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Everything you need to know about Boy Better Know’s O2 takeover

Oliver Keens

The best of London's grime scene will be under one roof when Boy Better Know take over the O2 on August 27. Here's what to expect at the all-day festival...

Rock up for London’s lyrical legends.

Obviously the stars of the show are London’s Boy Better Know – the all-conquering grime syndicate formed of Solo 45, Frisco, Jammer, Shorty and DJ Maximum, and brothers Jme and Skepta. Excitingly, in a repeat of their Glastonbury slot earlier this year, founder member Wiley is also billed for their headline set here too. But BBK are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of lyrical legends. Expect pandemonium for J Hus – a quintessential under-the-radar London star whose Gambian heritage and Stratford upbringing coalesce into some of the most exciting music to come out of London in years. There’s more lyrical fire to soak up from Ghetts and Chip and murky masked master Casisdead, plus the more melodic tones of Donae’o, Ms Banks and up-comer Mabel.

Get raved by the city’s best selectors. 

On the tunes side of things, this takeover’s got shedloads of clout. Tim Westwood has been the ever-present midwife to the UK rap scene since the ’80s, and there’s still shitloads of life in the big dawg yet. Six-legged grime and garage DJ supergroup TQD (aka Royal-T, DJ Q and Flava D) are also on board, plus it wouldn’t be a proper grime rave without the insane dubs collection of Rinse FM co-founder Slimzee. There’ll also be sets from producers and DJs like Plastician and, all the way from Brum, Preditah.

And enjoy some honorary Londoners too!

Okay, so while most of this groundbreaking line-up is London born and bred, there’s a few pretty important (and welcome) exceptions. A$AP Rocky is a major get for BBK’s takeover. The exceptionally fly, Harlem-born rapper has actually spent a decent amount of time living in London – hanging out with Skepta, going to the Brick Lane bagel shop and using slang like ‘bare tings’ on Snapchat while also maybe living in a house in Mayfair. Less swaggy, but maybe more influential, is American house producer Todd Edwards, whose utterly unique method of chopping up samples set the template for garage in the ’90s. And finally London’s mandem and galdem, bow down to French MC, MHD. The super sharp Parisian rhymer has played London twice this year, and both times blew everyone away with a polished, energy-packed show that made other MCs on the bill look frankly amateur. Pity any MC who has to go on after him, ooh la la!


There's also going to be a Nike-sponsored football pitch and skatepark outside the main O2 entrance. Radar FM will be hosting proceedings, which includes an exhibition match between Boy Better Know and YouTube stars The Sidemen, between 2pm-8pm – and activities will be available to ticket holders throughout the day. There's also a gaming area upstairs at Indig02, brought in association with Activision, where gamers will get a first chance to play Call of Duty: WWII.


Boy Better Know Takeover is on Aug 27 at the O2 Arena.

Get the lowdown with our brief history of grime.

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