Founded by Grime Legends Prince Owusu-Agyekum (aka Rapid) and Ebenezer Ayerh (aka Slix), Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation (RSAF) is a registered CIO, charity number 1173218, set up in 2017 to help young people reach their full potential in creative careers and life https://www.ruffsqwadarts.org/.
RSAF formalises and develops the work that Prince and Ebs have been doing since 2014 based at Spotlight, Bow. We aim to create meaningful cultural engagement opportunities for young people, and give them access to mainstream resources, opportunities, and progression pathways, by integrating high quality arts, youth work, industry connections, and enterprise. We are currently in development stage, supported through Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts, and plan to launch early 2018. We directly deliver music sessions and partnership projects, and given the genres of music we specialise in, a lot of the young people attracted to the projects come from less advantaged background. We plan to be based at Spotlight for the next 12-18 months whilst looking for our own RSAF space, and are developing collaborations for a wider programme.
- RSAF @ Spotlight: You Can’t handle the Booth (YCHTB) – regular term-time open (ages 11-19 and 20+), informal youth music sessions for young people wanting access to recording & studio time, and help with getting to the next level, in a supportive environment
- RSAF @ Spotlight: Grime Pays – 5-day music industry immersive experience models delivering during holiday-time across 5 age-groups for those young people serious about trying to get into the music industry. In partnership with GRM Daily, BBC1Xtra, PRS Music and PRS Foundation.
- Music Artist and Talent Development – creative career development collaboration led by Ruff Sqwad Music
- Partnership Projects: Hackney Quest (Oct-Dec 2017); Hackney Empire (Jan-Feb 2018)
Programmes in Development
- Extended Play - more in-depth annual programme for Artist, Talent, Career Development – exploring music industry and wider culture/creative sector.
- Bonus Tracks – annual special events programme
- RSAF: Studios – studio space to support artist & talent development from YCHTB, Grime Pays and wider community (whilst looking for our own space)
- Access All Areas – social change research and innovation collaboration led by SEEit Working Trust
As teenagers, Ruff Sqwad were passionate about making music and started off testing out and developing their skills in youth club. This led to pirate radio sessions where they gained a large and loyal following, but they knew they needed solid material in the form of independent albums to get to the next level. It was Wiley who came to them when he saw them on the streets with no money, no studio, no place, and it was Grime Icon Wiley who asked what they needed. He booked out a big studio in south London and Ruff Sqwad were there 4-5 days a week recording. Their first ever mix tapes “Guns and Roses 1 & 2” are now seen as classics. It is this way of working and Prince and Ebs’ journeys that have inspired them to develop RSAF.