Category Archives: Editorial

Beat Culture Gold

Beat Culture Update | July 26th 2013 |

So the weather is getting hotter, summer is here now! Jigga has just released his new album. Kanye has gone ‘EDM’, festival season is upon us.

I am back in London now. Madness. Checked out ‘The Legends Of The Summer’ tour at the Olympic Park in London. Great show featuring Jay Z & Justin Timberlake with support from Tribe Called Quest and Nas.

Jay Z & Justin Timberlake – Holy Grail (Live at Wireless Festival 2013)

Loads going on in the world of dance music/EDM, hip-hop and Beat Culture. We as always try and be at the centre of what is best in these worlds.

One of the highlights of the last couple of weeks was footage from the amazing Glastonbury Festival in the UK. Now legendary bass music duo Chase & Status took to the stage and looked like they absolutely destroyed it!

Chase & Status at Glastonbury 2013 (video)

Managed to stumble across this Future Garage banger via This Song Is Sick.

Bonobo – Know You (SuperVision Remix)

With the rececnt So Solid Documentary release (below) and the resurgence in the UK Garage scene. It was only right we gave you this article via Vice. CLICK HERE. Amazing look at the style of UK garage in the 90s, I remember a lot of this, especially the champagne and clothes!

Image via Vice. Champagne lifestyle.

Regardless of what you think of them. They changed the game of MCing in the UK forever.

So Solid Legacy – documentary (Link Up TV)

Finally, leave you with the battle of the year so far. Dizaster vs Cortez.

Dizaster vs Cortez (King Of The Dot – Fresh Coast)

BC logo

Beat Culture Update | 27th June |

Back again, getting that momentum moving again! So, what’s in store for the coming weeks and what new music can we find lurking around? There is so much good music out there at the moment, it is sometimes hard to filter it out. However, I think the below is a good representation of what is going on in dance music and hip-hop at the moment.

First off, Black Butter crew get their props in this article on The Guardian website. Massive fan of the label and the artists on there.

The gorgeous Katy B, returns with this house influenced smasher. Very 90s feel to it.

Katy B – What Love Is Made Of (video)

Ram Records crew – Loadstar drop this new banger on us. Tear-out vocal D&B at its best. Loadstar are definitely aiming for the D&B supremacy at the moment.

Loadstar – Need You (audio)

Thought we would also show ‘Refuse To Love’ as it is such a huge tune.

Loadstar – Refuse To Love (video)

Brand new mixtape from new skool MC Joey Bada$$. Entitled ‘Summer Knights’, the mixtape is out on July 1st. Watch out for that.

In the meantime, check out the below video for his new tune from the tape – ’95 Til infinity’.

Joey Bada$$ – 95 Til Infinity (video)

Joey Bada$$ – Summer Knights

The battle rap wagon has moved at pace over the past few weeks, Smack hosted a major even in NYC called NOME 3 (trailer below), where a host of MCs battled it out for respect in the culture. Watch out for all the battles released soon. I am especially excited about Dizaster Vs T Rex.

Watch LA based MC – Daylyt terrorise both Math Hoffa and Dialect. Warning he strips off in the Dialect battle, absolute lunatic. So entertaining though.

Math Hoffa vs Daylyt (Rap Battle Network)

Daylyt vs Dialect (Don’t Flop)

One of the best beats from Cole gets blessed with this remix from Nas. A response to Cole’s own track – ‘Let Nas Down’.

J Cole – Let Nas Down (Nas remix – Made Nas Proud)

Finally this week, Daft Punk remix the biggest dance tune of the summer (which happens to be their own) new skool disco classic ‘Get Lucky’, with an updated house beat and 10 minute long roller.

Words by Jamie BC

Beat Culture Gold

Beat Culture update | 19th June 2013 |

Wow, it has been a really long time since we have updated the site. Call it a long vacation/holiday/hiatus.

Well I have been up to alot, living in North America, travelling in South America. Seeing and experiencing alot of different things. Some of those things I will touch on in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, see below some of the best music I have heard over the last few weeks.

This track from the long overdue Papoose LP – ‘The NACIREMA Dream’ is produced by legendary boom-bap rap NY producer, DJ Premier. Classic production and ludicrous emceeing.

Papoose & DJ Premier – Turn it up (video)

London born rapper K Koke, of Roc Nation gets in with this street anthem with the beautiful Bridget Kelly. Fan of Koke, I like his vibe and style.

K Koke feat. Bridget Kelly – My Time (video)

Brand new single from Chase & Status featuring Louis M^ttrs on the vocals. Has that amen break sound used on ‘Time’. Absolutely brilliant track which takes us back to ’93.

Chase & Status ft. Louis M^ttrs – Lost & Not Found (video)

Very late to post, but Blackbutter Records team and new skool Dance Music superstars Rudimental, give us this rolling D&B banger. Love this tune, can’t believe I heard it on a bus in Colombia.

Rudimental featuring Ella Eyre – Waiting all night (video)

Another banger from Black Butter courtesy of Clean Bandit. Futuristic house music at it’s best.

Clean Bandit – A & E (video)

Finally one of my favourite tunes of recent times, courtesy of Swiss born, Vancouver based house producer Cyril Hahn. A beauty of a remix of Jessie Ware’s ‘Sweet Talk’. Big up Chris BC for the intro.

Jessie Ware – Sweet Talk (Cyril Hahn Remix)

Magna Carta Holy Grail

Jay Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail (new album details)

Genius marketing and a brand new way of doing things. Giving the album away to the first million people who have a Samsung Galaxy, all for free.

Apparently Samsung paid $5 per album. Crazy.

Producer lineup is ludicrous – Timbaland, Rick Rubin, Pharell and Swizz Beatz.

From the recent pictures circulating online, I imagine we can expect features from Nas and Justin Timberlake.

Via ComplexMag.

Jay Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail (teaser video)

UPDATE: Jay Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail (teaser video 2)

Full album released now, its actually a really good piece of work. Check out the preview on ITunes or below.

Preview via This Song Is Sick.

Mystro logo

Mystro | Artist Profile | 17th January 2013 |

Artist Profiles: Mystro

Mystro is one of the most underrated MCs and rappers in the UK. His style is well assured, confident with a witty London edge that runs deeper than most MCs in the ever growing UK hip-hop and rap world. He has collaborated with and continues to collaborate with artists such as Rodney P, Skinnyman, Task Force and Hilltop Hoods and has dropped the UK Rap Up yearly series every year since 2009. and Urban Hit Promotions therefore decided it was right that we linked up with one of London’s best and profiled his background and influences. We even get to find out about his history as a jungle/drum & bass MC.

Mystro – UK Rap Up 2012 (video)

West London, UK

Where did your name come from?
When I was young a friend said I shouls be called Maestro because I was always in to music so when the time came I ran with that but spelt it with a Y instead just to be different but little did I know that later on in my career there’d be a bunch of other mutha luvaz trying to call them selves that so I’m slowly dropping it and will just be known as MysDiggi

What artists inspired you to make music?
James Brown, Michael Jackson, Minnie Ripperton, NWA, Big L, The Roots to name a few…

Was there a defining moment that made you want to make music?
Yeah I nearly died from TB in a gland in my neck which was slowly closing my windpipe. Laying there learning how I was almost gone, made me wonder if I’d be happy with my life so far and I wasn’t so I decided to go for something I always wanted to do and I’m glad I did.

How influential was reggae culture to you in the development of your style? Any artists?
Well I grew up around the being that my area had a mixture of so many different cultures and we all got a long so there was an influence from the stage show clashes we used to watch (at my baby-sittters) as well as when old enough going to events and hearing the music then. I used to watch a lot of the shows so people of influence back then were Capleton, Junior Reid, Ninja Man, Super Cat to name a few…

What sort of influence did jungle/drum and bass rave culture have on you as an MC growing up in London? I heard at one point you used to MC under the name BK?
Well I started out rapping very young after hearing about groups like London Posses & Gunshot and a few others who sounded to me like they were from London, (my 1st name’s Kevin so being the youngest all the time I had the name Baby Kevin aka BK) but it felt for the most part that this was an American thing so when Jungle came it felt like it was more our thing, MC’s with their own accent etc, the UK Hip Hop I heard where people put on an American accent never really sat well with me to be honest.

In the area I was living in there was a pirate station and some of my friends I rapped with used to go there so they invited me and after a number of sessions I developed a style that was more jungle MC than rapping and we were little hood stars on that station. It closed down after a few years then we managed to get on a ‘little’ pirate station in East London called Rinse FM where we had a slot and had shows along side the young Wileys’, Targets’ & Maxwell Ds’. After a while though I just lost the love for it & was hearing more Hip-Hop I was into with lyrics that I appreciated rather than Serbutio & Grand Prix lyrics. It felt like Jungle heads just wanted to hear ‘Budubudubudu’, not actual lyrics just rolling tongue so I was enjoying it anymore.

DJ Target – Mc’s, Maxwell D, Skitz,, BK (Mystro), Carmen, Wiley, Rinse FM 6th October 1996 (Audio)

How aware, how much of an influence was Stevie Hyper D to you?
I knew him well enough that he would encourage me any time we saw each other. To me, him [Stevie] and IC3 were the best at what they did in that world.

How influential were London Posse, Blak Twang, Roots Manuva?
[I knew about] London Posse from before I even knew what rapping was so it runs deep with them. And when I started to be more aware I realised how prolific Bionic was, till this day I think he’s probably the pioneer of sounding straight UK but still maintaining a style none could touch. I heard about Twang more so than Roots in the early days but in our area MCD was the main influence being from West London also. I remember before I got really ill listening to a Silent Eclipse tape of MCD’s and thinking ‘WOW this guy sounds like he lives round the corner but his rhyming is on point’, from then on I just started working on how I could use my own accent which wasn’t too yardie or cockney but still sound cool.

What do you think of the transition of Foreign Beggars from straight UK hip-hop to bass music?
Not much man. I’m not really a bass head so I don’t know. If that’s what they want let them do it I guess. I’m not in to it but I doubt that matters anyway they’re having fun.

What sort of influence did soul; jazz and funk have on you? Any artists?
A lot, my neighbour was a sax player so I grew up with a lot around me, Miles Davies, Herbey Hancock, Pharaoh Sanders are names I remember being mentioned. I still listen to a lot today for inspiration.

What was the album, artist or song that made you want to make music? (Most inspirational).
Ice Cube – Amerikkkas Most Wanted

Top 3 MCs of all time?
Black Thought, Big L, Big Pun

Top 3 albums of all time?
Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted,
The Roots – Illadelph Half Life
Big Pun – Capital Punishment

Most successful track to date?
I don’t know to be honest but the 2 people talk about the most are ‘Around My Way’ & ‘Who You Gonna Blame?’ I used to base that question off which people talk the most about but now it seems it’s to do with how many people view it on YouTube.

Mystro – Around My Way (Video)

Mystro – Who You Gonna Blame? (Video)

Plans for the future?
More LP’s and releases from my label Don’t Bizznizz and also a Radio Show/Podcast called ‘FDT Radio’ plus a BUNCH of material on my channel.

Current favourite artists?
Homeboy Sandman, Ab-Soul, Nathan Flutebox Lee.

Current projects?
‘Mystrogen’ my debut LP is out now

Be sure to check out Mystro and his various social media outlets at his website.

Words by Jamie BC

Erb N Dub logo

Erb N Dub | Artist Profile | 3rd January 2013 |

Erb N Dub is a talented producer from the South East of England, UK. He produces hard hitting, drum and bass, dubstep and drumstep and has collaborated and continues to work with a number of artists from Navigator, Skibadee, Axl Ender, Tony Anthem and Eksman.

He continues to build a number of brands and side projects, these include Hashtag – a collaboration with longtime friend KG.

Hashtag – Hurt & Pain (audio)

Erb N Heroes is a collaboration between Erb N Dub and punk band Underground Heroes, drawing on influences from dubstep, drumstep and punk.

Erb N Heroes – No Prayers caught up with Dubz for the third installment of the BC annd Urban Hit Promo collab. We discussed his past influences and what drives him as an artist.

Artist Profile: Erb N Dub

Where did your name come from?
My name came from when I was younger. Back then myself and Harry Shotta were chilling in my bedroom studio and zoning to music. We were talking about names and out of a blaze of smoke – Erb N Dub was born.

What artists inspired you to make music?
Wow there is a lot. From – The Police to Aphex Twin, to Earth Wind and Fire to Roni Size. As I come from a live drum background I took and take inspiration from everywhere.

Was there a defining moment that made you want to make music?
Not really. I grew up playing drums; it naturally evolved into producing dance music.

How influential was reggae culture to you in the development of your style? Any artists?

Very! I took massive influence in my early drumming style and then into making D&B. In 2010 I started working with Navigator. He has helped me hugely.

What sort of influence did soul, jazz and funk have on you? Any artists?
All three genres influenced my music. Quincy Jones is one of my main heroes.

What was the album, artist or song that made you want to make music? (most inspirational).
The Aphex Twin – ‘Richard D James’ album is mind blowing. After hearing that I knew I wanted to produce music.

Top 3 MCs of all time?
In D&B – Navigator, Det & Skibadee.

Top 3 DJs off all time?
In D&B – Hype, Andy C & Crissy Criss.

Top 3 Producers of all time?
In D&B – Original Sin, Dillinja & Pendulum.

Top 3 albums of all time?
Red Snapper – ‘Price Blimey’
Roni Size – ‘Reprazent’
Asian Dub Foundation – ‘Rafi’s Revenge’

What set up do you use? Any specific equipment?

I use a Mac Pro Tower. I am lucky enough to be a Steinberg endorsed artist so the most up to date version of Cubase, which is currently 7.

I use Yamaha MSP 7 monitors and Dynaudio BM6s for writing.

Most successful track to date?
Ermmmm… I’m not really sure to be honest. Most of my 2012 tracks/remixes/co labs have had a great response.

Plans for the future?
Wow…. At present I am looking to push Hashtag to the forfront of D&B, find a record deal for Erb N Heroes and release music of any genre I want as Erb N Dub.

Current favourite artists?
Metrik, Knife Party & Skism

Current projects?
Erb N Heroes

Be sure to check out Erb N Dub online at:

Words by Jamie BC.


2012 yearly round up | 30th December 2012 |

2012 has been without a doubt the most insane year ever for London music culture which has now become a global phenomenon. EDM as often referred to by our North American cousins as what we refer to as rave culture, has taken over in the States and is now officially a monster. Dubstep continued to rise and rise and we can be sure to expect more from North America in helping to grow the global ‘EDM’ monster created by us and mutated Stateside.

In 2012, London hosted the Olympic and Paralympic games, Dizzee appeared at the opening ceremony, Chemical Brothers helped Director Danny Boyle pick the music selection and we witnessed history as London hosted a games to be remembered. Jay Z played at the Paralympic closing ceremony alongside Coldplay and Rihanna and the eyes of the world were firmly on our great city. Click through the below link for the full video.

Dizzee Rascal Sequence at the Opening Ceremony – London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

The year was full other incredible highlights musically, some of ours at are below.

Delta Heavy released this massive future garage/dubstep/bass music banger on Ram. A sure fire madness if you were at a rave.

Delta Heavy – Get By

Wiley officially staked his claim as one of the biggest MCs we have ever had. He returned with a number one smash that tore up the airwaves during this summers heatwave with a track called ‘Heatwave’. Big up the man, legend in the game.

Wiley Feat. Ms D – Heatwave

Hip-hop had a strong year in 2012, a new crew on the block entered and really took peoples hearts and minds. They were a very young crew called Pro Era from Brooklyn New York who had so much skill it was unreal. Their main MC – Joey BadA$$ is phenomenal and they released the debut Joey BadA$$ mixtape ‘1999’ which was a homage to classic 90’s hip-hop and also the debut Pro Era Mixtape ‘Peep The APROcalypse’. Tragically in the last few days, another one of their lead MCs, Capital Steez passed away in suspected suicide.

Joey Bada$$ & Capital STEEZ – Survival Tactics

Joey Bada$$ Feat. CJ Fly – Hardknock

In 2012, we also got the return of Nas. The album ‘Life Is Good’ was phenomenal and definitely certified Nas as a true great. Perhaps the greatest to ever do it. 20 years in the game of rap and still at the top. Not many have achieved that accolade. The album was a goodbye letter to Kelis and tackled his difficult couple of years with divorce and financial problems.

Nas – Cherry Wine

Battle rap has really become a musical sport of its own this year. 3 leagues ran the pack, with a few more popping up. They included the Canadian league King Of The Dot, New York City based Smack URL and the UK’s own Don’t Flop. Believe us when you get into this sport, it is highly, highly addictive.

Check some of the best battles from this year to get you started.

The battle that really sparked a mainstream interest here in the UK and a video that went viral and even got TV and newspaper coverage was Mark Grist Vs Blizzard. It was dubbed a teacher vs student battle. Which it kind of was, but was an accident and it is actually quite poetic if you look at the way both rappers play their part. Mark Grist a stand up poet and Blizzard, a young grime MC, go back and forth with the wordplay. Genius.

Mark Grist Vs Blizzard (Don’t Flop)

One of Manchester and the UK’s finest rappers Shotty Horroh takes on one of the world’s best in the phenomenal display of lyricism. Arsonal Da Rebel is an animal and is by no means a pushover in one of the best battles I have witnessed.

Shotty Horroh Vs Arsonal (Don’t Flop)

Technically released at the end of 2011, but a battle that has to be seen to understand what battle rap is like going into 2013. Queens, NYC, DNA goes at it against Dizaster with Drake co-hosting the battle.

DNA vs Dizaster (King Of The Dot)

This was one of the most hyped battles ever and caused an even greater furore when legendary lyricist Canibus brought out a notepad at the event after Dizaster destroyed him bar for bar. Dangerous. Dizaster is a major problem.

Canibus Vs Dizaster (King Of The Dot)

One of the largest battle rap events to take place took place this summer. Diddy, Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip were in attendance in Webster Hall New York and legendary battle rapper Loaded Lux took on Calicoe in an event which went down in history for the famed league Smack URL.

Loaded Lux vs Calicoe (Smack URL)

Another highlight which was produced none other than our production arm – BC Productions was the release of our debut film ‘The Evolution Of A London MC’. Linking up with legendary London MC and jungle pioneer, Navigator we set about pulling together a film which documented his musical life to date and also ‘The Evolution Of A London MC’.

Navigator – The Evolution Of A London MC (part 1)

Navigator – The Evolution Of A London MC (part 2)

Leading us onto the final major highlight of 2012. #StevieHyperDDay was broadcast by Uncle Dugs on Rinse FM on October 19th and featured a radio documentary which told the story of the MCs life. Stevie was a jungle/drum and bass legend and although he passed away in July 1998, his legend will never die, he has influenced a generation of MCs and his style and influence in our culture has changed the art of the London and UK MC forever.

Stevie Hyper D – Audio Documenary

The Junglist Soldier- The Life and Times of Stevie Hyper D by Matthew Gale on Mixcloud

Words By Jamie BC.

BC blue

21st December 2012 | Weekly roundup |

Last round up for the year, next week we will try and do a year roundup to give you a summary of 2012.

First up this week, is Skiba’s debut single on Viper Recordings. Really like the tune, has that DJ Fresh vocal vibe to it. Featuring remixes from Sub Zero and Specimen A.

Skibadee feat. Lily McKenzie – Never Gonna Break

This week and late last week we got two banging new mix CDs from two other Drum & Bass elite MCs, the lyrical animal Harry Shotta and Eksman ‘definitely the best man’. Both sets, feature brand new lyrics from both MCs. Straight fire.

Harry Shotta & DJ Ruffstuff – Space Jump

Eksman & Majistrate – Indepence Day

Be sure to check out the nice rolling single from our mate Erb N Dub. Artist profile for Dubz coming soon to BC and Urban Hit. This is a free download as well, you can’t go wrong!

Erb N Dub & HD – Raised By Wolves (Feat Martyna) 2013 Mix FREE DOWNLOAD

Manchester’s Trigga spits some Shadow Demon darkness on a dub/grime vibe. Been a big fan of Trigga since One Nation raves in 1998. Another elite Drum & Bass MC.

Chimpo & Trigga – Drama (Video)

Future Drum & Bass sounds from Cyantific, typically rolling, scientific and futuristic. Nothing short of audio satisfaction. Out now on Ram Records.

Cyantific – Infinity Plus 1

A couple of bits this week from dubstep royalty and MTA records signee’s Killsonik. First up is a preview of their track on Zane Lowe’s show, ‘Slaughterhouse’ and then a preview of ‘Where The River Runs Black EP’.

Killsonik – Slaughterhouse (preview)

KillSonik – Where The River Runs Black EP [Trailer]

On much more of a mellow tip, we have Gemini’s newest release Robots with a Chrome Sparks remix. Nice vibe to it.

Gemini – Robots (Chrome Sparks Remix)

Finally and further from last week and our new fixation on battle rap. Straight out of NYC Loaded Lux and New Jersey Arsonal Da Rebel, drop some skills on the mic outside the battle arena. Both are seriously raw battle rappers. Check out their battles on YouTube.

Loaded Lux & Arsonal freestyles on Sway in the morning (Shade 45)

RackNRuin Logo

RackNRuin | Artist Profile | December 19th |

RackNRuin: Artist Profile

One of the first artists to release on the now infamous independent label – Black Butter Records. RackNRuin is an artist to keep your eyes on. ‘Righteous’ with Navigator, Illaman and Serocee along with ‘Territory’ featuring Navigator and Slarta John (Basement Jaxx) were two of the first release on Black Butter and since he has collaborated with P Money and been dubbed by DJ Magazine ‘”One of the most exciting producers working in the UK Bass scene…”

In this artist profile, a further collaboration between Vancouver, Canada based company Urban Hit Promotions, we get to find out what influenced this artist and what his plans are for the future.

RackNRuin – ‘Righteous’ ft Serocee, Navigator & Illaman

RackNRuin – ‘Territory’ ft Navigator & Slarta John

Hackney, London.

Where did your name come from?
An old English saying that I thought fitted my sound!

What artists inspired you to make music?
The Clash, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson.

Was there a defining moment that made you want to make music?
When I bought decks and started buying vinyl. And then hearing all the underground UK sounds.

How influential was reggae culture to you in the development of your style? Any artists?
Played a big part in my productions over the years. Sampling roots and dub has helped me develop my sound. People like Horace Andy, King Tubby etc… Modern reggae & basement also influence my style a lot.

How influential is rave culture to your style? Any specific artists or albums?
Very influential. jungle, d&b and garage all were massive influences. Albums like Roni Size – Reprazent and Adam F – Colours.

What was the album, artist or song that made you want to make music? (Most inspirational).
Too hard to say! Probably a Michael Jackson tune…

Top 3 DJs off all time?
Jazzy Jeff, Jackmaster, Klose One.

Top 3 Producers of all time?
Quincy Jones, Phil Spector, Photek.

Top 3 albums of all time?
Michael Jackson – Thriller, Notorious BIG – BIG, Wu Tang Clan – 36 Chambers.

What set up do you use? Any specific equipment?
Logic, loads of soft synths and a Micro KORG XL.

Most successful track(s) to date?
RackNRuin ft P Money – ‘Signal’

RackNRuin ft. Jessie Ware – ‘Soundclash’

Plans for the future?
Carry on with RackNRuin and my new project with Foamo: Gorgon City. As well as producing for other people.

Current favourite artists?
Dusky, Gorgon City, Kidnap Kid.

Current projects?
RackNRuin releases on Digital Soundboy, Black Butter and the collaborative project with Foamo.

RackNRuin Twitter
RackNRuin Facebook

Don’t forget to check out the free download from RackNRuin available now.

Words by Jamie BC

Photo by Joe Sanka - Notting Hill Carnival 2011

Drum and Bass MCs on tracks (part 2) | Weekly Features |

As I said in part 1 I am a massive fan of the jungle/drum & bass MC. The skill, the delivery, the stage presence and that feeling when you are at a rave in London or wherever round the world when everything comes in sync together. It is something which is magic, like when Nas is with Premier or Rakim is with Eric B when the music fits the lyricist. Believe me and those that know, know it is a next vibe altogether.

Photo by Joe Sanka - Notting Hill Carnival 2011

However, one thing bugs me as I mentioned in the first part. Jungle and drum & bass is a cultural phenomenon but unfortunately the MC has never risen to the heady heights of Andy C, Chase & Status, Sub Focus, Roni Size, Pendulum and Goldie.

The origin does lie with the split in the scene. When jungle became drum & bass, the elite did make a decision to cut out the ragga vocal. The MCs (from a soundsystem background) such as Ragga Twins, Navigator and even General Levy (of ‘Incredible’ fame) who were amongst the elite of the time were pushed to the back. Lets not forget the classic jungle track from Shy FX featuring UK Apache ‘Original Nuttah’. This was an MC based track. Again with a ragga vocal.

M Beat feat. General Levy – Incredible

Shy FX feat. UK apache – Original Nuttah

Jungle was ‘street’ music and whilst born out of the rave scene, it was embraced by the council estates and former soundsystem attendees, it ran the streets and airwaves via Kool FM and various other pirates. The problems with the intertwining of the ragga world with the hardcore rave world were evident. Guns were in clubs, producers were sampling ragga vocals without permission and the divide between the producer and the MC widened.

Lets be real, jungle could have been our version of hip-hop and it could have been an MC led genre. Driven by soundboys. It could have been what grime ended up being. It could have blown up how drum and bass did but with a vocal element that was unique to London. It didn’t. And it didn’t much like So Solid’s reign stopped dead. That was one reason. Violence. Everyone ran scared. But I mean f@cking hell that was in 94. That is nearly 20 years ago.

A new skool of MCs came forth around 95/96. Stevie Hyper D, Shabba, Skibadee, Det and Fearless were amongst the MCs who took the limelight. Later followed by rave MCs such as Foxy, Fatman D, Eksman, Herbzie, Shortston, Funsta, Harry Shotta and eventually Evil B. The pace had predominantly changed from a halftime ragga flow to the double time style pioneered by Stevie and co. The style was unique, embraced by DJs, promoters such as Telepathy and One Nation and the producers style with tracks such as ‘Chopper’ by Ray Keith (Shy FX remix) in 96 and even Bad Company’s ‘The Pulse’ in 99 fitted the flow and style perfectly. With tracks not being vocal based, the MCs filled the void nicely.

There were of course still the host MCs such as the legendary GQ and Rage who held it down for a number of the big events such as Movement at Bar Rumba, Tru Playaz and Ram at The End.

Ray Keith with Skibadee b2b Shabba- Telepathy ’96

When the legendary Stevie Hyper D passed away in July 1998, a leader was lost, a visionary and someone who given the chance may well have given MCs the limelight they deserve. He was signed to Island when he passed, his debut album was due to be released later that year and the A&R that signed him is responsible for the success of Amy Winehouse, get some perspective on what could’ve been there. At this time, alot of the scene’s followers moved to the burgeoning UK Garage sound. Check the below interview for a snapshot of Stevie’s vision and some footage of him performing.

Note: will be exploring the impact of Stevie Hyper D on the UK MC in the near future. Watch this space.

Stevie Hyper D – One Nation 97 video footage (interview and performance)

That lasted until 2001/2 when the vocal made a huge impact. ‘Mo’ Fire’ By Rawhill, ‘Shake Your Body’ By Shy FX & T Power (and later ‘Don’t Wanna Know’ Featuring Skibadee) and finally ‘LK’ by Marky & XRS feat. Stamina MC brought vocals right to the forefront. Here is where the vocal and the producer laid the foundation for the DJ Fresh/Chase & Status classics of the last few years.

Shy Fx & T Power feat. Di & Skibadee – Don’t Wanna Know

Dj Marky and XRS feat. Stamina MC – LK

But where did it go from here? Watch this space as we explore the divide between the producer and the MC further?

Words by Jamie BC.

Photo by Joseph Sanka at Notting Hill Carnival 2011.