“Grime-House”: The Newest Genre You Didn’t Know You Needed

The world needs more dance-rap songs. More specifically, “grime-house.” A term I’d like to coin that took immense creative mining to develop. Stemming from hip-house, a genre that surfaced in the mid-late 80s in the U.K. and Chicago that found MCs rapping over classic minimalist house beats, Grime-House sees EDM/house producers remixing grime songs into high-tempo, chopped-up ragers. Before diving into grime-house, let’s first establish hip-house’s origins. Hip-house was dominated by two waves, split by the Atlantic Ocean. In the U.S., hip-house was built around its hip-hop roots and focused more on slower, sample-based beats. In the U.K., it was house that began to be infused with elements of hip-hop. Regardless of the difference in sound, the genre found solace in the club scene, with lyrical themes intended to get the discotheque grooving. Songs like “Rok Da House” by the Beatmasters and “Turn Up The Bass” by Tyree Cooper defined what the genre became for its short-lived peak from 1987-1993.

Pump up the jam 
Pump it up 
While your feet are stomping 
And the jam is pumping 
Look ahead, the crowd is jumpin' 
Pump it up a little more 
Get the party goin' on the dance floor 
See, 'cause that's where the party's at 
And you'd find out if you do that

“Pump Up The Jam” by Technotronic   

Although it garnered some chart success, with “Turn Up The Bass” peaking at No. 12 on the U.K. Singles chart and “Rock Da House” reaching as high as No. 5, hip-house largely phased out of pop culture. The genre resurfaced in the late 2000s, in what I would say is the dark age of hip-house with LMFAO and Pitbull being two genre-charting names. Some may hold the comically massive afros of Redfoo and Sky Blu close to their heart (honestly, can we blame them for Party Rockin’?), but as a whole, the genre was an uninspired and overproduced movement intended to top the charts with easy-to-sing lyrics and trendy dances that could be posted to the newly burgeoning “social media.”

Modern hip-house is subtly infused in pop culture with hits like “Break My Soul” by Beyonce, “Believe What I Say” by Kanye West, or “Boss Bitch” by Doja Cat. The overarching theme between each wave of hip-house is that someone raps over a high-tempo hip-hop beat. Grime-house, however, takes Grime and chops it into a completely revamped version of itself. Grime itself is already an underground, rebellious, and dance-y style of hip-hop, so it only makes sense that producers are inspired to reconstruct the genre. Now, with a better understanding of the genre, here are six singles that define grime-house:

Greaze (Machine Girl Mix) – Machine Girl, Merky Ace

I was first introduced to the EDM-style remix of hip-hop with Machine Girl’s “Greaze,” a spin on Merky Ace’s 2010 underground Grime cut. Machine Girl masterfully transformed Merky Ace’s somewhat dated dubstep tune into a unique, high-tempo jam that makes you feel like you’re racing through Rainbow Road in Mario Kart on acid. Its chaotic drums and clean synths ebb and flow, creating a rollercoaster ride of a song.

Back to Basics (feat. Skepta) Floating Points Remix – Headie One

My infatuation with “Greaze” helped guide me to the 2019 Floating Points remix of “Back to Basics” by Headie One and Skepta. It’s hard to not turn the dial to 11 on this one with the 2-step and dub-inspired beat and Headie One’s riveting flow on the hook. The unforgettable pulses of bass and hop-skip hits of hi-hat (say that 10 times fast) give the genre a strong base to grow from.

Freedom 2 – Kwengface, Joy Orbison, Overmono

“Freedom 2” finds frequent collaborators Joy Orbison and Overmono transforming Kwengface’s U.K. drill track “Freedom” from an already dancy song into a rave rumbler. “Freedom 2” features some of the greatest production/remixing to date from the trio (Overmono consists of brothers Tom and Ed Russell); the bass hits so deep it burns the song to the grooves of your brain. What sets the mixing apart from contemporaries is the clarity of the vocals despite the intense low-end rhythms. And this is not to neglect the genius of the interwoven samples of tires screeching, a Nintendo-type level-up ding, or Star Wars laser cannons blasting. “Freedom 2” is an essential listen for lovers of house and hip-hop alike.

Frauds (Mall Grab Remix) – Vv Pete

The Mall Grab remix of “Frauds” by Vv Pete, an AustraliangGrime artist, takes it back to the 80s, when House was digging its roots into Chicago culture. With high-tempo kicks and pulses of airy organ, the minimalist beat lets its groovy bassline take control of your body. Mall Grab highlights Vv Pete’s alluring flow and allows it to flourish.

3210 (Ross From Friends Remix) – Jeshi

Lo-fi house artist, Ross From Friends, fittingly remixed the award-winning lo-fi grime cut, “3210” by Jeshi. The Ross From Friends remix has more of a trance effect than the previous few tracks. The glitchy beat would serve perfectly as an intermission between club crescendos in a live set, and by no means in a negative way. Jeshi’s vocals act as the filling between layers of the beat, letting the instrumental do the talking, holding it all together.


“LIVE-O” by KAM-BU is the one exception on this list in that it is not a remix. The burgeoning Grime artist is known for his EDM-oriented beats, and “LIVE-O” sticks out as a prime showpiece. It’s loud, it’s boastful, it’s quintessential grime-house. From the goosebump-inducing intro to gasp-allowing breaks, “LIVE-O” is a genre-defining song.

Check out the linked Spotify playlist for all grime-house songs I’ve discovered and please send any songs of the sort to david.h.kraus@vanderbilt.edu (I’m so desperate for more).