East London to the World: Grime around the Planet

One of the UK’s biggest cultural exports of this century, grime has transformed from a hyper-localised East London sound to a worldwide phenomenon in under two decades. The music that began in an overlooked council estate in Bow has spawned an entire international culture.

When Kanye West took to the stage at the 2015 Brit Awards, flanked by a posse that included Skepta, Jammer, Shorty and Krept and Konan amongst others, it was a watershed moment for grime on an international scale. A co-sign from one of the world’s biggest artists at the time meant something, even if only symbolically.

Though grime might not have had the same impact stateside as elsewhere, we’ve watched as MCs, producers and DJs around the world have been swept up by the grime wave. Here, the regular grime collaborators at King Apparel take a look at the grime scenes around the world, some of the best artists in question, and what makes the nation’s culture unique.


‘Brime’ – Brazilian grime – is something serious. It’s not a combination that should work; grime is notoriously cold (highlighted by track names like eskimo, snowman, snowball, snowflake and igloo) but the combo of classic grime, modern drill and baile funk just clicks.

Brazil’s take on grime incorporates the music, sound and lifestyle of life in the favelas – artists like Leall, Fleezus and SD9 spin gritty tales of pain and struggle in the nation’s capital over polished production that often takes cues from other UK genres like jungle and 2-step garage.



Another country with a popping grime scene is Italy. The nation’s underground drill and grime scenes have both been bubbling away, with MCs from across the country building success from the ground up.

Streetwise Italian YouTube channels like GRIME IT have given a platform to artists like Yodaman, Ganji Killah and Ninjaz MC, whilst Verona-via-Leeds freestyler Blackson has built a cult following by touching mic and switching between Italian and English with ease.

Ganji Killah
Ganji Killah


Flying the flag for Australian grime, Fraksha is the nation’s foremost proponent of the genre – a British expat, he formed Smash Brothers, the first grime crew down under. After dropping their seminal Aussie mixtape, It’s Just Bars, Smash Brothers have helped cultivate a scene that’s spread from their ends in Melbourne to Sydney and beyond.

The locals didn’t get it at first, but from humble beginnings, the Australian scene has begun to take on a life of its own. MCs like Nerve & Wombat, Alex Jones, HAZRD and Diem have jumped on the mic to spit some Aussie flavas, and there’s plenty to be excited about down under.


Unlike some of the other hubs on the world map, Japan was on the scene from early. Way back in 2003, when the UK scene itself was just starting to bubble, a group of MCs and producers in Osaka began to take matters in their own hands. It was, according to Mixmag, Roll Deep’s legendary Rules and Regulations mixtape that had the Japanese crews up in arms.

The best-known figure in the modern scene is

, who was co-signed by Stormzy. Demand for the genre has become so high that the country regularly sees tour appearances from established UK stars like Giggs, Skepta and Stormzy.


A little closer to home, grime in Scotland has continued to spread. It’s not a new phenomenon; in Glasgow, the Levels Syndicate have been doing their thing for a decade plus, and Scottish grime was thrust into the limelight further in 2016 when Paisley MC Shogun’s freestyle “Vulcan” went viral.

Platforms like Twelve 50 have given budding Scottish MCs a chance to shine, and there’s been less of the postcode wars that hampered the original London scene. There’s a definite national pride amongst all Scottish grime artists, and that classic Scottish patter is on full show.

Shogun MC
Shogun MC

Grime Worldwide

A key figure in archiving and preserving freestyles and clashes from grime’s early days, unofficial scene documentarian RiskyRoadz has done more than his part in exporting the music to the rest of the planet.

His Grime Worldwide series on YouTube has him traveling the world, shining a torch on the coldest MCs from around the world – Japan, New Zealand, Belarus, the Czech Republic and more. With other platforms like International Grime following suit, there’s no shortage of guys who are nice on the mic – work hard and you can make it, wherever you’re from.

Check out the full international grime feature now!

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