Dan Hancox, author of Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime, tells the rise of a hyper-local East London sound into a global phenomenon with a passion that you can feel.
Tracing the story of grime over the last 20 years, Hancox will draw in any reader with his pure love of the music.
The story starts on an infamous council estate in Bow E3 with a group of young, disheartened men. At the time, little did they know some among them would come to define a movement and represent an entire generation of London’s youth.
Hancox’s life experience, studying history at Oxford, couldn’t be more different to the lives of the men he chronicles, but from the off, he has championed grime as a genre and as a movement. He was one of the first to see grime’s political important during the riots of 2011 and again in the #grimeforcorbyn movement of 2016.
The importance grime has had as so much more than a type of music is represented well by Hancox – he not only writes about music, but politics, gentrification, social exclusion, protest and the margins of urban life, all of which are touched on and represented by grime.
The emotion that is present in Hancox’s writing creates an emotional reaction that is hard to ignore – while reading, it’s hard not to feel anger at the ineqaulity and political situation in London, and the UK in general.
While charting the rise of Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Tynchy Stryder, amongst many others, Hancox notes the huge changes in an entire area of a city; the development of Canary Wharf alongside the demolition of council blocks where so many of the Bow E3 grime artists grew up.
Today, grime has acceptance in London, other parts of the UK and more and more, all over the world. Hancox charts this change well and explains the societal contexts that led to grime. His writing makes grime accessible, and likens it to the punk movement of the 1970s and 1980s – a music movement that goes against the system.
Hancox writes impeccably about a subject that truly deserves it – we can’t recommend this book highly enough.
If you like this, you might like our review of Melanie McGrath’s Pie & Mash.
Inner City Pressure is available to buy here.