You might know UK based Grime artist Jme better as the younger brother of his older sibling, Skepta. The two grew up in Tottenham, a neighborhood of North London, but the parents of Jamie (Jme) and Joseph (Skepta) Adenuga originate from Nigeria, and the brothers’ upbringing had been heavily influenced by their African background.
The brothers recounted the influence their father’s interest in DJing had on them early on, and how from a young age they began down a path of pursuing music because of their constant exposure to it, a fact the two agree is probably due to their family’s loud and overactive style, which they undoubtedly carried with them from Nigeria. While Americans tend to think of rappers solely as an occupation within hip-hop, the UK actually possesses its own genre for rappers to live within: Grime. Grime, which originates more from Jamaican dancehall and includes more elements of techno in its fast-paced rhythm, is the genre of (often sarcastic and humorous) representations of urban life in the UK. And while Grime and Hip-Hop remain fundamentally different, as genres they both serve to provide artists a way to connect audiences with the realities of hardship.
Jme’s family and their story embody Grime in its inclusion of a difficult but optimistic struggle with a humorous twist. And we see his heritage pop up in many of his songs. In his hilarious early single “Food“, Jme mentions his mum fixing him a plate of “Rice,plantain, but no ackee / I’m Nigerian, I deal with shaki.” In another more serious reference to his upbringing, Jme speaks on the fact that despite his immigrant origins and his lack of wealth growing up in a first-generation household, he has found success and even graduated from university, defying the “typical” societal perception of immigrants. Or as Jme aptly puts it, “I really can, do anything, I put my mind to / Cause I’m an educated Nigerian.”
Here’s the song referenced in the last line: