Risky Roadz: Behind The Videos That Shaped Grime

The legendary DVD series was instrumental in galvanising the scene...

Few documentarians are as much a part of the world they’re recording, as they are a part of documenting it. Standing on both sides of the lens.

Roony Keefe, however, is just that. His legendary DVD series Risky Roadz helped kickstart the careers of countless MCs in the early days of grime and galvanised the budding scene’s visual aesthetic, in a time before YouTube and Instagram.

This didn’t come out of a business plan; Risky Roadz came out of Roony’s genuine love for the music and a fan-boy like enthusiasm for what people around him were creating.

The series of films – which at first were shot on a camera Roony’s nan lent him the money to buy – showcased grime's main players, spitting bars and answering questions that hungry fans were desperate to get answers to.

The MCs Roony caught on film in the scene’s heyday now read like a who’s who of grime, including Skepta, D Double E, Kano, Lethal B, Ghetts, Wiley, Chipmunk and JME, and crews like Pay As U Go Cartel and Nasty Crew.

He was able to get these big names because he was living and working at the centre of grime: Rhythm Division in London's Bethnal Green. DJing old school garage while he was still at school, Roony was a regular at his local record store, and while crate digging he’d hear Slimzee and Marcus Nasty drop tunes, igniting his love of the new sound – grime.

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