Roll Deep are an institution of the UK dance underground, with a decade-long history as pioneers at the forefront of radical hip hop and grime. But they’re no museum piece with a venerable past and a dim future. On the contrary: artistically they are on top form
They’re not just an institution, they’re a corporation, and as such they have employed some of the biggest names in the business: Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder and Skepta, to cite just three key characters, have all passed through their ranks, almost as a grime rite of passage, while Wiley, unarguable inventor of the genre, remains a shadowy totemic figure, RD’s mysterious guiding force. FlowDan, one of Roll Deep’s founders, calls them “a brand”. To Breeze they’re a “tight-knit family”. Manga jokes that being in RD is like spending time “in a training camp” or “like going to university – you get thrown in at the deep end but it’s a great place to train”.