How I discovered SBTV
Like many of us and my readers, I grew up on a council estate, in North London. I was a bit of an off beat teen, Lambrini in the park and sneaking into garage raves with the girls, you know how it goes right? But I was always a bit different, I had the orange foundation face don’t get me wrong but my interest was UK music, there were days where I’d spend literally days on LimeWire looking for new grime songs and remixes. I hung out with the boys on the estate listening to the newest instrumentals and making sure I could get them downloaded to bluetooth to everyone.
I gave my PC AIDS near enough every week because of it, but hey, it was alright once we had the antivirus installed. I sat with the boys whilst they spat bars and went to youth club so I could watch Channel U and witness all things grime and bars. We couldn’t afford Sky back then so that was the only way to get my fix.
YouTube had just started to unfold and as I played videos of The Streets – Fit But You Know It Remix and Dizzee Rascal’s – I Luv U – new recommendations started appearing and up came SBTV – I think the first video that came up was a F64 by Bashy and I was like OMG WHAT IS THISSSSS?!
I asked all the boys about it they were like yeah SBTV it’s this new channel for MCs and rappers, bare exclusive freestyles. I was like ‘yeah, ok, that’s a bita me‘ – word spread quick, and a couple weeks later the whole of my area was buzzing as news spread that Benny Banks had filmed a warm up sessions for SBTV. When that came out I must’ve drove my mum crazy, watched it religiously 1000 times a day for about 6 months and me and my sister learnt every word.
“you can give my daughter a brother, you’ll probably have to war with her mother, she ain’t gonna like that your sworn as my lover, you hear what I just said girl, your sworn as my lover’
“I’m like natural born killers, I can get a fassyole clapped for four figures, so don’t come around me and stunt, talk wicked..”
Yeah I was really screaming the lyrics, LOUD. LOL
What was great about SBTV was that it was accessible for people like me at that time, the ones that didn’t have Sky to watch Channel U but managed to have dial up connection. Gosh, my age is really starting to show.
Jamal Edwards’ creation of SBTV introduced me to artist’s that I don’t think I would’ve come across as early as I did – I’m mainly talking about Lady Leshurr here, all of her earliest freestyles were recorded on SBTV
“You’re better off staying where your hairline is…Far Back!”
This ultimately lead me to finding her first covers and vlogs in her playboy bedroom on her own channel. I was able to watch Lady Leshurr go from underground to mainstream. If SBTV hadn’t existed it may have been a few more years later that we could have seen her appear on Channel U and by that time her own channel would’ve been hacked and I’d have no inkling of what the legends personality was like or the variations in her taste in music and songs or what her voice could do.
I’m no critic but I’m a sucker for personality and getting to know the small details. I really loved listening to Leshurr’s A64 ‘The Boy Is Tied’ with MO – a cover of Brandy and Monica’s ‘The Boy Is Mine’ – SBTV had me hooked on Lady Leshurr and the way her versatility was showcased from her F64’S, A64’S to tracks with Black The Ripper, Bashy and Cyphers with Stormzy and D Double E.
It was this blue print of posting freestyles and being able to link the freestyle to the artist’s personal channel(s) that I loved about SBTV. All the information was there, banging freestyles, recommendations of other new artist’s I could learn more about and the buzz and tension of waiting for a video to drop was absolutely insane.
So that’s how I discovered SBTV and Jamal Edwards. Love grew, UK music boomed and here is a beautiful nostalgic council story if ever there was a thing.
Thank you for this Jamal, and may you continue to shine.
Stay safe and take care,
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