Edwards’ platform SBTV became a hub for an entire scene and remains a vital snapshot of contemporary sound. But his dedication to nurturing talent reached far beyond music
In 2006, the first uploads appeared on Jamal Edwards’ YouTube channel SBTV. On grainy footage, young MCs dart in and out of the camera, spraying bars into the lens, old school grime instrumentals playing on loop in the background.
These rough cuts were a symbol of what was to come for a man and a generation of MCs emerging out of working-class corners of the UK. At a time when genres such as grime and rap had been barred from the stages of British mainstream music, and were largely absent from charts and radio, award shows and TV, Edwards and SBTV became a refuge and a haven for young MCs seeking an outlet. Edwards was a conductor and a vessel, embodying the culture’s DIY essence, and allowing adolescent expression to find voice on the newly levelled terrain of YouTube.