Where We Come From

Aniefiok Ekpoudom

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Faber & Faber
18 January 2024
ISBN: 9780571363254
Hardback
352 pages

From the publisher

A stunning social history of British rap and grime by one of the nation’s foremost cultural chroniclers.

‘A stunning exploration of a genre, a movement and a world. It’s every bit as lyrical as the rap Ekpoudom has documented.’
CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS, author of Queenie

‘Illuminating and intimate. Ekpoudom’s prose is rhythmic and deft but also crackles with joy. I know I’ll be reading it for years to come.’
CALEB AZUMAH NELSON, author of Small Worlds

‘A rousing, inspiring, often breathtaking history that reads with the flow of a magnificent novel. Ekpoudom is one of the very finest chroniclers of black British culture.’
MUSA OKWONGA, author of One Of Them

***

I met people who never quite fit in where they were supposed to, who found solace, salvation and meaning in these sounds, these words.

Something is happening in Britain, trembling the tracks as it unfolds. Recent years have borne witness to underground genres leaking out from the inner cities, going on to become some of the most popular music in the nation.

In this groundbreaking social history, journalist Aniefiok Ekpoudom travels the country to paint a compelling portrait of the dawn, boom and subsequent blossoming of UK rap and grime. Taking us from the heart of south London to the West Midlands and South Wales, he explores how a history of migration and an enduring spirit of resistance have shaped the current realities of these linked communities and the music they produce. These sounds have become vessels for the marginalised, carrying Black and working-class stories into the light.

Vividly depicted and compassionately told, Where We Come From weaves together intimate stories of resilience, courage and loss, as well as a shared music culture that gave refuge and purpose to those in search of belonging. Ekpoudom offers a rich chronicle of rap, identity, place and, above all, the social and human condition in modern Britain.

***

‘A landmark work that will undoubtedly shape conversations about not just UK rap and grime, but British music for years to come.’
YOMI ADEGOKE, author of The List

‘Phenomenal – this is the book we’ve all been waiting for. Like the heroes he chronicles, Ekpoudom acts as torchbearer, his book a beacon, for the story that follows..’
GUY GUNARATNE

‘Essential . . . a book from the nation’s frontline, where poverty and hardship and exclusion meet poetry and beauty and a higher voice. The writing achieves a lyrical, hypnotic power all of its own.’
SAM KNIGHT, author of The Premonitions Bureau