Growing up in Hackney Wick, Jammz was surrounded by a rough lifestyle that he chose not to partake in. He watched as cousins and older friends got locked up for what appeared to him to be pointless behaviour and decided instead to start connecting with music and writing rhymes. This eventually caught the attention of one of his cousins who was in the North London crew, Too Deep Squad. He realised Jammz had a natural freestyle talent and recruited him at 11 years old.

Around the same time, Jammz moved to another part of Hackney that was down the street from highly respected pirate station Deja Vu. Via a radio set in his room (sans bed, or anything else for that matter), he would regularly tune into Roll Deep and Nasty Crew on Mondays, then East Connection on Saturdays. Taking the inspiration he’d get from guys like Kannan, at the age of 14 Jammz would head straight to the studio in his school at lunchtime to avoid endless beef in his area.

A couple of years into the nascent rapping hobby that would soon become his career, Jammz started producing his own beats on his father’s MPC. Having played as a session bassist with artists like Incognito and Jools Holland, his dad was teaching music technology at a college in North London. Jammz’ mother was a teacher who would frequent TwiceasNice raves in South London and bring home tape packs and CDs for her son. Despite some influential parents, he attributes his penchant for grime to his environment growing up, and who he’s become as a person. Despite living through the Shiny Suit Era pioneered by Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records, it simply wasn’t his cup of tea. With a strong history in the UK, one very dissimilar to radio in the United States, pirate radio stations in London remain a major lifeline for amplifying the voice of hopeful artists to the masses. Jammz is a prime example of an artist who thrived in this environment, both in terms of his musical inspirations and the audience he’s able to influence.

Jammz explains, ”It was 2010 [when] I started to [get] into radio. My friend AG was the first person to bring me to it, at this mad place in West London called Urban FM TV. It was the deepest journey; I used to have to get two trains and go into this industrial place. Then I kind of took a break from music a bit, after I dropped my first proper mixtape [in March 2010] and EP [in October 2010]. Then I fell off the map…” His show on Radar Radio, a station that was described by Passion of the Weiss’ website as “an edgy upstart, the spot anything can happen,” saw Jammz and his friend Jack Dat educate new grime fans while keeping old fans privy to new music. Simultaneously, he was studying the burgeoning talent he was competing with and honing his MC skills by spraying bars over a collection of new beats.

This is an extract from the Spring Summer 16 Issue of Viper Magazine. Read more from the magazine here. Buy physical and digital copies here.

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