Tracing the grime invasion of America

This documentary follows the journey of grime to SXSW in Texas to Stormzy’s first American show, featuring Skepta, Lil Simz, Ghetts and more

Bars passed outside Lewisham McDonald’s, reverberating through the concrete tower blocks of Bow and riding the pirate radio airwaves booming out of tiny back bedrooms in E15. Grime couldn’t come from anywhere else in the world, period. It’s unapologetically British, with its veterans and burgeoning stars alike now stomping into the US.

Taking Grime to the US is a collaborative effort between SBTV, Beats 1 and Crowdmix; a film following the journey of Skepta, Stormzy, Lil Simz, Lethal Bizzle and more as they take over Texas’ SXSW.

The American audience had its first taste of grime from Drake’s lyrical and social media call outs to grime collective Boy Better Know, as well as Kanye’s Brit Awards performance of “All Day”, backed up by the tastemakers in London’s scene. But now, it's the UK artists taking the wheel.

Speaking in the doc, Jumanji explains: “Skepta came in last year and smashed them, you got people hanging from the rafters and kids losing their minds for people you didn’t even realise knew what grime was. It was an audience that was hidden here.”

With thousands of miles separating London and Texas, music is the perfect medium to communicate the cultures back and forth. Though turns of phrase and shout outs to particular postcodes may go over the heads of some of their international audience, clarity isn't the priority. According to grime crew The Square: “I don’t think they have to understand it. We don’t understand what Young Thug says, but we still vibe.” 

The documentary dips into the standout moments of Stormzy’s first American show, while also checking in with Ghetts and other younger stars on the brink of their hemispherical takeover. Speaking of Skepta’s escalating international success, Lethal Bizzle comments: “He's got the world watching grime”, and long may people from all over the world continue to lock in.