Hand-held cameras, struggle video honeys, close-up shots of MCs and the "man dem" on the block; 2003 was the launch year of popular and controversial TV music station, Channel U—which quickly became the unofficial home of low-budget music videos, hood stars, and aspiring presenting talent. With MTV Base taking good care of the major label cats a few clicks down, Channel U’s soft spot for the unsigned underdog allowed those artists to take that next step from pirate radio favourite to household name.
Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk, N-Dubz, and presenters Ace & Vis—they all got their big break from appearing on Channel U. But, in equal measure, the cult channel also hosted some of the most cringeworthy characters and struggle-rap songs that, to this day, are still mentioned in many online discussions. With the channel now operating under the name Channel AKA, with a more sleeker feel to the brand, Complex UK trawls through the vault to pick out 15 of its most memorable (and kinda ratchet) visuals of all time. Click through below, and relive your long-forgotten youth.
Words by Henry Yanney (@Henryx85)