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Inside Jammer’s basement
Photograph: Museum of London

A new exhibition about grime music is coming to the Museum of London

‘Grime Stories’ will be on display from June 17

Written by
Chiara Wilkinson
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Grime music is (still) everywhere in London these days. It’s blasting from cars cruising down Kingsland High Street and hiding in voice notes on teenagers’ phones. It’s the soundtrack to blockbuster video games and influenced the finale of the 2022 Brit Awards. 

In celebration of the grime’s massive popularity and its east London DIY roots, it’s now the subject of a new, free exhibition opening in the capital this June. 

Taking place at the Museum of London, ‘Grime Stories: From the Corner to the Mainstream’ has been co-curated by Roony ‘Risky’ Keefe, one of grime’s early documentarians. From early 2000s record shops and pirate radio stations, to the commercial success of Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Boy in da Corner’, the exhibition explores how the scene has changed in the past 20 years and what its future may hold. 

Genuinely, this show looks pretty cool. In addition to a series of commissioned films exploring the early grime community, it will feature personal artefacts central to the genre’s emergence. There’ll be an installation of the keyboard used to produce Skepta’s ‘That’s Not Me’, a nod to the Leytonstone basement of rapper Jammer, and a newly commissioned illustration from artist Willkay, depicting the changing face of east London. 

‘The global success of the scene could not have been achieved without the social and physical infrastructure underpinning grime music,’ says Dhelia Snoussi, the Museum of London’s youth culture curator. ‘By homing in on significant landmarks that nurtured the music, “Grime Stories” explores the relationship between sound and place and questions what the sonic consequences of urban gentrification might be for music in east London.’

‘Grime Stories’ will be the last exhibition on display at the Museum of London before it closes for four years, moving from its current home on the Barbican Estate to reopen at West Smithfield in Farringdon in 2026. To mark the museum’s new chapter, it will be renamed the ‘London Museum’. Imaginative stuff.  

‘Grime Stories: From the Corner to the Mainstream’ is at the Museum of London, Jun 17-Dec. Free.

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