Book

Where We Come From: Rap Home and Hope is the debut book from writer Aniefiok Ekpoudom. A social history of British Rap. It was released January 2024 with Faber & Faber

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About

Recent years have borne witness to underground genres leaking out from the inner cities, going on to become some of the most popular music in the nation. In this groundbreaking social history, Ekpoudom travels the country to paint a compelling portrait of the dawn, boom and subsequent blossoming of UK rap and grime.

Taking us from the heart of South London to the West Midlands and South Wales, Where We Come From explores how a history of migration and an enduring spirit of resistance have shaped the current realities of these linked communities and the music they produce. These sounds have become vessels for the marginalised, carrying Black and working-class stories into the light.

Vividly depicted and compassionately told, Where We Come From weaves together intimate stories of resilience, courage and loss, as well as a shared music culture that gave refuge and purpose to those in search of belonging. Ekpoudom offers a rich chronicle on rap, identity, place and, above all, the social and human condition in modern Britain.

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Events

Jan 26 – Southbank Centre – SOLD OUT

Jan 31 – Storysmith Books Bristol – SOLD OUT

Feb 22 – London Review Bookshop – SOLD OUT

Feb 24 – Faversham Book Festival – SOLD OUT

March 16 – Deptford Literature Festival – TICKETS

March 23 – Black Cultural Archives – TICKETS

Praise

‘A stunning exploration of a genre, a movement and a world. It’s every bit as lyrical as the rap Ekpoudom has documented.’ Candice Carty-Williams

‘Illuminating and intimate. Ekpoudom’s prose is rhythmic and deft but also crackles with joy. I know I’ll be reading it for years to come.’ Caleb Azumah Nelson

‘A landmark work that will undoubtedly shape conversations about not just UK rap and grime, but British music for years to come.’ Yomi Adegoke

‘Engaging, erudite, sweeping social history of grime in Britain [. . .] The writing is sublime.’ Gary Younge, New Statesman

‘Both moving and invigorating…a thorough depth of research, literary elegance and a palpable love for the art.’ Diana Evans, Granta

Where We Come From traces the meteoric rise of British rap and grime music over the past ten years [. . .] Ekpoudem’s extensive knowledge of the genres and the communities that created them shines through this book.’ Sunday Times

‘An ambitious and unusual social history [. . .] The delicacy and empathy of Ekpoudom’s writing shines.’ Financial Times

‘Aniefiok Ekpoudom has crafted a singular account of the rise of the genre [. . .] highly original [. . .] Remarkable.’ Guardian

‘The propulsive lyricism of Where We Come From’s prose is one of its most persistent pleasures [. . .] It brims with life and reverberates, long after you have closed its pages, with a quiet, lasting power.’ Evening Standard

‘Remarkable [. . .] a corrective to the white middle-class mainstream’s reductionism about the recent revolutions in UK music [. . .] An untold history by someone who knows. Essential.’ The Wire

‘A rousing, inspiring, often breathtaking history that reads with the flow of a magnificent novel. Ekpoudom is one of the very finest chroniclers of black British culture.’ Musa Okwonga

‘Essential . . . a book from the nation’s frontline, where poverty and hardship and exclusion meet poetry and beauty and a higher voice. The writing achieves a lyrical, hypnotic power all of its own.’ Sam Knight