RESPECT. Interview: Sian Anderson Discusses Essential Grime Tracks and ’90s Hip-Hop

Sian Anderson - Grime

Vicky Grout

When it comes to being an expert of the UK grime scene, there’s no one quite like Sian Anderson. She’s a writer, a DJ and presenter with her own slot on radio station, BBC Radio 1Xtra, and also owns her own marketing and PR company, Sightracked. Anderson is an all around ambassador for grime music. The genre has garnered attention in the last year thanks to likes of Drake and Kanye West.

We grabbed some time with Sian Anderson to get to know her a little bit more whilst she gave us the lowdown on who and what’s hot in grime.

RESPECT.: As someone who does and has done so much in the music business from writing PR, DJaying what was always the first job role you wanted in the industry?

Writing was the first job role I wanted in the music industry because it was the first thing I knew for certain I was good at. I used to write short stories all the time and won a young writers short story competition when I was at school. I always knew I had a way with words and it felt great to have my words published and be able to tell a story to the masses.

RESPECT.: As a DJ on BBC’s Radio 1Xtra, what has become your method for making sure you are always ahead of the best music coming out?

I stay at street level. When I first heard about Giggs, Stormzy, Section Boyz, P Money, Capo Lee, AJ Tracey Novelist etc. it was because I was on the block with the mandem chilling. Listening to what they were listening too and then seeking more information on the artists myself. I feel like the only way to really stay plugged into what’s hot on the streets is to be on the streets listening.

RESPECT.: Who do you really RESPECT. and look up to in the music business?

Julie Adenuga, we’ve been best friends for longer than I can remember but her energy, integrity, work rate and ability to always make something out of nothing inspired me to do the same. Hyperfrank because she continued to champion grime music even when no one believed in it and Emma Warren because she dedicated her time to helping young people learn journalism and prosper in the music business. The main reason I respect them is because they never saw music as a business they just love it.

RESPECT.: If you had to recommend three tracks for someone to listen to as an introduction to grime, what would you pick and why?

Skepta’s Tim Westwood Freestyle, P Money’s “10/10 Remix,” Newham Generals’ “Hard.” For me they’re the elite of grime and they’re artists who manage to incorporate all the elements of grime into their tracks, reload bars, flows, stories. The whole shebang.

RESPECT.: We know you are a grime expert, but how much of a hip-hop fan are you as well? Who’s killing it for you right now?

I was the biggest hip-hop R&B fan when I was growing up but I’m stick in the 90’s era when it comes to hip-hop I really only care about old school Ja Rule, Cam’ron, Busta Rhymes, Juelz Santana, Ludacris and Eminem. I don’t really know what hip-hop is in 2016, Macklemore? Young Thug? Kanye? I don’t know.

RESPECT.: How much does the grime and hip-hop scenes differ for you? Do you think there are lessons that the genres can learn from each other?

I think they’re completely different scenes, the only similarities are they’re both rap styles and they both came from oppression. I think they did learn from each other already and that’s how trap came about. I feel like it’s grime and hip hop combined. Great combo to be honest.

RESPECT.: What would be your ideal grime-hip hop collaboration?

Solo 45 and Desiigner. The biggest grime song out mashed up with the biggest rap song out. They could make “Feed Em To The Pandas.” It would shut down every stage everywhere. It would probably get banned from clubs in the UK. The UK can’t handle that collaboration right now.

RESPECT.: What track/album have you been playing on repeat?

Flowdan’s “Horror Show Style” (Disaster Piece album) Skepta and Novelist’s “Lyrics” (Konnichiwa album) and Giggs featuring Aystar & Youngs Teflon’s – “The Best” (Landlord album). 

RESPECT.: Which grime artists in particular do you think can really conquer the US?

Skepta, Stormzy and AJ Tracey as they all have songs with rap styles, the kind of grime that I imagine a US audience can relate too.

RESPECT.: Do you have any plans to come out the US?

I WISH!!! Someone book me.

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