Open Mic Vol. 2 by Ewen Spencer

It’s ten years since Ewen Spencer’s Open Mic Vol. 1, the photographic collection documenting grime’s early years in the nineties to the ’00s of the book’s release. Even a decade on it’s not hard to note what a revelation the book was, especially for those outside of London.

Ten years ago youtube was just being founded, Facebook was barely a thing and FM radio was still in full power. For those on the outside only catching glimpses of the grime scene (which at that stage was insular and somewhat intimidating to the crowd it’s captured now), Open Mic threw a new visual light on the sound.

For those pulling it up it offered a wider view of what they were part of, bringing London youth in the same mind frame to the same page. Comparing it to All Crews might be a bit of a stretch, but even a decade on it remains a part of the story in spreading the vibes.

Last year Spencer followed up the book by directing a short-doco by the same name which is well worth watching:

During the process of interviewing the artists featured in the documentary Spencer turned up some of the best insights and personal reflections from the scene’s founders and biggest influencers. Along with 16 additional shots from his archive, he’s packaged them up in a limited edition print of 500 for Open Mic Vol. 2.

Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Jammer, JME, Lethal B, Devlin and Ratty make brilliant text contributions to the book, topped only by Spencer’s own words at the very end.

Grab a copy while you can from the usual suspects; Bleep, Antennae Books and Village Bookstore to name a few. Or you can grab it direct from Ewen Spencer’s online presence here: