Blogariddims 40: John Eden & Grievous Angel present grime in the dancehall

74 minute special! Lyrical onslaught! Shocking out!

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00:00 Introduction
00:26 Neckle Camp feat. Jammer, Rinse FM
01:02 Turbulence acapella
02:06 Turbulence – Notorious (THC Muzik 7”) 2005
02:40 Trim & Radioclit – Turbulence remix (from Soulfood vol 1) 2007
06:45 Richie Spice – Marijuana (from Spice In Your Life 2004)
08:25 Jammer – Burning (from Are You Dumb vol 2) 2007
10:45 Bob Marley and the Wailers – So Much Trouble in the World (from Survival, 1979)
14:05 Mercston – Trouble (from Da End of Da Beginning) 2006
16:31 Skepta – Blood, Sweat and Tears (from Greatest Hits) 2007
19:32 All In One – Flows (from Bless Beats – A Hard Days Graft) 2008
21:14 Frisco – Skeng Man Mode (from Peng Food) 2008
23:24 Slix – Maniac (from Down vol 1) 2006
26:12 Neckle Camp feat Jammer, Rinse FM
27:39 Baby Cham & Mister Easy – Funny Man (Mad House 7”) 1996
28:53 Lady Saw – Sycamore Tree (Mad House 7”) 1996
30:01 Frisco Kid – Rubbers (Mad House 7”) 1996
31:05 Buju Banton – How It Ago Go (Mad House 7”) 1996
32:08 Tanya Stephens – Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet (Mad House 7”) 1996
33:37 Slew Dem – Joyride Vocal (Slewdem Productions 12”) 2005
35:13 Dutty Doogz – Pum Pum Stealer (Night Flight 12”) 2003
36:35 Harry Toddler – Good Good (Night Flight 12”) 2003
36:49 Flow Dan – Galist (Night Flight 12”) 2003
37:16 Jamaka Bi – Zoom 4 Pum (Night Flight 12”) 2003
39:15 Kano and Vybz Kartel – Buss It Up (679 7”) 2006
43:16 Neckle Camp feat. Jammer, Rinse FM
44:01 Yami Bolo – Top Shotta (Black Diamonds 7”) 2002
45:48 Junior Reid – Rise Up (Black Diamonds 7”) 2002
46:32 Half Pint – Bounce (Black Diamonds 7”) 2002
47:37 Lukie D – One In Ten (Black Diamonds 7”) 2002
49:12 Rossi B and Luka – Nobody Knows (from The Legacy EP, Heavy Artillery 12”) 2007
51:29 Ini Kamoze – World a Reggae Music (from Sly and Robbie’s Taxi Sound, Auralux LP) 1984
53:03 Rossi B and Luka – Run 4 Cover instrumental (12” white label) 2005
53:48 Rossi B and Luka feat. Nasty Crew – Run 4 Cover (12” white label) 2005
56:45 Neckle Camp feat. Jammer, Rinse FM
57:13 Breeze – Ice Rink (Wiley Kat 12”) 2003
59:16 Tinchy Stryder – Ice Rink (Wiley Kat 12”) 2003
60:36 Kano – Ice Rink (Wiley Kat 12”) 2003
63:56 Riko – Ice Rink (Wiley Kat 12”) 2003
65:58 Sizzla – Give Me A Try (from Rise to the Occasion) 2003
67:18 Jammer – Give Me a Try (from Are You Dumb vol 2) 2006
71:04 Sizzla Vs Rhianna – Give Me A Try (remix) 2007

It’s war on the streets! Young people, out of their minds on hi-grade skunk and turkey twizzlers run amok on the buses, traveling free courtesy of insane communist overlord Ken Livingstone! No alley is safe, no tower block lobby can evade the evil mob of grunting hooded young thugs happy-slapping decency into the gutter of Brown’s Britain!

At the root of this epidemic of anarchy is the unholy trinity of the Playstation, liberal do-gooders and menacing Grime Music. Yes, that’s right, Grime Music, which is made entirely on Playstations by CONVICTED CRIMINALS beaming their amoral message into YOUR CHILDREN’S SKULLS. Grime Music cannot be heard by adults, the SINISTER SOCIOPATHS behind it have ensured that its atonal rhythms can only be picked up by the tender ears of stoned kids.

And as for the words…

I got into Grime via Dancehall and Reggae but I was never sure if the lines I was drawing between the two were actually there. Certainly it’s easy to see the similarities – MCing over mad riddims about what is happening on the streets, pirate radio, lyrical beefs, aggro, girls. Bass.

That made me happy, but I felt like an old fart saying it – “ooh it were a bit like this in my day! We used to love having a dance around the gramophone at the weekend to a bit of reggae”. Plus it seemed like a lot of grime fans and producers saw jungle as ancient history – further back than that things got blurry – prehistoric stuff best left to archaeologists.

Turns out I was worrying unduly, I just had to listen a bit more instead of making things up in my head. When I reviewed “An England Story” in The Wire I mentioned that Grime was the point at which cockney, yardie and a heap of other influences converged to form a new dialect which was pure London 21st Century. Those other influences include a tonne of African language and culture, but Jamaica is always there in the background – bashment patois being a fearsome weapon in the armories of Riko, Flowdan and Killa P to name but three.

And the ancestry isn’t just cultural – it’s genetic in some instances. Grime don Jammer has talked about his dad being involved with soundsystems and counts Benjamin Zephaniah as a family friend. Trim’s mentioned his father being a reggae artist. When rising star Skepta was interviewed for Woofah he went out of his way to talk about how great Ninjaman’s flow is. Through my nerdy glasses it looks like JA music has had just as much, if not more influence on Grime than hip hop has.

Grime Mixtapes are a weird artifact – 20 track CDs of often variable quality. It’s been argued they came to prominence when the raves started getting shut down and there was nowhere to go to jump around to riddims juggled on 12″ vinyl anymore. The two best things about mixtapes is their price (6 quid for an hour of music), and the space they give MCs to experiment with different styles, moods. They are an arena which allow the various influences on Grime to emerge, which allows opportunists like me to join up the dots.

Gathering together all the reggae influenced grime I could find and jiggling it about has been great fun, but as usual I owe everything to Paul’s technical skills in making it coherent. The original idea behind this mix was to create a gateway drug for reggae and dancehall fans – to seduce them into Grime. Right now I’m just happy to play the thing over and over again to myself and smile.

There is a lot we left out, and there is a fair bit which has come out since we finished as well. Not all Grime is as reggaefied as this by any means, so see this mix as a little glimpse at how things work in our heads – our personal selection.

Paul’s comments on the tracks and the blends and mixes are now up over at his place.

Track by Track

00:00 Introduction
00:26 Neckle Camp feat. Jammer, Rinse FM

I dunno where to start with Jammer, except to say we had to start with Jammer!

01:02 Turbulence acapella
02:06 Turbulence – Notorious (THC Muzik 7”) 2005
02:40 Trim & Radioclit – Turbulence remix (from Soulfood vol 1) 2007

Turbulence is from JA, Trim is out of East London and grime super-crew Roll Deep, and Radioclit are French.

I first heard Turbulence on a few Xterminator 7″ around 2000 time, but Notorious was a bolt out of the blue when it was released. It featured at the climax of the mix me and Paul did for BBC Radio Lancashire’s legendary On The Wire Show. I first heard Trim’s take on it on the way to work. Standing on the platform at Liverpool Street, mouth open, other commuters barging past me. Trim is lyrically out there even by Lee Perry’s standards – seriously deep, meandering stream of consciousness stuff which gets better the more you let yourself into his world. Investigate.

06:45 Richie Spice – Marijuana (from Spice In Your Life 2004)
08:25 Jammer – Burning (from Are You Dumb vol 2) 2007

Richie Spice gets refixed by a dubstep producer who shall remain nameless, Jammer leaps on board – inserting his flow in the gaps. Which is exactly how U Roy intensified the whole deejay thing in Jamaica – busting his rhymes in the spaces on old Treasure Isle rocksteady tunes to nice up the dance.

10:45 Bob Marley and the Wailers – So Much Trouble in the World (from Survival, 1979)
14:05 Mercston – Trouble (from Da End of Da Beginning) 2006

Tip of the hat to Paul for all his little touches here. And a doff of the cap to Mercston. What I like about this is Mercston’s denial of politics at the end of such a great conscious tirade. Grime isn’t usually the arena for people to bang on about international affairs or the Iraq war, but like a lot of great music its strength is its ability to articulate the concerns of working class urban yoot, which is probably more relevant in any case.

16:31 Skepta – Blood, Sweat and Tears (from Greatest Hits) 2007

Continuing the conscious theme, Skepta comes correct with some nice reggae references and good anti-gun sentiments. There’s a bit of schizophrenia in a lot of grime artists’ repertoires, which is another thing in common with dancehall. Skepta is probably best known for his “god forgive me if I bust my nine / If you diss my Mum then you’ve crossed the line” bars but here is coming on all responsible. This isn’t anarchopunk so I don’t think anyone expects the artists to have a rigid ideological framework for their lyrics and there is a playfulness to the MCs’ personae that I think outsiders can often miss.

19:32 All In One – Flows (from Bless Beats – A Hard Days Graft) 2008
21:14 Frisco – Skeng Man Mode (from Peng Food) 2008

Some more great mixing from Paul here – can you spot the transition between the tunes? Wicked riddim from Bless Beats who is out of Wiley’s Eskibeat camp – the minimalism here is so effective you don’t want it to end and it’s yet another grime riddim you want to come out on a 12″ doublepack so you can mix it up all night long. Anyway Frisco’s kindly warning everyone here that he is likely to go a bit mental on occasion, so people better watch out. One of the more awkward incidents in grime radio was the recent on air meet up between Frisco and some guy who had been openly sharing his whole mixtape online.

23:24 SlixManiac (from Down vol 1) 2006

Impossible to argue with this – stupendous riddim from Maniac, the teenage producer interviewed in Woofah issue 1, with vocals from Slix out of premier league crew Ruff Sqwad. As I’ve said before – the skank on this is ridiculously compelling and should knock any scepiticism from reggae fans who have listened this far into a cocked hat.

26:12 Neckle Camp feat Jammer, Rinse FM
27:39 Baby Cham & Mister Easy – Funny Man (Mad House 7”) 1996
28:53 Lady Saw – Sycamore Tree (Mad House 7”) 1996
30:01 Frisco Kid – Rubbers (Mad House 7”) 1996
31:05 Buju Banton – How It Ago Go (Mad House 7”) 1996
32:08 Tanya Stephens – Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet (Mad House 7”) 1996
33:37 Slew Dem – Joyride Vocal (Slewdem Productions 12”) 2005

Getting a more bashy than reggae here with the exhumation of one of Dave Kelly’s classic riddims – in fact forget that – one of the classic 90s riddims full stop. Paul manages to include some records I feel guilty about owning, submerging Baby Cham and Mr Easy’s less than enlightened lyrics under Lady Saw’s dextrous verbal assault. Tanya also puts her hand over Buju’s potty mouth and basically gives all the boastful geezers a well deserved tongue lashing. You go, girl!

Slew Dem purloin the riddim for an epic pass the mic session of adrenalised geezers staking their claims.

35:13 Dutty Doogz – Pum Pum Stealer (Night Flight 12”) 2003
36:35 Harry Toddler – Good Good (Night Flight 12”) 2003
36:49 Flow Dan – Galist (Night Flight 12”) 2003
37:16 Jamaka Bi – Zoom 4 Pum (Night Flight 12”) 2003

When Woebot used to write about grime, this is the sort of thing he used to cover. There are clear lines between this and contemporary dancehall, not least because of the format – several sides of vinyl all featuring different MCs on the same riddim. Also Harry Toddler is an actual JA deejay who came up the rankings with Elephant Man when they started out in Scare Dem Crew in the late 90s.

One of the weirdest thing about the actual records is the labels, which are pretty gynaecological photos of… well, some lady’s pum pum innit. I can see the consistency and honesty in that, but it’s not something to leave on the decks really. What confuses me is why someone has gone to the trouble of sticking little gold stars onto some of them as if to prevent offending minors and the innocent. Or is it like a gold star to say “well done”?

Dutty Doogz, is now Durrty Goodz – cover star of Woofah issue 2. Flowdan is a Roll Deep stalwart who has also done major damage with The Bug.

This section actually features me doing a bit of proper vinyl juggling for a change – sometimes these things just work out ok…

39:15 Kano and Vybz Kartel – Buss It Up (679 7”) 2006

I think this ranks as the first actual vinyl collaboration between a grime MC and a JA bashment one and it’s pretty damn good into the bargain. Kano has had a disastrous foray into mainstream label middleground output which pleases nobody. “Buss It Up” is much more like it.

43:16 Neckle Camp feat. Jammer, Rinse FM
44:01 Yami Bolo – Top Shotta (Black Diamonds 7”) 2002
45:48 Junior Reid – Rise Up (Black Diamonds 7”) 2002
46:32 Half Pint – Bounce (Black Diamonds 7”) 2002
47:37 Lukie D – One In Ten (Black Diamonds 7”) 2002
49:12 Rossi B and Luca – Nobody Knows (from The Legacy EP, Heavy Artillery 12”) 2007

It amuses me that some people try to establish their reggae credentials by slagging off UB40 or Shaggy or Sean Paul, all of whom have made some brilliant records in their time and are held in high esteem by the reggae industry and fans in Jamaica.

One example of this is veteran producer Fat Eyes grabbing the riddim for “One In Ten” a few years back and getting a selection of foundation singers to voice it. Yami Bolo kicks things off with a message to all the badmen, whilst Junior Reid exhorts us all to stand up for truth and rights. Half Pint brings us back down to earth with an enthusiastic invitation to get down in the dancehall, and then Lukie D polishes off the selection with his take on Birmingham’s finest conscious anthem.

Which leads us nicely to Rossi B and Luka’s take on the tune. Nobody seems to have a bad word to say about these two – and the way manage to straddle both dubstep and grime is maybe a signal that garage various offspring are now ready to regroup. There are so many dodgy producers who grab a bit of reggae in the vain hope that a bit of “yard cred” will redeem their rubbish tunes that you forget sometime that some people actually know what they are doing. I guess that’s what this mix is about and we make no apologies for include two Rossi B and Luca productions here – they are dons at this and you should check out their releases every time you see them. Also check the myspace for mixes aplenty.

51:29 Ini Kamoze – World a Reggae Music (from Sly and Robbie’s Taxi Sound, Auralux LP) 1984
53:03 Rossi B and Luca – Run 4 Cover instrumental (12” white label) 2005
53:48 Rossi B and Luca feat. Nasty Crew – Run 4 Cover (12” white label) 2005

Damien Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” was a very welcome salvo of commercial one drop in 2005. I only hope Ini K got some decent dunza from being used as source material. So here is the original, an astounding bit of Sly and Robbie business from immediately before the whole world went digital.

Rossi B and Luca’s take is pretty brutal, not least because of the addition of Nasty Crew. NASTY apparently stands for Natural Artistic Sounds Touching You and I’ll leave you to be the judge of whether or not the excellently named Nasty Jack, Kassimo, Stormin and Teddy Brukshot live up to the acronym. The sheer energy here is stunning. I’m still kicking myself for walking out of Shoosh early and missing a set from Nasty Crew founder Marcus Nasty…

56:45 Neckle Camp feat. Jammer, Rinse FM
57:13 Breeze – Ice Rink (Wiley Kat 12”) 2003
59:16 Tinchy Stryder – Ice Rink (Wiley Kat 12”) 2003
60:36 Kano – Ice Rink (Wiley Kat 12”) 2003
63:56 Riko – Ice Rink (Wiley Kat 12”) 2003

Woo yeah! Back in da day Wiley was running tings with whacked out minimal riddims and everyone was begging for rewinds at his Eski dances and all that. Except me, obviously, I was listening to reggae and studiously ignoring it all on the grounds that I couldn’t afford a new vinyl addiction.

Paul really excells himself here. Even if you’ve played your copies of Ice Rink to death I think his mashup of 4 takes on the riddim are well worth a listen. Breeze is an original back-in-the-day Pay As U Go Cartel – the crew who kinda mutated into the juggernaut known as Roll Deep. I don’t know much about him tho. Ruff Sqwad member Tinchy Stryder must have been still at school when his cut was done? His voice has come on some in the last 5 years – the Cloud 9 mixtape is his latest release and is good. As I said above Riko has an incredible yardie flow going on his intense hatred of informers is legendary. This tune also makes an appearance on the “An England Story” comp which no doubt you have all picked up by now, but here we have Paul chopping away on the crossfader like a man possessed. There are another 4 vocals on Ice Rink but I’ve not been able to get hold of them for anything resembling a sensible price.

65:58 Sizzla – Give Me A Try (from Rise to the Occasion) 2003
67:18 Jammer – Give Me a Try (from Are You Dumb vol 2) 2006
71:04 Sizzla Vs Rhianna – Give Me A Try (remix) 2007

And so we finish things off with some nice garridge flava. Jammer pushes all our buttons once again, nice-ing up the place with Rihanna and Sizzla providing back up.