Tuesday, June 24, 2008

An England Story: The Culture Of The MC In The UK 1984-2008

In my band, we are lucky to have a real North London-born and bred, Tottenham Hotspur supporting, baked beans on toast MC named Roy Radics. He's added a whole new element to our songs and our live performances. The greatest thing about playing with Roy is his passion and energy and his encyclopedic knowledge about every UK MC and reggae band. There are very few songs or performers he has not heard and he has a huge collection of 12", dub plates and CDs. I love that he brings a touch of UK MC culture to our sound and tends to leave audiences who know us cheering for more and causes mouths to open and jaws to drop in places where 2-Tone ska, reggae and MC's are not heard very regularly. Through him I've listened to and learned a lot more about the UK reggae scene and English MC's in particular. Roy has told me stories about following the Saxon Sound System around London as a youth in the 80's and 90's and his love for Tippa Irie and Papa Levi. Now that I've heard them, I know where Roy gets his style from.

Here is a video of Tippa Irie and the Saxon Sound System from the 80's:

Here is an interview and performance of Papa Levi and the Saxon Sound System

Jamaican MCing - also known as toasting, chatting, and, confusingly, deejaying - has been around since the late Sixties. As Jamaica's DJs invested in ever grander and louder equipment, the sound systems sought to outdo each other with both raw power and exclusive material. This led not only to the invention of the modern remix, but also the rise of the live MC, whose job was to enliven the crowd and insult rivals. Jamaican expats in New York took these elements and turned them into something new: hip-hop. In Britain, though, their localisation was slower, more subtle, and truer to their roots.

Now there is a recording that provides a whole history of the MC in the UK called "An England Story - The Culture of the MC in the UK 1984-2008 that shows the links and musical path from the arrival of UK Dancehall and Soundsystems in the early 1980s, through successive musical movements such as Jungle, UK Hip-Hop, and today's Garage, Grime and Dubstep. An England Story started life as a mix by the DJ duo the Heatwave (Gabriel Myddelton and Gervase de Wilde) who wanted to make an aural history of the British reggae MC.

You can download the whole mix here:
An England Story - The Culture of the MC in the UK 1984 - 2008

Here is the song tracking:

YT - England Story, Sleng Teng remix (Sativa Records, 2006)
Kenny Knots - Watch How The People Dancing (Unity Sounds, 1986)
Ackie - Call Me Rambo (Heavyweight, 1986)
Rodney P - Riddim Killa (Low Life, 2002)
Estelle & Joni Rewind - Uptown Top Rankin' (Ill Flava, 2002)
Blak Twang - Red Letters (Blakjam, 1998)
Top Cat - Love Me Ses (Dance Vibes, 1988)
Glamma Kid - Fashion Magazine (Mafia & Fluxy, 1995)
General Levy - The Wig (Fashion, 1992)
Tubby T - Ready She Ready (Big League, 2003)
LD aka Da Riddla - Peace Ah Dat (Freedom Sounds, 2004)
Apache Indian - Chok There, Bombay remix (Island, 1993)
Jay Sean, Juggy D & Rishi Rich - Dance With You, Diwali remix (Relentless, 2003)
Dynamite MC & Emptyheads - Shake, Jstar remix (Surface2air, 2006)
Troublesome - More Girls, R'n'B mix (Mafia & Fluxy, 2000)
Yungun - Push (Heatwave special, 2005)
Shizzle - Rotate Dem (Kray Twinz, 2006)
Roll Deep - When I'm 'Ere (Relentless, 2005)
Slew Dem feat Jammer, G Man, Shorty Smalls, Ears, Chronik, Kraze & Knuckles - Joy Ride (Slew Dem, 2006)
Rossi B & Luca - Run 4 Cover (white label, 2005)
Klashnekoff - Jamrock Freestyle (white label, 2005)
Tippa Irie - Complain Neighbour (UK Bubblers, 1985)
Papa Levi - My God My King (Taxi, 1984)
Tenor Fly - Bump & Grind (9 Lives, 1994)
Massive Attack - Daydreaming (Wild Bunch, 1990)
Skibadee - Tika Toc (Ahead Of The Game, 2006)
Lady Sovereign & Riko - Random, Menta remix (Casual, 2004)
Dizzee Rascal - I Luv U (XL Recordings, 2003)
Lady Stush - Dollar Sign (Social Circles, 2002)
Warrior Queen & Sunship - Almighty Father (Casual, 2004)
Tricky - Hell Is Round The Corner (Fourth & Broadway, 1995)
Suncycle - Somebody (Jamdown, 2004)
Blackout JA & Marley - Hot Show (Ball A Fire Muzik, 2004)
Navigator & Freestylers - Ruffneck (Freskanova, 1998)
General Levy & M-Beat - Incredible (Renk, 1994)
UK Apachi & Shy FX - Original Nuttah, Bhangra Jungle remix (SOUR, 1994)
Top Cat, Shy FX & T Power - Everyday (Digital Soundboy, 2006)
Jakes & TC - Deep (DSR, 2006)
Smiley Culture - Police Officer (Fashion, 1984)
Jah Screechy - Walk & Skank (Blacker Dread, 1984)


Ni├▒oMurcielago said...

Great blog!!!!
Where can i get some songs of your bands? and, asking some more, do you know some american bands like freestylers, dreadzone, dub pistols, reggae-electronic bands?
Thanks a lot and sorry about my english......

Anonymous said...

Download link is dead. Do you have a mirror?
Great read by the way & the vids are classic.

Marco On The Bass said...

Sorry the link is dead. I don't host a lot of the links on the blog.