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13/03/2015

Open Mic

Blacked out windows, leaning back

As much as music is important to the GRIN team; As a creative bunch, we’re also into loads of the surrounding culture that is associated with the respective genres we listen to. This might be fashion, visuals or the history that’s driven each genre to where it is today. For me, listening to hip-hop has meant an appreciation of all three but also some of the other sub-genres it’s subsequently spawned:  Grime being one of them. Grime has taken some of the essential elements of hip-hop and re-appropriated them, making them its own, with its own set of heroes, villains and folklore. Thankfully, Ewan Spencer was there to capture it all.

Ewan Spencer is a documentary photographer who was in the right place at the right time to capture the emergence of Grime in the East End of London. This was while it was still underground (and long before Skepta was sharing the stage with Kanye West). Spencer’s ability to provide an insight into this world is now available for all to see in his two books Open Mic and Open Mic Vol. 2. These books go a long way to physically visualise what the music itself was saying. They feature some of the key people involved at the time but more than that, they capture the atmosphere and emotion the music provokes in the listener.

This is documentary photography at its best.

Open mic cover

open mic inside cover

open mic spread

Also, here is a great 20 minute documentary Ewan Spencer produced for Dazed Digital with Channel 4 about the birth of Grime: