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UD Low Down: Fore The Culture @ Peckham Audio

On Thursday 16th November, Peckham Audio opened its doors to Grime fans, MCs and DJs for a night of the filthiest clashes and cyphers at 140bpm. Promoter and FORE founder, Jordan Hall, breaks down the night – and his process…

Jordan Hall

FORE The culture does exactly what it says in the title; a night of musical talent, impeccable vibes, and creatives of all types, coming together in love for the culture – grime culture. The idea to celebrate the genre came from a brief provided by adidas x GUAP through their Originals Creator Network (which I’m part of). The theme was “Rebel to Revolutionise”. Immediately my mind went to grime, and how it birthed a culture of rebellion, leading a generation to overcome the barriers of the music industry, and ultimately revolutionising the resources emerging artists didn’t previously have access to.

I think most people – if not everyone – would agree that grime is best heard in person over a mic and two decks rather than on a studio album, so I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate the golden age of the grime scene and give this generation of upcoming talent a taste of the cyphers, clashes and live events previous generations were used to.

First, I took social media to get in contact with any and everyone who was either involved in or had ties to grime or grime culture. As my DMs flooded with messages, I started compiling a list of artists, DJs, and even fans of the scene to start developing the idea and shortlisting talent for the night. Working closely with Scotty Inside from (Always Inside Group), we structured the event concept, reaching out to artists, scouting venues and finalising details. Through Scotty’s network, we landed on a line-up of Grime OGs, such as Manga Saint Hilaire, as well as this generation’s newest and hottest grime talent.

One of the hurdles we encountered early on was finding talent for the clash. Due to the widespread visibility and exposure that comes from social media, it was almost impossible to find grime artists who were up for clashing each other. In the past, clashes would mostly be held on pirate radio stations. If you were bodied, it would only be heard by a couple of hundred people and spread through word of mouth. Today, if you get bodied in a clash, it’s on the internet for everyone to see and that can damage your reputation as an artist, so fewer are doing it. In today’s musical environment, you’re expected to be a fully polished artist whose credibility is driven by streams and record sales, whereas back in the day, credibility came from how you fared in the clash. Big up PenGame Rap Battle, though. There’s still a space for artists to have healthy competition, which is where we found Skamz and WhoIsOrion, our artists for the clash.

adidas and GUAP provided a £500 budget, which just about covered the cost of the venue, Peckham Audio, best known for its cramped and dimly-lit space, not unlike that of the lowkey venues that housed the early grime event. As you can imagine, pulling a whole event together on a shoe-string budget of £500 wasn’t easy but, thankfully, through leveraging ticket sales, calling in favours, and with the help or a strong support network, we pulled together what could ultimately end up being a sick event concept that I may look to make a more regular thing for 2024.

Once the venue was booked and artists were secured, I put the event up on Eventbrite, FORE’s Instagram, and shared the poster through paid ads. While ticket sales were coming in I assembled a team of content creators, from photographers to videographers, as the event itself is part of a larger documentary, so it was important that it was captured in as authentic a way as possible. This is also why we handed out disposable cameras to attendees on the night, having them capture the event through their eyes.

On the night of the event, people travelled from all over London, gun-fingers loaded, and it was beautiful to see there’s still such a demand for the genre. The clash popped off, the DJs kept everyone on their feet, and the cypher at the end was pure filth. WhoIsOrion won the clash, winning a free studio session, courtesy of UD, as well as a £100 adidas gift card and a FORE care package.

At some point in the evening, half the MCs on stage weren’t even artists I’d booked; in true grime fashion, artists were bouncing off of one another, grabbing the mic when they could. They all held their own, going bar-for-bar, and it felt like watching a pirate radio set live on stage.

Drinks were flowing, disposable cameras were flashing, and if the audience wasn’t bumping to the sounds of new and old grime tracks, they were having conversations on the side about the ways the genre had shaped them and what they hoped the future of grime would look like.

The feedback has been overwhelming, so we might have to run it back for those who weren’t able to make it to the first one. They say grime is dead, but it’s clear we’re proving otherwise.

WANT TO SEE MORE? COME TO THE ORIGINALS CREATOR NETWORK EXHIBITION, 16TH DECEMBER 2023. RSVP HERE.

Words: Jordan Hall

Jordan is a multi-disciplinary creative and brand owner. Combining his experience in creative direction, graphic design, branding, photography & video production and product design with his interests in fashion, music, art and contemporary culture to found the community focused clothing/lifestyle brand FORE.

FORE is a multi-media lifestyle brand that seamlessly fuses fashion, art, music and culture. Focusing on community and creative collaboration, FORE creates informed works ranging from clothing and lifestyle products to music videos and live events. Acting as a focal point for creative collaboration, the brand aims to provide infrastructure to creatives looking to refine their skills, gain experience and/or bring an idea or product to life. 

Photography: Joey Hoang

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