Lagos to London: Afrobeats and Grime Mashup 2020

Born in Hackney (4 May 1985) into a family who are originally from Nigeria, Jamie Adenuga (aka JME) grew up in Tottenham, North London where he lived in a council house. He attended St. Paul’s School and then Winchmore School in Winchmore Hill, Enfield along with his younger brother Jason, elder brother Joseph, and sister Julie — the Adenuga J’s.

He subsequently graduated from the University of Greenwich receiving first class honours in 3D Digital Design.

Britain’s Most Creative Family: The Adenugas

Skepta, JME, Julie … are the Adenugas Britain’s most creative family?

A new memoir by their mother, Ify Adenuga, Endless Fortune, explains how they got here. It was drawn from diaries she kept about “any little culture shock I experienced” as a Nigerian immigrant bringing up her kids on a London council estate.

From Lagos to London

She hopped between relatives, cleaning the Bank of Illinois in the City of London for £11 a week. Those relatives advised her to head home, warning her London would be harder than Nigeria, but she enrolled to study business management and met Joseph when both worked shifts at the Top Rank bingo club. By the early 1990s they were married with four children, living streets away from the Broadwater Farm estate where riots had broken out in 1985.

“It was difficult at times to keep the roof over our heads”.

Struggling to meet mortgage payments, they lost their first home in Tottenham and were rehoused by the council on the nearby Meridian estate.

Growing up, the Adenuga house was a Nigerian enclave in 90s Britain — brooms were woven from straw, and their father would DJ house parties into the early hours — remember Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series?

As Skepta recalls:

Early in the millennium, grime was emerging, evolving out of UK garage and drawing on Jamaican sound system culture to become the soundtrack of Britain’s inner cities. When the sound took hold in north London with pirate radio stations such as Heat FM, boys from Meridian – JME and Skepta among them – were on the frontlines.

They inherited their creative spark from their father, who had studied architecture, and as a child in Nigeria would craft yo-yos from beer cans and string.

“Back home there was no money – you don’t get toys,” he says.

Growing up, the kids watched him build things from scratch, such as a desk for Julie, and repairing fridges and freezers.

So, today 9 December 2020, guess who won the Best Grime Act at the MOBO? You’ve got it, JME (aka Jamie Adenuga).

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