Grime is riot music. But as England burns, reactionaries who try to blame music for the violence have the cause and effect backwards. Grime is vicious because youth life in poor boroughs is vicious, not the other way around. That’s why grime has an energy and urgency like nothing else.
Fittingly, the latest entry in the Keep Watch series is Mishka’s first grime mix. Curated by East London producer Spooky, the mix is an unrelenting mix that captures the spirit of the resurgent sound. Spooky (not to be confused with the house duo or trip hop DJ of the same name) started DJing at 13, breaking out in 2006 when his bashment riddim “Joyride” became a surprise grime hit.
Since then, he’s produced and remixed tunes for a grime who’s-who that includes Slew Dem, OG’s, Skepta, Kele Le Roc, Family Tree, Teddy, Rude Kid, Infared, Brick & Lace and Mark Morrison. In addition to playing gigs all over London, he holds down three weekly radio shows and runs his Ghost House label. In 2010, Spooky scored another grime hit, the “300”-quoting “Spartan,” a banger reminiscent of those by Alias and J-Sweet. He’s also released tracks on the label that’s spearheading the grime renaissance, Oil Gang Records.
For his Keep Watch mix, Spooky lives up to his name, kicking off with a refix of Faze Miyake’s “Take Off” and never looking back. For nearly an hour, Spooky drops sawtooth bass, rumbling beats and verses from grime heavyeights P-Money, Blacks, Tempa T and D Double E with a turntablist’s touch. In the UK, grime is the soundtrack this week. And when the riots end, Spooky will keep starting fires.