I know I’m supposed to get with the programme and post lots of summery sunshiny kick-back and relax type of music. But being the rebel that I am, I’ve decided to refresh your memories and drop a couple of hard-ass joints on your ears. The early 90s in the UK saw a phenomenon that’s usually termed “Britcore”, even if I don’t really like the name. By this people mean the appearance of a rough and raw sound, a wall of noise consisting of sirens, gunshots and often just a huge racket to create just the background to spout fast-paced lyrics of frustration, war and battle imagery, general pissed-off-ness and anything else that sounds hard and grimey (I’m generalizing a bit). Also, as a new thing, some of the cats started rapping in their own British dialects instead of mimicking an American accent. It seemed like hip-hop was finally setting foot onto the islands but it would be a long time before big labels and the public would finally embrace hip-hop made in the UK the way they did with US productions. Some of the names I’m going to cover in my new mini-series is Hardnoise/Son of Noise, Gunshot, Hijack, Silver Bullet and Blade. Here’s an excellent outline of the era, for those who want to find out more.
This post will start out with one of my favourites, namely with Son of Noise, a group that probably best exemplifies the struggle for a record deal and attention that most groups in the UK went through at the time. They started out as Hardnoise, made up of DJ Son, DJ Nyce D, DJ AJ, DJ Mada, and on the mics there were TLP1 and Gemini. They released but a few singles on Simon Harris’ Music of Life label (I’ll post the few that I have as well as two compilations from that label) and then disbanded. DJ Son and his brother DJ Mada, newly joined by Curoc (aka Q-Roc, as he called himself when he was still with Gunshot) and Blade’s former DJ Renegade became Son of Noise and soon got the attention of the Kold Sweat label, which released their first album The Mighty Son of Noise. The album has evolved quite a bit from the rugged sound of Hardnoise to include some melodic bits, hooks and a really funky soundscape. A classic in UK hip-hop that I’m proud to own on vinyl.
Son of Noise – The Mighty Son of Noise (1992)
Unfortunately, the crew soon wasn’t comfortable on the label anymore and left. They then decided to release their second album on their own Little Raschool imprint in 1996, the album aptly titled Access Denied: Bullsh*t & Politics pt. 1. The album may not have the bangers they had on their first album, but it’s still worth giving a spin. Unfortunately, there has never been a pt. 2 to this one. The group practically doesn’t exist anymore, even though the people are still around. To find out more about them and listen to some of their classic material, hit them up on their pages and spaces (links below).
Son of Noise – Access Denied: Bullsh*t and Politics pt. 1 (1996)
Next up: Gunshot