Michael Endelman
January 16, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

WHAT IS IT? Also called sublow or 8-bar, grime mashes dancehall, rap, and jungle into a menacing mix of stuttering drums, woofer-blowing bass, PlayStation blips, and MCs spitting stories of life in London’s rougher hoods.

WHERE IT COMES FROM By 2000, the restless London club scene had dropped jungle for an R&B-flavored style called U.K. garage, or two-step. But when two-step embraced P. Diddy-esque flash, a new wave of acts rebelled with raw, rhyme-heavy tracks — the start of grime.

KEY PLAYERS In addition to Dizzee Rascal, notables include Dizzee’s mentor Wiley, Tinchy Stryder, DJ Slimzee, and grime’s two main groups, the Nasty Crew and the Roll Deep Crew.

ESSENTIAL ALBUMS The scene still revolves around pirate radio, bootleg vinyl, and clubs, so there are no grime LPs other than Dizzee’s. Snoop for singles online, or check import bins for ”Smoove Presents Street Beats” (Ministry of Sound), ”Crews Control: MC’s Inside the Ride” (Warner Dance), and ”Garage.Rap Vol. 1” (Eastside). Look for a CD by Wiley on XL Recordings in April.

NECESSARY ACCESSORY The latest in U.S. B-boy gear: Akademik tracksuits, Nike Air Force Ones, and New Era caps — with a ruler-flat brim, of course.

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