Created by Frisco in 2015, The Den – a live showcase of up and coming artists in the grime scene – turned eight last Friday.
The Den turned eight on the 13th of January after being created by Frisco, a prominent member of Grime MC collective Boy Better Know. The showcase aims to amplify new, groundbreaking artists in the grime scene. Tonight’s lineup consisted of emerging young talent like BXKS and INFAMOUSIZAK to Grime legends like Jammer and Frisco himself.
DJ Sir Corey opened up the event at Fabric (which is a maze to navigate, btw), playing a range of tunes from grime greats like Kano and Giggs to trap songs by the likes of Rae Sremmurd and Travis Scott as people started to fill into the room and smoke started to gush through the machines. He ran through some Skepta classics from 2016, making me feel like I was in college again.
All of a sudden there was a loud klaxon noise that filled the room. Frisco emerged with his gritty and slick cadence as the crowd started to jump. Maximum hopped behind the decks. A slew of people came out from backstage to watch him do what he does best. “When I say Boy Better, you say Know!” He created a back and forth between the crowd like a game of tennis.
BXCKS might be small but boy can she spit. Performing ‘Packed In’, the only female MC on the lineup knocked it out of the park. The crowd embraced her energy as she bounced on stage spitting bars while wearing a t-shirt that said “I love my girlfriend so please stay away from me.”
When Dapz on the Map jumped on the mic, the beat got nasty. The lights were flashing hard enough to give someone epilepsy. The crowd started getting jumpy, receiving and matching Dapz’s energy as he bopped from one side of the stage to the other.
Jammer definitely won the award for best dressed, he was wearing a red suit and shades. Red lasers beamed down into the audience, matching his attire. As he bent down a little while spitting, the lights flashed on either side of his face, it’d be alternating between half shadow and half lit up.
INFAMOUSIZAK took to the stage next. He’s setting the tone for the next generation of UK Rap, his music is out of the box yet still able to slot right in on the lineup. He’d later be joined on stage by Frisco for the banger, ‘Bad & Clean’.
Each artist would perform one song, they would take it in turns performing their hits and collaborations. The crowd would warm to them even more each time they reappeared on stage.
Seeing Sir Spyro spin live was extraordinary. He bridged the gap between grime and dancehall. The “Sounds of the Surf” sounded the room as ‘Topper Top’ featuring Teddy Bruckshot began to play and the crowd went feral. Another song that got wheeled up was Lethal Bizzle’s ‘POW’, as everyone shouted the name of the song on the beat.
More MCs gathered on the stage, passing the mic to one another and spitting at all speeds. It was like watching a cypher live in the flesh. Frisco would drop in his iconic verses from time to time as the crowd rapped along with him. Sir Spyro just kept running the riddims, wheeling it up when the hardest of freestyles exploded into the mics. Rapid flows from the MCs (there were way too many on stage to name them all) wowed the crowd, it was an experience full of enjoyment but a lot of us were just in sheer awe. Discarda and sbk had everyone pointing gun fingers in excitement.
Notably, Flowdan performed ‘Rumble’, his new collaboration with Skrillex and Fred Again…, in the middle of the freestyles. Having had that song on repeat recently, that truly made my night.
The eigth anniversary was such a glorious occasion. I’ll even go as far as to say it was one of the best nights of my entire life, and I don’t say that lightly. Frisco has done an excellent job of keeping the Grime community alive. The lineup he curated sheds a light on new faces in UK rap and while they may not make typical grime music, their flows and cadences definitely feel inspired by the greats, legends and godfathers that came before them.