simon Wheatley, Jamie James Medina, Vector Meldrew, Will Robson-Scott, Cassette Playa, PWBC, BNTL, SUPERSUPER.