Jeremy Corbyn swept to power as leader of the Labour party – twice – thanks in part to the support of grassroots movement Momentum.
But the politician can now rely on solid approval from an entirely different base: He has been endorsed by some of the most influential grime musicians and rappers in the UK, including Stormzy, Novelist, Akala, and JME, who sat down with Corbyn last weekend to talk politics over brunch for i-D magazine.
It has given Corbyn a level of street credibility most politicians could only dream of.
On Monday the website Grime4Corbyn was set up by an anonymous group of political activists to capitalise on the zeitgeist: It encourages grime fans to register to vote in the election and offers music fans a chance to win tickets to a secret grime gig.
A Grime4Corbyn spokesperson who spoke to BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity said they'd had thousands of people sign up since.
The relationship between grime stars and the 67-year-old politician might seem unlikely at first, but it's not that surprising.
Grime fans say Corbyn has made more effort than other politicians to engage and interact with young people, and has put forward policies that align with their ideals.
Iconic images of Corbyn being arrested at an anti-apartheid protest in 1984 have carried some weight. On Twitter, hip-hop artist Akala pointed out that Corbyn was on the right side of history, when the Tories were painting Nelson Mandela as a criminal.
And JME – a passionate vegan like a number of grime stars – was impressed when Corbyn appointed fellow vegan Kerry McCarthy as shadow health secretary in 2015.
The odd coupling also comes at a time when grime artists, who have raised concerns about being vilified in the media and are protective of their image as a result, are enjoying success on their own terms – releasing music independently and using social media to communicate directly with the people who support them. It has eliminated their need to work with mainstream publications they do not trust.
Perhaps in Corbyn they see a kindred anti-establishment spirit. His supporters have repeatedly accused the mainstream media, including the BBC, of bias against him.
Grime's love affair with Corbyn rose to prominence last year when an illustration by Reuben Dangoor of Jeremy Corbyn dabbing went viral.
Dangoor, who has exhibited at Tate Britain, is best known for his work depicting grime stars like D Double E and Wiley as 18th-century British nobility. Though he has created portraits of other politicians, including Donald Trump and Theresa May, the Corbyn drawing is one of Dangoor's most popular – it even inspired a meme.
"It's definitely one that has sold the most to date," the 28-year-old artist and designer from London told BuzzFeed News. "It went out of stock twice and it's out of stock now, which is pretty amazing. It's the most popular, very closely followed by David Attenborough."
Dangoor created the image shortly after Corbyn was re-elected as party leader and printed it on T-shirts. "There was sort of a big increase in young supporters for Corbyn and, at that time especially, dabbing and that sort of demographic was synonymous," he said.
"There was a lot dabbing in the media, and lots of kids at school doing it. And I just quite liked the idea of the juxtaposition of a politician doing it with any sort of credibility... It just kinda made me laugh."
"It had become a little bit of a theme, but the Corbyn one, I think, was one of the most well intentioned, if you like," he said. "It just felt like the connection between – and I hate using the word youth culture – but that sort of crossover between young people having a part to play in his success in that particular campaign."
As iconic as the Corbyn portrait has become, Dangoor doesn't believe it played that big a role in the growing support for the Labour leader among young people.
In fact, he said, young people were well on their way to embracing Corbyn before the illustration – and the grime and UK rap scene has increasingly played a huge role in making that happen.
Grime has been around for 15 years, but with the genre's increasing success and the power of social media it has been given a voice that it didn't have before.
Figures such as Novelist, JME, and Stormzy are using their huge platforms to vocalise their support for Corbyn and Labour. Novelist was also inspired by Corbyn to become a party member.
JME and Novelist both declined to be interviewed when approached by BuzzFeed News.
Jaik Bramley-Fenton, social and brand manager for the music site GRM Daily, told BuzzFeed News Corbyn's proposed policies, like scrapping tuition fees, strongly appeal to many young people.
Corbyn has also made the most effort to engage and interact with the grime scene compared with other politicians, he said.
Stormzy showed his support for Corbyn last year.
In an interview with The Guardian he said: "I feel like he gets what the ethnic minorities are going through and the homeless and the working class."
And Corbyn tweeted Stormzy earlier this year, praising him for opening up about depression.
Last weekend Corbyn's Snapchat featured JME encouraging young people to register to vote in next month's general election.
It led to fans making jokes about how Corbyn is now part of Boy Better Know, the record label and crew JME set up with his brother Skepta.
A spokesperson for the Labour leader told BuzzFeed News that Corbyn "is grateful to have the support of so many grime artists, and for all that they have done to encourage young people to register to vote, and to raise awareness of poverty, racism, injustice, and mental health".
Encouraging young people to vote, regardless of whether it’s for Labour or other parties, is the most crucial point, Bramley-Fenton said. "The younger generation should feel their opinion is valued and should be taken into consideration."
It's one of the reasons the anonymously run Grime4Corbyn website was launched on Monday – exactly one week before voter registration closes on 22 May. In a press release, it stated the site's aim is to build on the support for Corbyn among grime artists and connect this to young voters.
A spokesperson for Grime4Corbyn told BuzzFeed News that it is an entirely independent organisation and denied any affiliation with other political groups, such as Momentum.
"We are building on what the leadership office has been doing – JME having brunch with Corbyn was one of the best things we've ever seen," they added.
A member of the Grime4Corbyn team told BuzzFeed News: “If you saw even at the beginning, when all of the artists came out, there were lots and lots of tweets and interest. [It’s] celebrating the grime scene’s support for him and involving young people in politics.
“The story is that it’s a movement that’s bigger than just one party, or one moment, it’s a movement of people and the grime scene has led on that, which is amazing."
The spokesperson for Grime4Corbyn said more information about endorsements and details of the secret rave will be revealed in the next few days.
In the meantime, we can sit back and watch the bromance between grime and Corbyn continue to blossom.
Fiona Rutherford is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Fiona Rutherford at email@example.com.
Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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