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The 10 Best Grime Pirate Radio Sets

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Most of the grime-famed talent we have today, they exercised their skills through the pirate radio circuit. From chart-toppers Dizzee Rascal and Wiley through to I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here contestant, Tinchy Stryder—they've all been there, done that. Growing up, many of us grime fanatics would rush to our tape decks to record and relive the drama, dubplates, and clashes heard through the fuzzy FM dial, and while there have been countless golden moments throughout the years, Complex has picked out the ten best pirate radio sets of a specific era in grime—the golden age, if you will. So click through below, and relive some of the most memorable times in British underground music history.
 
Words by Laura 'Hyperfrank' Brosnan (@Hyperfrank)
 
Rinse FM: DJ Slimzee, Dizzee Rascal, Wiley & God's Gift (2002)

 

This is just pure gold! Slimzee draws for "dark garage" instrumentals as Dizzee and Wiley unite lyrical energies and flow smooth like silk. God's Gift, Breeze, Flow Dan and Jamakabi contribute to this emotional set, too, but these former friends in grime take it to whole other level. Is there any hope in Dizzee and Wiley reuniting? Probably not. But after hearing this classic set, it does bring a sly tear to one's eye.

 

 

Deja Vu FM: Roll Deep B2B N.A.S.TY Crew (2002/2003)

 

Despite it saying 2001 on YouTube, this set was probably late 2002/early 2003, and when this hype session aired on Deja Vu FM, N.A.S.T.Y Crew and Roll Deep were the biggest crews in the East End of London. Some of the best talent to come from the grime scene are present here too: D Double E, Wiley, Flow Dan, Stormin, Scratchy, Sharky Major, Hyper, Monkstar (Monkey) and a young Tinchy Stryder all feature, with DJ Mak 10 going back-to-back with DJ Carnage and selecting some of the finest early grime riddims—like "Hoe", "Eskimo VIP" and "Creeper"—for one whole hour of captivating styles and flows. 
 

 

Choice FM: Dizzee Rascal Vs. Asher D (2002)

 

Okay, so, technically, this isn't a pirate radio set, but it's an event in radio history that we had to throw in. The controversial session happened on Commader B's late night show, with Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Asher D, Megaman, Skat D, Swiss and Akira. From 8 minutes in, Dizzee starts his acapella antics and the rest is history!

 


Deja Vu FM: Jammer's Birthday Set (2004)

 

Imagine the energy in the room with DJ Mak 10 on decks and Nasty Crew's Hyper, Kano and D Double E all passing the mic... A standout from this set is hearing the late Esco, a young Dizzee Rascal and an angry Crazy Titch show of their lyrical skills back-to-back-to-back (4:00). Another is when D Double E steps up completely devours the riddim (12:15). To pick more highlights from a set where Wiley, God's Gift, Slew Dem, Titch and D Double E all feature, well, we'd be here forever! Listen and absorb the beauty of this classic set above.

 

 

 

Freeze FM: Bashy's Birthday Set (2004)

 

In the first two minutes, Discarda explodes through the FM dial and even manages to big up Terry from the pet shop in the process. This set's highlight is just past 13 minutes, when Wiley discusses his beef at the time with 2 Tuff Crew's Babycham. But then the set goes quiet for a few minutes due to overcrowding and some politics, all before birthday boy Bashy takes centre stage to drop some serious metaphors and similes (18:30). D Double E and Lethal B also create perfect nostalgic gun finger moments with their quick-fire slogans.

 

 

 

Post up your best sets.

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Deja Vu FM: Meridian Crew (2004)

 

Boy Better Know and Bloodline were once collectively known as Meridian Crew, and before Meridian Dan, Skepta and JME had chart hits, they were all travelling from Tottenham to Bow to jump on pirate radio. This specific set is one of their most memorable, with fellow members Big H, Frisco and Prez T also there to sonically slay. You know, it's kinda refreshing to hear Meridian all together, as recently there have been issues that have separated them. It's also easy to forget that Skepta started out as a DJ and is now one of the UK's most-loved MCs... Is Skepta the Kanye of grime, or are we just gassed from this set?

 

 

 

Deja Vu FM: DJ Mac 10, N.A.S.T.Y Crew & Guests (2004)

 

This Nasty Crew set begins with Kano and Sadie Ama's "Brown Eyes", but don't be fooled—what awaits will knock you out of your huaraches! This set features so many great moments from Sharky Major and Hyper, and Stormin's viper flow really helps bring everything together, but it's Kano and Ghetto who really light things up. Ghetts, Justin Clarke, Ghetto or whatever you want to call him, he is one of the main reasons this set was even chosen. From the 13-minute mark, you can hear the excitement in his voice for what is about to happen. Ghetts sets up the energy with his "f*ck your bad boy image" line (17:50), then Stormin surfs the wave for a hot minute before Kano goes into his legendary bars aimed at Flirta D: "Ghetto embarrassed you on the stage and I haven't seen nothing like that since '8 Mile'." Jackum!

 

 

 

Axe FM: Skepta Slewing (2005)

 

While we could only hunt down this 2-minute clip of Skepta showering down North London's Axe FM, it was one of the first times the Boy Better Know MC sent war vibes over the airwaves. Here, Skepta takes swipes at Sniper E's interesting nose piercing, and the line "your video looked like a video from Fitness First" will always get laughs. Double O from East Connection and Ryder are also on the hit-list, but that's all before Joseph Junior Adenuga sprays his notorious "go on then!" bars.

 

 

 

Rinse FM: Slew Dem Crew Boxing Day Special (2006)

 

"Shots on deeemmm!" screams out Chronik, and you better get ready to receive the marathon of blazing bars. G Man hits the air 12 minutes in, then Tempa T lets the shots off with the same energy he displayed in his legendary Risky Roadz freestyle (21:00). And the whole the set is packed full of Waifer and Spooky productions: Spooky's "Joyride" gets a significant wheel at (25:00), and it's also interesting to hear G, Chronik and Tempz spitting aggy content over some calm, reggae-influenced beats too (31:00).

 

 

 

Rinse FM: DJ Maximum & Wiley (2006)

 

DJ Maximum spins, while Wiley hosts and sends shots for God's Gift (and Lethal B, and The Movement) at any given opportunity. 50 minutes in, they both get down to set business, but when God's Gift turns up at Rinse HQ (1:10:00), all we hear in the distance is muffled vocab that sound-out anger and distress. Listeners felt like they were live in the war!

 

 

Post up your best sets.

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when you locked onto 92.4 and rinse was 100.3 you know those where the days

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manni D bday set where  cas came out of nowhere and got wheeled in the first 8 bars

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My opinion is clearly biased

But without stating the obvious

How can there be no roadside and no cold blooded sets on there?

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My opinion is clearly biased

But without stating the obvious

How can there be no roadside and no cold blooded sets on there?

 

from what i remember of hyerfrank she was the original hipster super groupy that made BBK what it is now

 

a revisionist history as i mentioned before

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Manic Fm 05 Pimpstar, Sheist & Skrapsta. Need to search my external for that.

 

Any Raw FM rinseout or Professional set. Will up some to show people the levels.

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Manic Fm 05 Pimpstar, Sheist & Skrapsta. Need to search my external for that.

Any Raw FM rinseout or Professional set. Will up some to show people the levels.

Bro I will PayPal you £10 when you up that first set.

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My opinion is clearly biased

But without stating the obvious

How can there be no roadside and no cold blooded sets on there?

 

:o  :o  :o  :o

 

 

GOD KNOWS

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Manic Fm 05 Pimpstar, Sheist & Skrapsta. Need to search my external for that.

Any Raw FM rinseout or Professional set. Will up some to show people the levels.

Bro I will PayPal you £10 when you up that first set.

 

 

Pissed can't find it. Will have to dig deeper. Found a next one Blacks, Ribz, Flirta, Wariko, Pimpstar & Skrapsta.

 

/

 

Was a next bedroom set with Skrapz & Shiest spitting each others bars. Trapstar you got any of them old tapes?

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My opinion is clearly biased

But without stating the obvious

How can there be no roadside and no cold blooded sets on there?

 

from what i remember of hyerfrank she was the original hipster super groupy that made BBK what it is now

 

a revisionist history as i mentioned before

 

didnt she used to be on tim on barry ?

remember first seeing her doing grime interviews on utube in like 09 n bein like  :/

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Whats that video where two MC were battling and one lost is cool  on pirate radio. Held the other guy in a choke hold. 

 

I remember him saying ' You tryna take me for a d*ck head bruv'

 

It was posted on here a few times.  I think one of the the MCs name was Blade. 

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lool yh remember that n then the other guy gets shook of the blade guy init

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2:00 when blades bredrins tryna hold him back  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:

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Posd

 

Been looking for this footage for a minute

:lmao:

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Untitled Vs Disturbed Blade  :rofl:

 

Untitled must of still been gassed from the clash when he put the bin on that brehs head

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The best sets are not available on the webz I got them on tape somewhere, need to dig them out still

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No young man standing? 

 

or prime boyz in the hood?

 

or just Titch in general?

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Ahh that young man standing set with everyone on it >>>

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Chipmunk vs Griminal 

 

I made history with this 1 :)

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