Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes and Elon Musk’s Baby Mum, never used to tell the press where her stage name came from. In early interviews, she would inform journalists that the moniker was inspired by Frank Grimes of the Simpsons; it was only a few years ago that the artist admitted this was completely false. The name actually derives from her obsession with MySpace, which first introduced Boucher to grime. In an interview with the Guardian, the songstress said she was “too embarrassed” to tell this story, but confessed “Dizzee [Rascal] is one of my all time favourite musicians”.
The likes of BBK, Roll Deep and Kano used MySpace to facilitate a community of musicians, who could all network and share tracks with one another. It became fertile for underground rap scenes, and grime capitalised. JME distributed the highly coveted Boy Better Know T-Shirts on there, creating competitions for people to win, and in doing so, fostering a tribalistic fanbase. The site also sheds light on the scene’s early days in Ayia Napa, where U.K. funky, garage and grime heads would flock every summer for raver resort holidays.
A lot of music was shared through MySpace too, but the platform lost over 50 million songs in the period of 2003-2015, including rare dubstep cuts from James Blake. It does, however, still have some rare photos of grime’s originators that you may not have seen before. From D Double to Skepta and Wiley to Kano, here are just a selection of our favourites.
JME and Tulisa - 2007
Whether you love or hate N-Dubz, their contribution to British music is unquestionable. Helped in part by Channel U, the infamous Black, British TV channel, the group’s hit filled discography will live on in the storage of IPods and ITunes libraries for years. This photo optimises their synergetic relationship with grime music, despite Lethal Bizzle beefing them many years ago.
Kano and Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Taken from Kano’s time working on the Africa Express project, this selfie sees the emcee chilling with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Contrary to what many may think, the artist was a prolific blogger on MySpace and Blogspot, uploading videos of his ping pong championships against the likes of Flea and Damon Albarn in Nigeria. Watch the full video here.
Tim Westwood, Skepta and Wiley
Not a lot needs to be said about this photo, but what is Wiley on? The rapper is completely out of it, failing to look down the camera lens and awkwardly throwing up a few fingers. It’s even odd that someone can make Tim Westwood look completely normal, but that's definitely the case here. Skepta’s greazing out hard on the right, donning a yellow BBK T-Shirt.
D Double E on a yellow bike
“Lyrical gears I got more than 6, I’m like an M6 on the M6” is just one of D Double’s various bike referencing bars. On an old Lord of the Decks tape, you can watch him geeking out about motors, which he regularly posted pictures of on MySpace. The wordsmith already has a legendary status in grime, and it’s photos like this that epitomise his popularity. The snap back, oakley sunglasses and buck tooth is a look in itself and the motorbike tops it off.
Skepta in his traditional Nigerian-wear
In this picture, Skeppie reps a Sufi hat and atiku top, whilst munching a tasty plate of jollof. He consistently references his Nigerian heritage in verses, and recently earned a chieftaincy in his Dad’s home state. The caption reads: ‘jollof, chicken, yam, salad and beans (moi moi) know your skin’. Read '7 of Skepta's most iconic fits' here.