Boy Better Know have been announced as this year’s AIM Innovator Award, sponsored by FUGA. Boy Better Know started in 2005 in a north London estate by two young brothers known as Jamie and Joseph Adenuga and have gone on to be one of the most important and influential UK collectives and record labels.
“What BBK have built entirely on their own will probably never be replicated in the U.K music.” said Alex Hoffman, Head of Music at Vice and AIM Awards judge “Like so many young people trying to somehow make a viable career out of music, when the members of BBK came together, the completely independent route was the only one on the table. Then the offers came flooding in but none of them saw a reason to change the set-up. They simply saw what they’d achieved on their own terms up to that point and had the confidence to keep building their empire independently. Their influence on the next generation of UK artists goes so much further than their musical output and goes so much further than Grime.”
The beginnings of the grime crew who would one day make British music history are murky, but the results are legendary. Made up of some of the mightiest MCs, producers and DJs along the way including Wiley, Jammer, Frisco, Shorty, Maximum, Skepta, and JME, the boys started out jostling to make space in a music industry that in some ways wasn’t quite ready for them. Steered along by manager Sam Burton and agent Rebecca Prochnik, Boy Better Know have kept true to themselves over the years in every way. From their seminal live appearances to their musical output, album drops, clothing lines, viral videos and quotable verses, the collective remains uncommodified and undistorted in face of the wider market. This personality marks them as a rare and valued asset within U.K culture.
Mistajam, BBC Radio 1 / 1Xtra and AIM Awards Host said “There’s no doubt that Grime wouldn’t be the phenomenon it is in 2017 if it wasn’t for the work put in by the Boy Better Know collective. From the days of pirate radio, white labels and mixtapes to the current day Glastonbury Other Stage headline set, 02 takeovers, and international acclaim; BBK have proven why remaining consistent and keeping your integrity always pays off, inspiring a generation in the process.”
Over ten years in, Boy Better Know is way more than a sum of its parts, in truth BBK is first an artist collective but also it’s a mantra, not just for DIY but more specifically for do it your own way culture that means so much to both its direct fan base and beyond in 2017.
Lara Baker, Marketing & Events Director, AIM said “Boy Better Know have been tearing up the rulebook for over 10 years, influencing culture and building success entirely on their own terms. From the early days of radio stations refusing to play their music and venues shutting down their shows, 2017 has seen them dominate the airwaves and take grime global. Whether headlining Glastonbury’s Other Stage, taking over The O2 arena or dropping tracks with Drake, they maintain a fiercely DIY and independent spirit, inspiring countless young artists to do the same.”
Previous winners of the Innovator award have included Stormzy (2016), Peter Quicke Matt Black and Jon More, Ninja Tune (2015) and Steve Goodman aka Kode9, Hyperdub Records (2014).