Part 2 of the history of Peckham in south London. From the early Peckham Boys era to Zone 2. This part covers Peckham from 2009 to 2013 (the start of the Zone 2/Hitsquad era).
A brief recap of 2008 in Peckham. The year was marked by improving relations with Ghetto Boys (Lewisham) on one side, and worsening relations with Brixton on the other.
Recap of improving Ghetto-Peckham relations in 2008
Following major internal divisions within the Ghetto Boys, the decades-long beef between the Peckham Boys and Ghetto Boys had ended. The end of the beef was publicly announced by Giggs when he dropped the ‘Ruthless Freestyle‘ in early 2008.
That was a major moment in South London street history, as one of London’s worst street wars came to an end. From that moment it even became safe to play Giggs’s music publicly in Lewisham (Ghetto territory).
In August 2008, Killa Ki (OPB) organised the linkup of Peckham Boys and Ghetto Boys members for the Notting Hill Carnival. Up to 180 members from both gangs linked up and started making their way to the carnival, but the police stopped them before they could reach it: Ghetto Boys 2 Peckham Boys – South East Link Up – Carnival
In the song ‘Black Gang‘ released in late 2008, Killa Ki shouts out Toner (YGB) – a Ghetto Boys member who was jailed for murder following a shootout and didn’t snitch, despite not firing the fatal shot.
Recap of worsening Brixton v Peckham relations in 2008
There were various back and forth shootings between Peckham (SI/PYG) and Brixton (OC/GAS) in 2008. In one infamous incident, OC members caught SI members slipping on Walworth Road and shot at them as they ran for cover into a supermarket. A teenager ended up dying in the crossfire. That summer, OC/GAS members released ‘OC/GAS – Bullet Riddim‘, mocking SI members for running in the incident.
In November 2008, Sense (OC) was shot dead by SN1 at a nightclub in Bermondsey. The gunman walked up on him and shot him dead at close range.
In late 2008, the younger PYG members started releasing music videos. Most of the bars at this time were disses towards Brixton’s OC & GAS.
A senior British politician (the MP for Peckham & Camberwell, and the Leader of the House of Commons) made national headlines in 2008 for wearing stab-proof vest whilst walking through Peckham.
Giggs momentum in music continues
Following his success in 2008, Giggs started the new year by releasing ‘Freestyle 09’. Part of the video was filmed in the SN1 Wear store, a pop-up unit in Rye Lane Market that sold SN1 merchandise and mixtapes:
Video: Giggs (SN1) – Freestyle 09
In January, Giggs dropped the ‘Another Quick One’ mixtape which featured other Peckham (SN1/SI/OPB/PYG) members:
Video: Gunna Dee (SN1) – Get It In – the music video is famous for footage of a snowball fight between Peckham members and the police 🚓
In March, Giggs dropped the ‘Who Said That’ mixtape in collaboration with Tiny Boost (PYG):
In May, Giggs linked up with Skepta to drop the track ‘Look Out’. It’s the first major link-up between top members of the ‘Road Rap’ and Grime families:
Video: Giggs & Skepta – Look Out
Giggs crowned 2009 by linking back up with Blade Brown to drop ‘Hammer Em Down’:
Death of Big Larry
In February 2009, a Peckham older Big Larry was shot dead by SN1 in Dulwich in broadday. He had fallen out with the Peckham members over time, resulting in his execution:
Article: Gunned down man shot in the head
Shoot Instant release the ‘Respected By Most, Feared By Many’ mixtape
In early 2009, Shoot Instant members released the ‘Respected By Most, Feared By Many‘ mixtape. The mixtape heavily features S.I members Young Snap (Snap Capone), Nuttie, Butch, Blacks and Rico. The mixtape was accompanied by multiple video releases:
S.I, OPB and PYG also released several music videos in this period:
Tim Westwood creates the ‘Crib Session’
Giggs had been under mad pressure from the Metropolitan Police who wanted to end his career in rap. The police were actively warning record labels not to sign Giggs, banning his music from television and radio, and banning him from performing at live events.
With these circumstances, Tim Westwood started the Crib Session, a space within his house that Giggs could be recorded and uploaded to YouTube without police interference. The first ever Crib Session took place in March 2009, featuring Giggs (SN1) and his brothers Joe Grind (SN1) and Gunna D (SN1):
In recent times, the Westwood Crib Session has been a major platform for UK Drill groups that otherwise wouldn’t get television or radio play.
Brixton v Peckham in music continues
The beef between Brixton (OC/GAS) and Peckham (SI/PYG) was cracking at this point. It was popularly followed by young Londoners across the city, in the same way that UK Drill beef is now.
PYG responded to ‘OC/GAS – Bullet Riddim‘, in which OC mocked Peckham members for running during a shooting on Walworth Road (Wooly Road):
Video: PYG (Young Size, Stigs, Tiny Snap) – Real Ryderz – You had two turners but never turned nothing, when I roll up on your block I’ma turn something off. He thinks he can try come Wooly Road and bark it off, but when I ride up on your block, little dickheads sliding off” … “Niggas get touched in Somerleyton” (etc)
After Giggs dropped ‘Freestyle 09’ at the start of 2009, Brixton’s OC/GAS members dropped the ‘Ard 3Style‘ over the same beat, dissing Giggs and SN1. In response, PYG members Young Size and Young Shak dropped a track over the same beat, dissing OC/GAS back. The music video was filmed in the North Peckham Estate:
In May 2009, PYG members Stigs and Shocks dropped a music video for Rec A G, filmed on the Bells Gardens Estate. It is considered one of the most legendary tracks to be dropped by youngers in the UK scene:
Video: PYG (Stigs, Shocks) – Rec A G ❄️
A month later, OC/GAS dropped a block Freestyle in which they diss Peckham back. They reference lyrics in ‘Rec A G’ and mock Shocks’ adlib “ya liar”.
In summer 2009, PYG and Inna Circle released ‘Police & Thief’. In the track, Shocks and Young Size takes shots at GAS. There was a music video but it got removed long ago:
In response, OC/GAS released ‘Police & Thief In A Shootout‘, dissing Peckham over the same beat.
In late 2009, GAS and Young Roadside G’s (YRS) members released their ‘English Town Riddim Freestyle‘ dissing Peckham, Tulse Hill and Stockwell. In response, PYG members released a freestyle over the same beat:
Peckham v Brooklyn heats up
Brooklyn (OBY, formerly GME) was a set based on Old Kent Road. They were once affiliated with Peckham, but after a dispute between members they began beefing, with numerous shootouts and stabbings taking place. Brooklyn member Baby Ryder was murdered in 2008 by Thamesmead, allies of Peckham.
Brooklyn were linked up with Brixton (OC/GAS) in their war against Peckham, signified by the track ‘Brooklyn to Baghdad‘. In June 2009, Brooklyn member John Wayne released ‘Fresh Home‘, a highly rated freestyle from that era, taking shots at Peckham.
In response, Young Size (PYG) and Young Shak (PYG) released a track dissing GAS and John Wayne, claiming that Wayne went in hiding from Peckham and wasn’t actually ‘fresh home’ from prison:
Brooklyn released other tracks dissing Peckham, including ‘Back On This Hood Shit‘. Peckham youngers responded through a Stigs (PYG) freestyle. PYG members label Brooklyn members as “Pecknarm Rejects”, which is a reference to the time they fell out:
‘The Truth’ CCTV video
In 2009, the police were investigating certain Peckham (PYG) members due to their war with Brixton (OC/GAS). Police sent the Peckham members’ lawyers CCTV footage of Brixton and Peckham sliding on each others’ territories, as proof that they had evidence of their involvement. A PYG associate took the footage, annotated it and uploaded it to Youtube.
Part 1 of the footage shows PYG members sliding to Angell Town Estate in Brixton at night. Part 2 shows OC/GAS members sliding to the Peckham frontline in broad daylight. The annotations were written to to make OC/GAS look bad. The original upload was in better quality and gained over a million views, but this is the only clip left on YouTube:
After PYG uploaded the footage, OC/GAS and their allies YRS (Young Roadside G’s) and OBY (Brooklyn) released the video ‘Ur Liars’, accusing PYG of lying in the annotations and cooperating with the police for the CCTV footage.
Death of Mimer
In November 2009, a member of MOB called Mimer was shot dead. MOB was ‘Mandem on Brandon’, a set based on the Brandon Estate in SE17:
In the following year, Peckham members Snap (S.I) and Tem (S.I) went on trial for the murder but beat the case. A yute from the Aylesbury Estate (S.I territory) was sent to prison for hiding the gun used in the murder:
Over the years, the relationship between the Brandon Estate and Peckham has become one of the biggest storylines in UK Drill. On the Brandon Estate, ‘Moscow’ became the new generation of MOB. Tweets of Moscow members saluting MOB:
Screw (Moscow) tweet in July 2013: “I’m MOB I big up mandem on brandon”
SP17 (Moscow) tweet in March 2015: “Mandem On Brandon (MOB) #Team017 #StainGang“
Last PYG releases
2010 was the last year that members of PYG were active together in music, before the Peckham Civil War (more on that below). They started the year with ‘Test Out Da Nine’, directly dissing GAS members Sneakbo and JJ:
PYG members made a neighbourhood anthem called ‘Pecknarm London’. It didn’t get released properly because of the Peckham Civil War:
The murder of Samuel Ogunro
Nuttie (S.I) was on remand in prison on a firearm charge after being caught purchasing guns OT. A 17-year old called Samuel Ogunro was also facing charges but got bail. He was offered money to take the gun charge but refused to do so. Because of this, the execution of Samuel was arranged so that he wouldn’t speak at the trial.
In June 2010, Samuel was shot dead in a car in Peckham, just before the trial was due to start. A few days later the car was set on fire with his body inside. Nuttie was given 32 years in prison for arranging the murder, and CS (PYG) was given 4 years for setting the car on fire. No-one was ever convicted of actually shooting Samuel dead.
Police cancel Giggs nationwide tour
In September 2009, Giggs had signed to XL Records. The Metropolitan Police actively tried to persuade XL not to sign Giggs, but XL didn’t give into the pressure:
With the momentum that Giggs had built, his first UK tour was due to start in March 2010. However, the sold-out tour was effectively cancelled by the police at late notice:
Giggs channelled these injustices into his second album ‘Let Em Ave It’, which dropped in June 2010:
Video: Giggs – Hustle On | Track 2 – video features Idris Elba
Video: Giggs – Look What The Cat Dragged In | Track 3
Video: Giggs – Bus Commercial | Track 5
Video: Giggs ft. The Streets – Slow Songs | Track 22
Peckham Civil War
There was a civil war in Peckham in 2003 (see part 1), but the major civil war in Peckham took place in the late 2000s.
One of the Peckham Boys blocks was the Lettsom Estate in Camberwell, and many prominent Peckham Boys members came from there: Grem, Darko, Shower Malik, Crime, Tame, Young Size, Young Shak etc.
Over time there were growing rifts between senior members from Lettsom, and senior members from main Peckham. The tensions started around 2008 times but grew over time, escalating into the Peckham Civil War. Members from the Lettsom Estate split from their Peckham sets (SN1/SI/OPB/PYG) and formed the Lettsom G’s.
From this point, Peckham v Lettsom was a very hot war. I can’t mention the specifics of what happened in this period, but there were multiple shootings and stabbings between members of Lettsom and Peckham.
With all this turmoil, the remaining PYG members (M1, Tiny Snap, Young Termz etc) flipped its name to Anti. They rolled closely with GMG members (Jungle, Moey Black, Deej etc), another young set within the Peckham Boys family.
The death of Taz and Lil Grem
On 6 September 2010 there was a shooting on the Lettsom Estate. That afternoon, Taz (OPB) died in Peckham in a motorbike crash during a chase. Later the same day, Lil Grem (Lettsom) visited the roadside shrine set up for Taz in Peckham and got shot dead there.
Lil Grem was a family friend of Rio Ferdinand, a professional footballer that grew up in Peckham:
Snap (the older of Young Snap/Snap Capone) was later jailed for 35-years for the murder of Lil Grem:
Billy Da Kid (OPB) released a track after Taz’s death, in his honour:
These were some of the last tracks that Taz featured in, all released after his death:
Shoot Instant release the ‘Zero Tolerance’ mixtape
In September 2010, Shoot Instant dropped the ‘Zero Tolerance’ mixtape. With everything going on in Peckham at the time, only one music videos was shot for the project (and it has since been taken down):
Audio: SI (Butch, Rico, Snap Capone) – The History | Track 1 ❄️
Audio: SI (Butch, Snap Capone) ft. Fem Fel (SN1) – Renegade | Track 7
The death of CGE’s Sammy Gunz
At this time there had been tension between senior members of Peckham and Stratford/Plaistow in Newham, East London.
At one point, members from Stratford/Plaistow violated the yard of a Peckham member’s relative in Newham. In retaliation, two Peckham Boys (SN1 member and Anti member) slid to Newham and shot dead 16-year old Sammy Gunz (CGE) in October 2010. Another CGE member was also shot but survived:
CGE members released the music video ‘Stratford 2 Plaistow’ in Sammy’s honour, which included his last verse before his death:
The death of Vesta
Crane Block (the Pelican Estate) is a block in Peckham. With the turmoil of the Peckham Civil War, that block began beefing with the main Peckham sets. A Crane Block music video from summer 2010:
In December 2010, Vesta, Tiny Mantis and Cookie were posted on Crane Block. That night Vesta ended up getting shot to death, with Tiny Mantis and Cookie getting stabbed:
As the police investigated the murder, hundreds of ‘stop snitching’ leaflets were posted around Crane Block:
Tiny Nuttie (Anti) and Jungle (GMG) were convicted of the murder. Tiny Nuttie received a minimum 26-year sentence and Jungle received a minimum 30 years, on the testimony of Cookie.
Youngest Peckham members (PK) become active in music
In 2010, members of PK became active in music. PK were the youngest members of Peckham and included members like Killa Reekz (Young Deej). Their main beef was with young members of Brixton:
Lettsom members active together music
From late 2010, members of Lettsom became active together in music. In the track ‘Gunshot’, Shower Malik (Lettsom) shouts out MOB (Brandon Estate), which is notable because Mimer (MOB) was shot dead by Peckham a year earlier:
Video: Lettsom G’s (Shower Malik, Cash, Shaqavelly, Young Size, Tiny Grem, Famez, Colours) – Gunshot – “I’m MOB, so I big up Mandem On Brandon”
Lettsom also released ‘Gal Call Mi Up’, with a hook from Stylo G:
Young Size (Lettsom) was shot 5 times outside his house by the Roadside G’s but survived. He addresses this in ‘Hard On The Pave’:
Video: Lettsom G’s (Young Size, Shaqavelly, Shower Malik) – Hard On The Pave – “I’ll tan anyone repping Bricky or Otrizzy”
Anti and GMG members active together music
From late 2010, members of Anti and GMG were active in music. Their first video was a remix of ‘SI – The History‘. The music video features members of Anti and GMG:
Towards the end of the year, Anti and GMG members released an anthem which at the time was considered one of the best ‘Road Rap’ tracks ever released. The music video got removed from Youtube:
There’s various Anti tracks from this era still up on YouTube.
The murder of Daniel Graham
In January 2011 at a party in East Dulwich, some Anti & GMG members got into it with members/affiliates of CG (a set from Wooly Road that were linked with Brooklyn). Inside the place shots were let off and the rave got locked. Anti & GMG members chased a CG affiliate onto the 176 bus, and ended up stabbing him 24 times. Yung Rev (GMG), Rugrat (Anti) and another member got sent to prison for murder:
Yung Rev’s last release before prison was a collaboration with Tiny Snap (Anti) and Slayer (SN1):
Giggs drops ‘Take Your Hats Off’
In January 2011, Giggs dropped the ‘Take Your Hats Off’ mixtape. The mixtape was hosted by DJ Whoo Kid, a legendary mixtape host in the US rap scene:
Stigs given the UK’s first gang injunction
In Spring 2011, Stigs (Anti) became the first ever person to in the UK to be served with a gang injunction, preventing him from entering Brixton territory and banning him from making music or appearing in music videos:
Southwark Council then sought to hit more Peckham members with the same injunction:
This is the origins of the powers that police now use to censor UK Drill artists.
Kyze and Snap jailed
Kyze (SN1) was sent to prison for 6 years for shooting Meano. He was caught when his conversations at Belmarsh Prison were recorded by the police. Kyze had been charged for double murder (the murders of Sense and Big Larry) – who were both shot and killed by the same gun as Meano – but he beat those cases at the trial:
The Mirror: Rapper Kyze jailed for shooting
In an unrelated case, Snap Capone was given a 6 year prison sentence in June 2011 for possession of a handgun. He was credited for time spent on remand while fighting the murder case in 2010.
Murder at GAS member’s funeral
Jozey (GAS Gang) – aged 17 – died in a motorway crash and his funeral took place in Dulwich in November 2011. An Anti member was local, things got mad, and he shot up the funeral. Two people got shot and one died, the murder remains unsolved:
In 2016 the Metropolitan Police were officially criticised for not patrolling the funeral, despite it being considered a ‘high risk’ event:
The return of Chester
Big Chess was a prominent younger in Peckham in the early-mid 2000s, in the same generation as Spender. However, an incident/betrayal involving Chess and an SN1 older made many members in Peckham turn on Chess, and he was effectively cut from the ends. During that time he was stabbed by Brixton and put in critical condition, but survived.
A few years later things had cooled down and Chess was back in Narm. He also jumped on music, dropping the mixtape ‘Slap A Snitch‘:
Audio: Big Chess ft. Billy Da Kid (OPB) – P.M.S (Peckham Man Soldier) | Track 10
Audio: Big Chess ft. Slayer (SN1) – Cabbage Him | Track 21
Video: Big Chess ft. GMG (YR, Deej) – Pecknarm London | Track 22 – a remix of the PYG original
Boost drops ‘Gangsta’s Pain’
Boost (SN1) was from the same generation as Raver and Knuckles, and is the older of Young Boost. Like many Peckham Boys members that had gone to jail, he ended up getting deported from the UK.
In 2011, Boost released the ‘Gangsta’s Pain’ mixtape from Ghana. It included several visuals:
Video: Boost (SN1) – Life Behind Bard | Track 3
Video: Boost (SN1) – Pecknarm Freestyle | Track 11
Video: Boost (SN1) – Suffering |Track 21
M1 releases ‘Survivor’
In 2011, M1 (Anti) released a highly rated solo track called ‘Survivor’. He was considered one of the best young Peckham rappers, but he took the roads more seriously than music:
Audio: M1 (Anti) – Survivor
In 2012, Nutcase (Kwengface), Preacher (PS) and other youngins from Peckham dropped several freestyles on YouTube channel MMTV, their earliest releases before the days of Zone 2:
Video: Nutcase – MMTV Freestyle
Video: Preacher – My Time Session
Giggs arrested on firearms charge
In February 2012, Giggs was riding through South London with three others when the police stopped their car. They searched it and found a loaded semi-automatic gun. All four people were charged with gun possession, and Giggs was remanded in prison. Following his trial, Giggs was acquitted of all charges and released:
Giggs tweet in August 2012: “GOD IS GREAT. Big Thanx to the jury for recognising my innocence.”
Killa Reekz releases the ‘My Attitude Reekz’ mixtape
In 2012, PK member Reekz (aka Young Deej) released his first mixtape ‘My Attitude Reekz’. PK was the youngest Peckham set at the time:
Breadset and Lettsom members active in music
Ceej (formerly Young Killa Ki) was an original member of PYG. However he fell out with Peckham members during a trial involving him and Young Butch. At this time the Peckham Boys were fragmenting (splitting) as a gang, a direct consequence of the Peckham civil war.
Ceej and other Peckham members including Slumps rose up a new Peckham set called Breadset, and started dropping music under that name. In 2012, Breadset were very active with music releases:
Lettsom member Shower Malik was also active in music in this period. His most notable release was a track honouring Mimer (MOB) and Lil Grem (Lettsom), who were both killed by Peckham:
Peckham Breadset members jailed for M16 rifle
In October 2012, armed police raided Peckham Breadset members including Ceej, finding various guns including an M16 assault rifle. The police also seized £40,000 worth of drugs:
CS returns from prison
In 2012, CS (Anti) was released after serving half his sentence for the case in 2010. He returned dropping his highly anticipated ‘Fresh Home’ track, alongside several others with Anti members:
Giggs releases ‘When Will It Stop’
In 2013, Giggs released ‘When Will It Stop’. In this project Giggs experimented with a more mature sound, including hip hop beats with live instrumentation:
365 jump on music
The 365/DankBoys (now known as Zone 2) were youngers of the PK set in Peckham. In 2013 they started jumping on music together.
In 2013, Young Mares and Denz (DSqueezo) released ‘Pumped Up’:
Video: Y.Mares & Denz – Pumped Up
Nutcase (Kwengface) dropped several music videos in 2013, with other 365 members visible in the background:
Video: Nutcase – Pour It Up
In 2013, Preacher (PS) was consistently releasing music with Riddz. ‘Off To The Clouds’ was filmed in the Aylesbury Estate, before AY and Peckham started beefing:
In 2013, Shay (Shay Squeeze) dropped the track ‘Real Talk’:
Video: Shay – Real Talk
One of the early 365 group tracks from 2013:
Tiny Grem jailed
In September 2013, the police caught Tiny Grem (Lettsom) in possession of a Mac-10, a Smith & Wesson revolver, ammunition and £3,000 in drugs. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison:
Deej and Brantz jailed
In October 2013, Deej (GMG) and Brantz (Anti) went to Oceana nightclub, and got into an argument with Bullet, a member of HBlock in West London. Bullet ended up getting stabbed to death in the club, with Deej and Brantz getting sent to prison for murder:
This was Deej’s last video before being jailed for murder:
Video: Deej (GMG) – Lifestyle
YR murder conviction overturned
In 2013 Yung Rev (GMG) ended up having a retrial over the 2011 murder of Daniel Graham in Dulwich, and his 22-year murder conviction got overturned. This was his first release after he buss case:
Video: YR (GMG) – Jail Pain
The gentrification of Peckham reaches public consciousness
For decades, Peckham had been one of the most deprived and dangerous areas in London. Due to its relatively low house prices, and its close proximity to central London, the area has been slowly gentrifying.
With gentrification, new bars, cafes, restaurants and modern residential developments started popping up in Peckham. As a result, prices in the area have been rising and things are becoming increasingly unaffordable for existing residents. From 2013 the gentrification of Peckham reached national awareness, as it started to become one of the ‘cool’ places to be:
In recent times several films have been made about the changing character of Peckham. These two are standouts, worth a watch:
Author – u/KeezyLDN