Earlier this month, a photo of President Obama in an Adidas tracksuit started making the rounds on the internet, officially achieving meme status when it was tagged with the phrase "listens to Skepta once." It was a testament not just to the grime legend and the style culture he helped define, but to how the genre has now fully entered the mainstream. While Stateside many only started diving into grime over the past year or two — thanks in part to Drake, who signed to Skepta's UK label, Boy Better Know, in February — the scene has been making noise across the pond in London for almost a full decade and a half.
"This Is Grime," then, comes at the perfect time: Out this month, the scene's first-ever oral history traces the subculture all the way back to the music the grime MC Jammer listened to the day after he was born. That detail comes from his parents, who are just some of the many producers, songwriters, photographers, and journalists embedded in the scene that were interviewed by Hattie Collins, a writer who has spent over a decade covering grime. And while the big names are present and accounted for — JME, Wiley, Footsie, Tinie Tempah — the book also highlights those behind the scenes and lesser-known stars like Mizz Beats. Get to know them all with the accompanying portraits photographer Olivia Rose took all over London, here.