Radar Radio and the Return of the MC

Just give Son Raw his own pirate radio station already.
By    June 12, 2015


Son Raw is jet lagged.

Perhaps the coolest thing about coming back to London after a year’s absence was witnessing the city’s musical forward-motion first hand. It’s easy to look back and marvel at how London’s interests shifted from jungle to garage to grime to dubstep but seeing the transformation in real time is another thing entirely–even if much of the city’s musical innovation is happening on a smaller scale. Last time I was in town, “instrumental grime” was the buzzword of the day but then a series of smash hits by acts like Meridian Dan, Wiley, Novelist and most crucially Skepta, reminded the world that you don’t have to be a house DJ to make it big in music. That might have been enough to get a new generation of rappers into the game, but for my money, the return of emcees to live sets and the rise of new station Radar Radio has played just as big a role.

Standard-bearer Rinse.FM moved away from jam-packed live sets long before they went legal, but the station’s community license a few years back essentially spelled the end for that kind of vibe on their station once and for all. Since then, a number of pirates including Deja Vu FM, Mode FM and every other station Spooky plays on have kept the flame alive, but the arrival of Radar on the scene has undoubtedly provided a different sort of platform for emcees. For one, they actively tapped into the current crop of DJ producers to draw in listeners who find out about music online. Then, they actively built a reputation as a spot where you might hear just about any combination of new emcees including the Square, YGG, Jammz, Big Zuu, Mic Ty, and Kwamm. This merger of top rated DJs and new MC talent has become the station’s biggest draw to me: While Rinse has edged closer to respectability and NTSlive cultivates a serious reputation, Radar feels like an edgy upstart, the spot anything can happen.

I’ll include a few sets by J-Cush, Trends, Argue, and Sir Pixalot and more below. Most of the emceeing starts at the 30 minute or 1 hour mark.









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