Way back in 2004, Lethal Bizzle jumped on Dexplicit’s Forward riddim with the lights of grime’s then still rising global status. “Pow,” the resulting track was one of the songs included in every non-UK journalist and blogger’s list of essential grime songs at the time and stands up as one of the genre’s epochal free-for-alls, a raw and crowded recording that at least somewhat mimicked its roots in live pirate radio freestyles. One of the next wave of grime MCs to follow was a slight fellow named Tinchy Stryder, who as teenager managed to get himself on songs with elder statesmen like Wiley and Dizzee Rascal. In the seven years since, grime has faded into relative irrelevance, Dizzee Rascal has gone from DIY Gameboy beats to Shakira collaborations, Wiley has barely changed at all (in an incredible way) and likkle Tinchy has become one of the most popular artists in the UK, scoring a #1 hit with “Number 1.” A few weeks ago, Tinchy released his own 2010 version of “Pow” with an odd roster of legit UK rappers and a couple more pop-inclined guys who rap as a matter of fact. Hardly as a response, but here at the same time nonetheless, is good ol’ Lethal Bizzle’s update of “Pow” with a respectable lineup for modern times (Look, there’s Wiley) over essentially the same beat. More than anything, both songs remind us how awesome and vital grime sounded when we first heard it, and the constant discussions of whether any of these dudes would ever make any money or get deals. We don’t remember anyone picking Stryder to be the one who’d make it, but here he is.
Lethal Bizzle f. JME, Wiley, 2Face, Ghetto, P Money, Chipmunk & Kano, “Pow 2011″
Tinchy Stryder f. Giggs, Professor Green, Tinie Tempah, Devlin, Example & Chipmunk, “Game Over”
For more images of grime in its heyday (including the one above of young Tinchy), check photographer Ewen Spencer’s Open Mic portfolio, some of which was published in The FADER.