Where would grime be without radio? The old pirate stations provided an early circuit for the would be stars of the genre to get their voices heard, a conduit for moments that would become etched in the history books for eternity to come. Jammer’s birthday, Fuck Radio and The War Report are just three moments picked out from grime’s storied history – and guess what? They all happened over the airwaves. Nowadays, the landscape has changed. It’s no secret that artists prefer to release tracks, albums and EP’s, acutely packaging their music to pinpoint their core fan bases. Seemingly, any discussion of the state of grime music will end up with the format getting a battering, as some people think radio is dead, and it better for artists to focus on nailing their recorded output and putting it out to the world in a specific way. I don’t think radio is particularly dead. Think about it: if you’re an up and coming MC, artist or DJ, the airwaves are a perfect place to hone your craft in the early stages, making mistakes on a platform that won’t batter you for a duff bar or mix. Breath control, mixing prowess and projection are an important part of an artists arsenal, whether you’re behind the decks or on the mic, so radio can be the training platform to develop core skills that will stay with as an artist even on the biggest of stages.

From a fan point of view, it’s the interactivity. Case in point: Wiley passed through Rinse FM the other week, for the first hour you got the man himself alongside Flowdan and others, and the last hour had a handful of MCs new and established going at it on the mic. Wiley, Flowdan, Gods Gift and a few others were the only ones advertised on the socials, the rest were a nice surprise. Sometimes it’s the presenter, some of A.G’s best grime show’s on Rinse were the best because of the curation and tunes, but because of the banter and jokes from the MCs and DJ, turning an otherwise nondescript night after work into a night of good music and entertainment. It’s also community, radio as a format brings people together, creating interactions between artists that might not have happened otherwise. The radio boom of 2015 is credited with bringing grime back into relevance, and all the MCs central to that movement have openly spoken about how radio brought them together.

Anyway, enough of my thoughts. Someone who clearly thinks radio is important is Risko, he’s spent the last eight months developing an app called ‘Radio Cult’, and I was lucky enough to get on the BETA version and see what it was all about. The app is part of the Reload Cult family, and aims to compile all your grime radio needs into a one stop app that lets you stream stations on the go from any place. The interface of the app is clean, with the home page allowing you to view which DJs are live right now, also offering a menu to house all your favourite stations, which can be done simply by holding down on the name of a station. The stations in question are further below, and there are forty two to chose from at any one time. The app doesn’t just limit listening to the UK, either. There are stations from Japan to Brazil, so anyone who wants to find out what is going on when it comes to international underground music can do so with the click of a button.

There is a drop down menu which is accessible from the top left corner of the homepage which brings up schedules, artists, a chat room, settings and a general information page. The schedules section allows you to look at what’s on, while the artists section comes allows you to read short bios of literally everyone, giving information about their next show and allowing you to receive a notification of when said show is live. In the grand scheme of things, notifications are small fry, but I thought that was a nice little addition. How many times have you seen the flyer for a DJ on radio on Twitter, only for the tweet to disappear into the ether and you eventually forget about it anyway. The chat room is simple to access, all you need to do is pick a username and you’re good to go. There’s not much activity in the chat room yet, but I’m sure all that will change once the app is released and more people have it. It brings to mind the forum days, and you can imagine people will be dropping hype messages and exchanging track I.Ds on some of the bigger shows out there.

Playback is crisp, and as far as I’ve used the app there hasn’t been any blips in playback. Sometimes, radio apps just stop playing right in the middle of the show, and it takes a while to get them running again. The only real criticism is sometimes the app is slow, but that isn’t the biggest issue and will surely be improved upon as the app grows.

The app is great. Grime and its surrounding genres have seen so much success over the past few years, but the underground is where people come up and build their fan bases, so an app like this is great for the people that love underground music and love discovering new artists, DJs and producers. It’s made by the fans for the fans, which fosters an all important community feel to the app. Overall, it’s clean, easy to use and makes grime accessible for anyone around the world who loves it.

Posted by:Ryan Moss

I'm the sole founder, editor and writer for The Art Of Grime. I love grime and want to push all the sick artists doing things at the moment.

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