July 6, 2016
Originally published on FACT.
Wot U call it?
The best documentary you’re going to hear this week is ‘Roots and Future’, an hour-long radio show tracing the crucial black British influence on UK dance music over two decades, from jungle and drum and bass through to garage, grime and dubstep.
Narrator Georges Collinet speaks to key figures like Shut Up And Dance, Kool FM founder Eastman, garage DJ/producer Karl “Tuff Enuff” Brown and grime MC D Double E to find out how the UK drew from Jamaican dancehall and dub, techno euphoria and NYC house to create what journalist Simon Reynolds (one of the documentary’s producers, along with Lit City Trax boss J-Cush) later dubbed the “hardcore continuum”.
“Exploring the community behind these divergent genres, the episode connects styles that are often dealt with as separate entities, bringing them together in a single history and allowing listeners to grasp the deep cultural story that connects them all,” say the show’s producers, Afropop Worldwide.
DJ Brockie, The Square’s Streema, John Kennedy of Big Apple Records, MC Navigator, Crazy D and Grandmixxer also appear in the documentary, which gets deep into the actual mechanics of the music to explain the influences at play, using clips of classics like Zed Bias’ ‘Neighbourhood’ and Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Sittin’ Here’ and asking MCs to break down their bars.
As Collinet notes: “If you’re listening at home, turn up the low end – you won’t regret it”.
Afropop Worldwide is a US public radio show that uses music to explore the history and culture of the African diaspora – check out tons more episodes on their website. Good work, Americans. You’re still pronouncing ‘garage’ wrong though.