Tag Archives: London Posse

New Joint – Rodney P

rodney p pic

Rodney P – “The Next Chapter” (@Tru_Thoughts / 2019)

UK legend Rodney P drops a new bubbler on the Tru Thoughts label, drawing on both his personal experience and past history whilst looking forward to the future, dropping words of wisdom throughout for both older heads and the younger generation.

New Joint – GreenCryptoKnight aka Bionic

GreenCryptoKnight aka Bionic- “Superman” (@BootRecordsUK / 2019)

UK Hip-Hop pioneer and original London Posse member Bionic drops his inimitable rude-boy flow on this dope Jazz T / Zygote-produced cut.

size? sessions – London Posse

Footage of the legendary London Posse performing recently at Carnaby Street’s size? store, with Rodney P, Bionic and DJ Biznizz also discussing some old-school Covent Garden memories.

New Joint – FRSHRZ / Rodney P

FRSHRZ ft. Rodney P – “LDN Posse” (@FRSHRZ / 2016)

UK trio Skandouz, Dray Styles and Artcha salute Rodney P and Bionic of the legendary London Posse for their contributions to the British Hip-Hop scene.

Original London Style – Rodney P / Bionic

Rodney P and Bionic of the mighty London Posse pay tribute to their late, great human beatbox Sipho at the recent “Breakin’ The Bay” event in Cardiff.

London Style – Rodney P

Footage of UK OG Rodney P on Westside Radio with DJ Payro and Drez discussing his London Posse days and much more.

Under The Influence Documentary Trailer – Rodney P

Footage from the upcoming documentary “Under The Influence” which aims to highlight the origins of the Hip-Hop, soul and reggae scenes in the UK, with London Posse legend Rodney P appearing in this trailer discussing his early musical memories.

New Joint – Rodney P / Rebel Diaz / Logic etc.

Rodney P ft. Rebel Diaz, Logic, Big Frizzle & Renee Soul – “Revolution” (Global Faction / 2013)

New music from the veteran UK emcee and London Posse legend.

Skooled By – Ty

Veteran UK emcee Ty takes some inspiration from homegrown legend Rodney P in this latest episode of SBTV’s “Skooled By”.

Straight To The Point – DJ 279 / Rodney P

True-school UK radio vet DJ 279 talks to homegrown legend Rodney P about his personal Hip-Hop history as part of UKHH.Com’s “Straight To The Point” series.

Skooled By – Rodney P

London Posse legend Rodney P introduces the first episode of his new ten-part SBTV series “Skooled By”.

Unstoppable Documentary Trailer – Rodney P / Cookie Crew / MC Mell’O’ etc.

Trailer for the forthcoming “Unstoppable” documentary which looks at the early roots of the London Hip-Hop scene and features Rodney P, Cookie Crew, Family Quest, MC Duke, Skam One and more.

Original London Style – London Posse

Short documentary-style trailer for the forthcoming Tru Thoughts re-release of Rodney P and Bionic’s influential classic 1990 album “Gangster Chronicle”.

UK Hip-Hop Honours 2012 TV Trailer – MCM / Ty / Rodney P etc.

Held in London back in December, footage of the UK Hip-Hop Honours 2012 event will be screened on Vox Africa (Sky Channel 218) tomorrow night with appearances from Caveman’s MCM, London Posse’s Rodney P and more.

Bad Meaning Good Documentary – Tim Westwood / London Posse / Run DMC etc.

“Bad Meaning Good” is a documentary put together by current Radio 1 ‘big dog’ Tim Westwood which originally aired in 1987 on BBC TV here in the UK – at the time the film was shown it was ground-breaking to see British Hip-Hop figures such as London Posse, Cookie Crew and Crazy Noddy on mainstream television – vintage footage alert!

Watch The Sound Mixtape Download – DJ Ideal & Fidel Cutstro

Dope Hip-Hop reggae mix full of blends, cuts and classic back-in-the-day vibes from the likes of Mega Banton, Demon Boyz, Capleton and more – push up ya lighter here.

Old To The New Q&A – Marc Mac (Visioneers)

London-based producer Marc Mac has made a career out of drawing on a variety of influences in order to leave an indelible mark on a number of musical genres, from jungle to Hip-Hop. As a member of pioneering drum & bass outfit 4hero the UK studio wizard received a Mercury Music Prize nomination for the group’s 1998 album “Two Pages”, a ground-breaking project which further cemented Mac’s reputation as a master of defying categorisation.

Mac returned to his roots in 2006 with the release of the brilliant Visioneers album “Dirty Old Hip-Hop”, which found the producer utilising a talented band of musicians to create true-school soundscapes that captured the essence of golden-era beats and rhymes whilst still retaining a fresh appeal.

With the recently released sophomore Visioneers album “Hipology”, Mac has once again joined forces with his sonic allies to craft music that succeeds in its mission to fill its creative grooves with the spirit of the many influences that make up the album’s cover collage, including everything from classic Hip-Hop record labels to Spike Lee movies and iconic 80s toys.

Here, Marc Mac gives some insight into why a small selection of the many artists, events and logos featured on the “Hipology” cover had such an impact on his life.

Seminal 1983 Hip-Hop flick “Wild Style”:

“If you were to think of what would be in an essential Hip-Hop tool-kit, I always think that “Wild Style” would have to be a part of that kit. Back in the day it was almost like you had to have seen that movie if you wanted to be in the crew. To me that film really showed the roots of the culture and it brought all the elements of the culture together, showing the emcees, the graffiti artists on the trains, the dancers, the deejays, it really showed the blueprint of what Hip-Hop was about. At the time in London I was surrounded by sound-system culture and for me I was aspiring to be a part of one of those sound-systems in some way, but watching “Wild Style” definitely helped me draw some parallels between what was happening in the film with the music and the graffiti and what some people were doing in the UK at that time. Plus, the actual phrase “Wild Style” has kind of carried on throughout my life in my music, because the wild style concept in graffiti was about taking the art to a different place and really putting your individual stamp on what you were doing, which is something that I’ve always tried to do with my music in terms of approaching things differently and from a new angle that people might not expect.”

Early-80s arcade game Defender:

“People sometimes talk about an album or a film being a backdrop to a period in their life, but back in the 80s it was the sound of Defender for me (laughs). My parents worked at a youth centre so I used to have the priviledge of watching the new games getting wheeled in. But at the time I was almost too small to see the screens of these huge arcade machines once they were set-up, so it was really the noises and sounds that came from the games that I remember most from that time. I used to stand next to the machines and hear the noises and wonder what was happening on the screen, and then I’d see the hands of the older guys who were playing them just constantly moving really fast (laughs). But the memories of that particular game really stayed with me, being in the youth centre, watching people play those games, the older kids would have the boombox set-up playing some electro, and then the sounds from Defender would almost be blending into the music.”

Every 80s b-boy’s favourite item of clothing the Goose jacket:

“That was the one item of clothing you could never have (laughs). Everyone had that one thing they really wanted that was just too expensive and your parents wouldn’t get it for you. For me, that one thing was a Goose jacket. It was just out of reach. I used to see pictures of people wearing them in magazines and on album covers, but they were just too expensive for me to ever get one back then. There were a few people around my area who had them, some of the older kids on the estate, they had the chains and the Goose jackets, but they were just on some different runnings, man.”

Host of Capital Radio’s original 80s Hip-Hop show Mike Allen:

“Mike Allen is a hero. I remember back in the day you could either climb all over your room to put the aerial in the right place so you could pick up a pirate radio station, or you could legally pick up Mike Allen’s show on Capital Radio and still get the real deal as far as the music was concerned. Mike was getting on a lot of stuff early and really introduced a lot of electro and Hip-Hop artists to listeners in the UK. Plus, he had that voice that sounded like a teacher you had at school(laughs). But I heard a lot of stuff for the first time on Mike Allen, sat there with a tape running trying to edit out the adverts when they came on (laughs). As much as people talk about deejays like Tim Westwood and others who played Hip-Hop here in the UK, it was important that we had Mike Allen at that time in the 80s on a legal radio station because he would play everything, from East Coast to West Coast, so it showed you that there was good music coming from everywhere.”

Monumental London Hip-Hop event UK Fresh ’86:

“There’s a little story to that one. That show was at Wembley and back then we knew all the tricks of the trade to get into all the events. At Wembley the trick was to kick the side doors dead centre and they’d go inwards and then fly back towards you and open out (laughs). I remember when UK Fresh was on, one of the older guys kicked the doors and we all just ran in behind each other. Back then we were all small enough to get lost in the crowd quickly so we didn’t get caught (laughs). I think I’d told my parents I’d gone to the shops or something and there I was at this huge Hip-Hop concert. I remember it seemed really high-up and I was looking down onto the stage, but I can remember seeing Captain Rock who killed it and the World Class Wreckin’ Cru as well. I don’t think a concert like that could really happen again today, but having all those huge artists of the time together in once place back then was serious.”

Former London-based pirate radio station Kiss FM:

“Kiss sort of lost me a bit when they made the transition to being a legal station. I preferred it when they were a pirate because it really was radical radio, which is why I put the old logo on the album cover. But for me, Kiss FM really helped you to grow your record collection, because listening to the different shows you were able to join the dots between what was happening in Hip-Hop at the time and the jazz and funk records that some of those samples were coming from. You might listen to a Westwood show and he’d be playing Hip-Hop, and then you’d listen to someone like a Trevor Nelson who’d play some wicked funk sets, which were nothing like the type of music he plays now (laughs). So listening to that original line-up of deejays on Kiss really helped you make those connections between the differents styles of music they were playing, particularly with the breaks and the whole James Brown era of sampling that was happening then. I mean, you couldn’t really have grown-up in London during that time listening to pirate radio and not listened to Kiss and I don’t really think the importance of Kiss as a pirate station is fully appreciated. If you were there at that time, then you know, but otherwise I don’t think it’s fully understood what Kiss meant to the music scene in its early days.”

The mighty Juice Crew’s original recording home Cold Chillin’ Records:

“I’m glad you picked the Cold Chillin’ logo because out of all the other record label logos included on the album cover Cold Chillin’ was probably the most important label of its era. Marley Marl, Masta Ace, Roxanne Shante, Kool G. Rap, Big Daddy Kane, MC Shan, the amount of talent on that label was ridiculous. But aside from the actual artists, it was the sound of Cold Chillin’ that was equally important to me. The label had a trademark sound, just that funky, dirty feel to the beats and samples, like the vinyl had been recycled (laughs). It had a lot to do with the sound the SP 1200 gives you, but when you listened to some of those incredible records from Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap, they just felt like they’d been done in one take and the whole vibe on a lot of those albums was just magical. It’s hard to pick favourites out of everything they put out, but MC Shan’s “Down By Law” album was always one that stood-out for me as there was a lot happening musically on that one. Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo’s “It’s A Demo” was a classic and I always really liked Roxanne Shante’s stuff and the way she approached her rhymes with her don’t-test-me attitude. The whole Cold Chillin’ sound just defined an era for me.”

Native Tongue low-end legends A Tribe Called Quest:

“I mean, what can you really say about A Tribe Called Quest that hasn’t been said before? For me, Tribe were important because they were the first group who really brought together all the musical elements I loved and shaped them into one sound. From the jazz samples to the way they looped their beats to the chemistry between Q-Tip and Phife, they were just Hip-Hop all-rounders to me. What was clever about Tribe, particularly on their first album, was that they’d use familiar drum breaks that people knew and then drop a sample on top which hadn’t really been used before. I was already collecting jazz and funk records, so when Tribe came out what they were doing musically really made a lot of sense to me and was something that I could relate to. Plus, listening to them pushed me deeper into wanting to know more about jazz and the artists they were sampling from.”

UK Hip-Hop pioneers London Posse:

“I always had a connection with London Posse as my partner Gus who I started Reinforced Records with was in a group Trouble Rap who were signed to Tim Westwood’s Justice label at the same time as London Posse were in the late-80s so there were times I’d be in the studio when they were recording. But I also knew them from when I used to have a sound-system at Notting Hill Carnival where all the emcees in London would get on the set as it was one of the first sounds to play only Hip-Hop at carnival. But the main reason I was always such a big fan of Rodney P and Bionic was because they really brought that London vibe to their music. At the time so many people were doing the yankee accent thing here in the UK and they were really the first to say we’re going to do this Hip-Hop stuff our way and they really made it work. I remember seeing them at gigs and they wouldn’t be able to get past the first track they were performing as people would be going crazy and they’d have to rewind the same tune about seven or eight times (laughs). But I really do have a huge amount of respect for London Posse for what they did in terms of putting the UK style of emcee-ing on the map.”

The late, great J Dilla:

“To me, Dilla is my favourite Hip-Hop producer. The feel in his music that he brought with him out of Detroit spread to influence people in New York, Philly, here in the UK, it really spread out across the whole Hip-Hop world and had a huge impact that can be heard today. As a producer myself, what he was doing with things like time-stretching was incredible to hear. I mean, he just went from making classic to classic with everyone from A Tribe Called Quest to his own stuff with Slum Village and then on to Common. I literally could sit and listen to Dilla beat-tapes all day long and “Donuts” is definitely one of my favourite albums of all-time. Listening to what he was doing just before he passed, getting into using synths more and that style, you could really hear him evolving and it felt like there was still so much more to come. Dilla really was a producer’s producer.”

Ryan Proctor

“Hipology” is out now on BBE Records.

Visioneers ft. Baron & TRAC – “Back In Time” (BBE Records / 2012)

You Must Learn – Rodney P

UK Hip-Hop legend Rodney P speaks to some youngsters about their love of rap for London News 360.

Old To The New Q&A – MC Mell’O’ (Part One)

A true pioneer of the British rap scene, South London’s MC Mell’O’ got his Hip-Hop education coming up through the ranks of the capital’s early-80s Covent Garden era, first getting noticed as a b-boy before making his name as a talented emcee via memorable live performances and early vinyl releases with the likes of DJ Pogo and Monie Love.

Mell’O”s debut album, 1990’s “Thoughts Released (Revelation 1)”, was welcomed with open arms upon its release by homegrown rap fans. The project’s combination of funky-yet-uncompromising production and Mell’O”s insightful and intelligent verses added further credibility to a UK scene still finding its way in the shadow of our Stateside counterparts.

With “Thoughts Released” recently being reissued by the Original Dope imprint, I sat down with Mell’O’ late one April evening in a South London fast-food spot for an access all areas interview covering his history in the game.

In this first instalment, Mell’O’ talks about the importance of the Covent Garden scene, joining the Zulu Nation and his early single releases.

What are your memories of London’s early-80s Covent Garden scene?

“I remember the first Saturday that I ever went to Covent Garden. I can remember being really excited for the whole journey. I was only about fourteen and there I am riding the tube train. I’d never gone to Covent Garden by myself before. So I’m looking at all the stops and I’m full of excitement and anticipation as I see my stop getting closer and closer. I get out at Charing Cross, walk along The Strand and head up into Covent where you hit the cobblestones and then it opens up and straight away I see some of the UK’s best poppers, Dolby D was there, Micron, all the guys I’d seen in Freez’s “I.O.U.” video are right there in front of me and I’m excited because I can already pop. I’m young, I’m enthusiastic. I’m from Battersea and youths from my area at the time were known for being a little brash (laughs). So I fitted in nicely and I was mostly welcomed by the people there.”

Was it a daunting experience entering what was already an established scene?

“I mean, I didn’t go to Covent green because before that I was in a poppin’ crew with Basil Liverpool and Bionic who would go on to be part of London Posse. So when we all started going to Covent Garden we were young but we were already fully on it with the poppin’ and the elite of the Garden scene could see that so we were welcomed. We started off as the 52 Flash Kru, which was a Wandsworth Road / Battersea-based crew, then that grew into SAS, which was the South London All Stars, also known as the Strawberry All Stars because New York was known as the Big Apple so that was our spin on that. Cutmaster Swift was one of our best breakers! It was a massive crew. We were busking in Covent Garden, going to all-dayers up and down the country battling other crews like Nottingham’s Rock City, Manchester’s Broken Glass and we all had mad love for each other, Bristol’s Wild Bunch, Goldie, everyone from up and down the country.”

Given that the Hip-Hop scene was so new in the UK at that point, were you aware during those Covent Garden days that you were helping to build something that would continue to grow larger?

“Yes! We were definitely aware. We knew it without a doubt. Hip-Hop gave us a purpose. You have to remember we were kids who’d grown up in the 1970s and early 80s in inner-city Britain under Margaret Thatcher. We were used to being told that things like the arts weren’t for us black kids. The arts weren’t for poor white working-class kids. The arts were for the arty-farty wealthy folk. So this whole Hip-Hop ting lands from the States and everyone we’re looking at who’s playing a part in it looks like us. We knew that what we were doing here in the UK had an important role to play when Afrika Bambaataa came to Covent Garden and established the UK chapter of the Zulu Nation and told us about our greatness. Now, the Zulu Nation was originally mainly a black thing, but when Bam came to Covent and saw a rainbow nation united under Hip-Hop it changed his whole view and the Zulu Nation then became the Universal Zulu Nation. Covent Garden was a whole new experience for Bambaataa. Coming out of the Bronx and the Black Spades, Bam knew the importance of unity and being there for each other and he could see what Hip-Hop meant to us. The guys that came to the UK with Bam at the time would tell us stories about how back in the day it wasn’t uncommon to see Bam walking through the Bronx with a sawn-off shotgun! All I could say was ‘Thank God for dj-ing!”

How much of an impact did that visit from Bambaataa have on the Covent Garden scene?

“Bam coming to Covent Garden with the Zulu Nation cemented what we were doing there. It gave us rules and boundaries within the Zulu ethos of peace, unity, love and having fun. There was a sense of responsibility amongst the Zulu kings and queens. It united us with other Zulus across the world and gave us an even greater sense of purpose. We knew the power of this music and culture because we knew how it made us feel. We believed in this Hip-Hop culture with all our hearts. Of course the press and media at the time were labelling it as a fad, but that was because they didn’t understand it and, more to the point, they realised that they had no control over it. Hip-Hop was all-consuming to us. We knew graffiti writers who died on train tracks for their art. We knew people that would come to London, go to a jam, get robbed, but still come back again and again. We knew that this culture was something great and we knew it would be something that would be with us our whole lives.”

At what point did you make the transition from dancer to emcee?

“I’d always been an emcee really because coming from Battersea at that time the whole sound system thing was a major part of who you were. But I never touched the mic properly there, it was always just on the corner. Me and Monie Love were always in the flats rhyming with the No Parking MCs who were Cutmaster Swift’s rappers. Now, Jerry Dammers from The Specials used to have these Artists Against Apartheid gigs in Covent Garden and the surrounding area. It was like warehouse parties playing funk, rare groove, Hip-Hop and sometimes a bit of reggae and roots. That’s the first place that I went to and held the mic properly in a public place with people around. That was the night that MC Mell’O’ was truly born. That was the night I realised I’m built for this sh*t. When I heard my voice coming back at me through the speakers, it was in the music so nice that I melted into listening to my own voice and the beats. From then that was it, there was no looking back.”

Your first appearance on wax was in 1987 as part of the Jus Badd crew with DJ Pogo etc on the “Free Style” single – how did that come about? 

“When I started to be known as an emcee I was also still known as a popper in a crew called Truly Unique. We wore zoot suits, the whole thing. So I was still doing all these shows as a dancer but I was always emcee-ing. I knew of DJ Pogo, but it was actually DJ Biznizz who said he thought I’d be good teaming-up with Pogo. Biznizz told me that Pogo already had a rapper called Sparki, but he felt that if we all got together then good things would come out of it. So I started going around Pogo’s house and this was a man who was putting in seven hours a day practicing on his turntables! Sparki was there rapping, but when he heard me, he was like ‘I don’t need to be rapping no more, I can just focus on the beats.’ Then I told them about a girl I knew who I’d grown up with called Simone and I told them I was going to bring her down. That was Monie Love. She spat for Pogo and straight away she was in the crew. Everyday we were at Pogo’s just working on music, practising, sharpening our skills. We did a show in 1986 in Lewisham, I remember MC Merlin was performing and some other local acts. An individual named Ricky Rennals of Tuff Groove Records and Young, Gifted & Broke fame saw us and told us he believed in what we were doing and that he wanted to sign us. So that led to our first record which was the Jus Badd single. We kept performing off the back of that and then Monie got signed to Cooltempo and she went and did her thing. On the subject of Monie, let me just say this; at the time, Monie wasn’t the best girl rapper in the UK, she was one of the best UK rappers full-stop! None of her records really represented what she could do. Me and Monie used to be like Bonnie and bloodclaat Clyde, going to jams, house parties, wherever, just ripping it down. Now at the same time as our manager got Monie signed to Cooltempo he got me an in with Republic Records. Although it was only me who signed the deal with Republic I brought in Pogo and Sparki as my people and we told the label that we were ready to work but we had to get some equipment. So they subbed us an advance and we got the Akai 950 and a Roland 909 drum machine as Sparki already had an 808.”

Was it around this time that DETT Inc was formed?

“It was exactly around that time that DETT Inc came together, which was my idea. Determination Endeavour Total Triumph Incorporated. We looked at the Juice Crew, Flavor Unit, all those crews, and we had Trouble, Reinforced Gus, MC Bee, Monie Love, Cutmaster Swift, No Parking MCs, myself, London Posse, DJ Pogo, DJ Biznizz and Sparki. We had all this talent but I felt we really needed to put a stamp on it and firm up what we were about. It gave us mileage. I remember when Cutmaster Swift won his DMC event in 1989, held up his belt and started shouting ‘DETT! DETT!’. That was the day we’d rushed the doors. It was at the Royal Albert Hall and they wouldn’t let us in so the door had to get smashed (laughs). I remember us all running in down the corridor and Queen Latifah was coming the other way like ‘Yo! Yo! Mell’O’ what’s going on?’ It was so funny. We had bouncers chasing us trying to stop us, people were trying to stop the bouncers. We hit the auditorium, spread out and represented.”

Your first release on Republic was 1989’s “Comin’ Correct” EP which had a very different sound to the more sophisticated approach to your 1990 debut album “Thoughts Released”…

“”Comin’ Correct” was produced by Tony Thorpe who was a UK dance music producer and he went on to work with The KLF. I love Tony Thorpe but in all honesty we felt like he was trying to make some sort of crappy pop song. We didn’t really like it. It felt disjointed. It wasn’t Sparki’s production. Sparki got to do some programming but it didn’t really represent us musically. So I tried to win through lyrically although a lot of the public still liked it. But for me, that EP was all about “Bizzie Rhymin'”. That was the track that really represented me and as long as that was on there then I was happy. But the move to get Tony Thorpe in was the label trying to put something together to see what would happen. Eventually we came out with a finished product. I also just want to say that the EP was recorded a year before we started working on the album material. When we started working on the album stuff we were doing everything in-house. We were finding loops to use and I was writing to those loops. Sparki was finding drum breaks to match with those samples. So by the time we got to the studio we had a rough idea that just needed to be polished up. So that was one of the reasons why the album had a more mature sound to the EP and more depth musically.”

One of the bonus cuts on the recent “Thoughts Released” reissue is “Slipt On Some Doo Doo” from the “Comin’ Correct” sessions – whose idea was it to include the Tim Westwood impressions on there?

“Do you know who that is? It’s DJ Dexter from The Brotherhood. Dexter was a properly trained actor. He could do ’nuff tings. Once right, this is wicked, he phoned Westwood’s home phone and got the voicemail so he left this message in his Westwood voice saying ‘Peace Tim! This is just me Tim, phoning to make sure I’m not at home. Peace Tim! I’m outta here!’ Westwood didn’t know who it was for years (laughs). If you listen to “Slipt On Some Doo-Doo” right to the end when Dexter says ‘With the power of armageddon’ you can hear all of us laughing. It was hilarious. We were all sat in the other room and Dexter was sat on a stool in the dark in the vocal booth at Brixton’s Cold Storage studios and we were sat there hearing him doing this wondering what he was going to say next and it just kept getting better and better. When he ended it we all just exploded and that bled out through the soundproof glass and was picked up by the mic. That was just a joke track though and there was no disrespect intended.”

Part Two of this interview is coming soon.

Ryan Proctor

The reissue of “Thoughts Released (Revelation 1)” is out now on Original Dope.

Big Tings We Inna – Rodney P

Footage of UK legend Rodney P performing at London’s monthly “Playtime” event held at 333 Old St.