Channel U is set to bring Hip Hop back to television screens following a two-year layoff.
Founded by Darren Platt in 2003, Channel U, later renamed Channel AKA, mainly focused on British Hip Hop and sub-genres including Grime. As a result, it gave a platform to artists including Giggs, Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah and Kano.
The channel provided viewers with a text service to request songs and even to shout out their hood. Music videos filmed on mobile phones gave exposure to young artists coming through the ranks of UK Hip Hop. However, after 15 years of broadcasting, Channel U went off-air. But with UK Hip Hop booming, Channel U will return in November.
On 13th November, the return of Channel U with the premiere of Against All Odds, a film exploring the rise of Grime in the UK. Directed and produced by Nicky “Slimting” Walker, Against All Odds displays a visual celebration of the scene that the grime forefathers created. It will feature some of the biggest names in grime including Ghetts and D Double E, who play themselves.
The film also stars Femi Oyeniran, who previously starred in urban movie Kidulthood. In a recent interview promoting Against All Odds, he reveals what it means to have the channel back and how it’s important for the culture. “For us as kids, Channel U was the greatest TV channel on Earth” Femi tells Radio 1 Newsbeat. “So for us to be able to bring it back is important. It was the first broadcast platform for every emcee. For us as kids, it was the first time we saw these stars on screen.”
Excited fans can watch the Channel U relaunch and premiere of Against All Odds on Friday, November 13 on Sky channel 385.