This week sees the much anticipated release of Ruff Squad’s compilation album “White Label Classics”. If you don’t know anything about the legendary East London grime collective then this is the perfect place to start. It’s a 22 track CD releasing, for the first time, a selection of the most influential instrumentals in the genres history. What’s more, most of these have only been available for absurd amounts of money on vinyl until now, so pick it up here. Comprising mainly school mates, the crew’s most famous member is now Tinchy Stryder, but there’s no doubt in saying that they were a pivotal component in the formation of a truly special and unique style of British music throughout the 2000’s.
While several of the beats have the real badman attitude that you’d expect from grime instrumentals there is also a untouchable metropolitan beauty to some of the tracks, in particular the timeless “Functions on the Low” (or Functions Havana) which, to me, sounds like the soundtrack to the sun setting over south London boroughs. As Dirty Danger said himself “It wasn’t just like beat and bass, we used to like, think of melodies that could capture your soul in a different way… that was always the thing with us”.
Even if you’re not necessarily a grime fan, it’s still definitely worth checking this out, there’s some great musicianship on show and the CD is a thick slice through a piece of British musical history.