10 years of SBTV: Jamal Edwards shares the grime site’s biggest moments

In 2007 Jamal Edwards was a just a grime-loving teenager with a video camera and a dream. Ten years later and SBTV, the online video platform he set up, is one of the most important youth culture platforms out there, responsible for launching Ed Sheeran’s career and keeping the grime flag flying throughout the late 2000s. We had a chat with founder Jamal Edwards about 10 biggest moments for him and SBTV since its inception a decade ago.

BBK’s freestyle to celebrate 100 million views (2012)

“I remember filming that thinking ‘this is epic’. We had all of them there. I filmed that in North London – I remember waiting there for hours, everyone was running late, but it was well worth it in the end. I’ve known them for years, they’re very important from back in the day and I’ve filmed every single one of them. I met Skepta first and then I met JME, Jammer and everyone else shortly after. They are an integral part of SB.”

Ed Sheeran’s SBTV debut (2011)


“He was so different. When I first saw him I thought ‘this guy is sick, he’s rapping, singing, playing the guitar, beat boxing, everything! I need him on the channel.’ He was the first person on the channel who wasn’t a rapper or MC. We filmed ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ which helped me and it helped him – it was a good partnership.”

Documentary Pirate Mentality (2017)

“We made it with Frisco from Boy Better Know and Risky Roadz for All4. Obviously grime is going global but we went back to the roots of pirate radio and interviewed a load of people within the grime scene who went on pirate radio back in the day. It was our first ever commission so it was quite a moment.”

Jamal gets an MBE (2015)

“I think it was just a nod, like ‘carry on doing your thing, I recognise what you’re doing’. I think it is important for a lot of people to see that no matter where you come from you can achieve greater things in life.”

Summer Cookout and South by Southwest (2016)


“Summer Cookout was an event I did last year in London that had 2,500 to 3,000 people who packed it out and no headline names. It was all upcoming names but it was just a fun day. Pixie Lott came down, Andy Bell who is former Oasis, it was an interesting mix of people. We also did the first ever grime showcase at South by Southwest with Stormzy headlining and Elf Kid.”

Inside SBTV on Channel 4 (2011)

“I took part in it to show everyone what goes on behind the scenes at SBTV. There was The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea, but I wanted the SBTV audience to see who was making the content and also see the trials and tribulations we face everyday. It was enjoyable but it was very scary being on TV.”

Rapper Elro’s SBTV debut (2011)

“Elro is from Wales – he isn’t your conventional rapper. I saw him rapping on YouTube about politics and I thought ‘this guy is pretty cool’. People said he looked like the guy from Family Guy, but it was so different.”

Rapman’s male suicide video (2015)

“I’ve had friends that have killed themselves so I thought ‘How can I put a message out there that isn’t preachy?’ So I hollered at Rapman and he came up with the song and it just opened up a lot of people’s eyes. I feel I’ve got a social responsibility to be able to highlight really important issues like that.”

Google Chrome advert (2011)

“That was my big reveal. People knew I did SBTV but that really put me on the forefront – it came out during The X Factor on the first ad break, so the UK equivalent of a Super Bowl ad. They just got in touch and wanted to do a story that was different from Lady Gaga’s and Justin Bieber’s and the adverts before – they wanted to do a story that resonated more with a UK audience. They saw my story and thought ‘Cool, let’s do Jamal’s story’. The rest is history.”

SBTV News (2016)

“SBTV News launched about a year ago now. I remember sharing a news article about a kid that got expelled for making £40,000 on sweets and it went viral, so I thought ‘why can’t we do our own news?’. If we can give people music why can’t we give news and educate our audience as well? A lot of people say that young people aren’t into news but they are interested in news – it’s just how it is delivered to them. I try and give both sides of the argument.”

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