Zed Bias and friends at the Neighbourhood 09 photoshoot. How many legends can you clock?!
It’s nearly a decade since UK garage was at its peak and decade is, well, several lifetimes, in the hyper evolution of UK urban music genres. Put it this way, if you can be can be a grime MC younger at 14, then you could have been 4 when Architechs “Body Groove” came out.
But despite this chasm of generations, there seems to be some kind of collective memory causing a yearning not just for new vocal funky anthems, but ‘99’s vocal anthem in ‘09. The older smart-and-sexy crowd, 30 in 99 are in their 40s now, and the youngers were in pre-school, yet somehow the demand is there.
How else can you explain the phenomenon of 09 funky remixes of 99-02 garage classics? OK so there’s an obvious cash-in angle but Zed Bias said he was so bored of Facebook requests for the parts and bootlegs having their go anyway, he was forced by demand to reissue it. With that, to date I’ve clocked:
· Zed Bias “Neighbourhood (09 remixes)”
· DJ Zinc “128 Trek”
· Brasstooth “Celebrate Life (Footloose funky remix)”
· So Solid “21 Second (Roska + DVA remix)”
· Brasstooth “Pleasure” (Paleface remix)
· Tina Moore “Never Gonna Let You Go (funky Mix)”
· Heartless Crew “Heartless Theme (Superglue Riddim) (funky remix)
· S.I.A. “Little Man (Wookie remix) [Lil Silva refix]
· Baby D “Let Me Be Your Fantasy (DJ Q mix)”
· Zed Bias "Spare Ribs (Roska's year of da ox mix)"
· Mike Dunn Feat MD Express "God Made Me Phunky(DVA refix)"
· DEA Project's "Love Me (Smasher funky remix)"
· Musical Mob "Pulse X (Lil Silva funky remix)"
· Lennie De Ice "We Are IE (funky remix) - unconfirmed
Geeneus has just gone even further back and cover Inner City’s “Big Fun,” a house classic in the late ‘80s! Monster Boy “I’m Sorry” already got brought back. Drum & bass outfit Nero have done a wobble remix of MJ Cole’s “Sincere,” but that doesn’t count.
Given all this, I think it’d be fun to speculate what garage classics are ripe for a relick. Who knows, perhaps someone from funky will read this and have a go! My longlist includes:
· Reach and Spin “The Hype”
· Double 99 “RIP Groove”
· Amira “My Desire”
· Pay As U Go “Champagne Dance”
· Agent X “Decoy”
· Jameson “Urban Hero”
· Maxwell D “So Serious” – or will his funky vocals negate the need for this?
Leave comments below: what ones am I missing?
The re-appropriation of these urban anthems bares all the hallmarks of the hardcore continuum: consuming, mutating and taking ownership of great riffs and moments in raving history so that it can be loved again by a new generation.
Grime MCs have been doing this of late too, over a much shorter times span: not unexpectedly given grime MCs, trading in a ghetto reputation economy, seem to feel they only exist or matter for as long as the words are coming out of their mouths and their name is on everyone’s lips.
Dizzee bars are a favourite, probably given the absence from the scene his success has caused. P Money, currently everywhere with his “Money Over Everything” mixtape, did it well on “P is a Rascal” on his previous CD, taking classic Dizzee bars, so embedded in anyone’s consciousness who saw him at this time, and remixing them line by line. In truth, so dense is the language that the grime MCs engage in dialog with each other, that they’re regularly remixing and re-appropriating their own bars. It’s just a fine line between a send (named, direct diss), "in-di-r" (unnamed, indirect diss), tribute (attributed) or remix.
I’m not saying funky doesn’t have anthems with identity of its own, it does in abundance from Kyla “Do You Mind” to the “Migrane Skank.” But I guess this all goes to show the strength of Simon Reynold’s “sceneius” idea, where a scene contains the collective gene pool of ideas, rather than one lone genius. The funny thing is, given the way scenes cluster so tightly around a few ideas (tempo, beat patterns, aesthetics, track goals etc), it’s amazing that the collective memory can last this long.
I suppose this phenomenon has existed since rave and before, with garage remixes of jungle classics etc, but what’s striking here that how within funky there’s acute memory of ’01 UKG anthems but selective amnesia as to ’02 proto grime classics (dubstep didn’t exist til 2007/8 in “road” eyes), like there’s some kind of membrane short-circuit from one bubbling, smart-and-sexy-yet-soon-to-be-ruffed-up-with-‘skank’-youts scene to another, almost ten years on.
Here come’s the lick again, it may taste familiar.
PS Bassjackers & Apster "Klambu" = the Azzido da Bass for 2009?