More than not, when someone’s introducing Andy C, Goldie, or Grooverider they’ll probably refer to them as “The Godfather of DnB”. And while that’s not wrong, it might appear as we’ve got more than one. So I’ve searched far and wide, and came up with a list that explores the creators and shapers of this thing we like to call Drum & Bass, from producers, to Dj’s and MC’s. In no particular order, here are the second 4.
Check Part 1 here where we covered Rebel MC, Fabio & Grooverider, Goldie, and LTJ Bukem.
5. Doc Scott
Referenced by his childhood friends as The Doctor, for prescribing them their daily dose of Breakdance tapes. Doc Scott (Born Scott McIlroy) was around during the explosion of Detroit Techno in the UK in the late 80’s, where he first got into contact with the deeper side of electronic music, later joined by Chicago House and New York Garage. By the time the rave scene popped up in the early 90’s, Doc Scott already had some years under his belt as a DJ, and he brought his wide interest in music with him when he played, shooting him straight to the headliner spot.
1991 saw him realising another big dream of his, producing his own music. With his years-long experience in Dj-ing, record collecting and his natural affinity to quality music, this was set out to be a chartbreaking hit. “Surgery“, taken from his “The NHS EP” was an instant rave anthem, smashing in the dance charts at #3, and breaking into the national 12″ top 40. Not bad for a first try at producing.
Playing alongside his professional heroes Fabio & Grooverider, and rubbing shoulders with the DJ elite from the time, Doc Scott got noticed by that other Godfather Goldie, who has just released his anthem “Terminator”. They got introduced to eachother by Rider in a North London record shop, went to a rave together, and a lifetime friendship was born. This Friendship gave him an “in” at Reinforced records, the label Goldie was signed to at that moment, and when that same Goldie started his Metalheadz label, there would be no better artist to sign for it’s first release. “Vip Drumz” & “VIP Riders Ghost” a double bill with Doc Scott and Goldie’s alter ego Rufige Kru was an instant hit, and helped put the label on the map.
Mid to end 1990s he reentered the studio to write his (probably) biggest hit to date. “Shadow Boxing” was released under his alias Nasty Habits, and was the second release on his own label “31 records”. This label has seen some quality material from the likes of Dom & Roland, Ed Rush & Optical, Calibre and launched the career of the band Pendulum.
6. Shy FX
Widely considered to be one of the most recognised Jungle tunes in the world, Shy FX’s (Born Andre Williams) “Original Nuttah” has had dancefloors chanting along to it’s iconic ragga-styled lyrics by MC UK Apache.
Fun Fact: Shy FX was at first misspelled on MTV as Shy Fox (as seen in the YouTube-link above).
In later days he collaborated with T Power to form the duo Ebony Dusters, producing the classic “RA” but also releasing tracks under “Shy FX and T Power” like the summer classic “Shake Your Body” Featering Di. It was also with his friend T Power he created the label “Digital Soundboy” in 2005, but unfortunately it seized to be in 2015 after 10 years of putting out records not only in Drum and Bass but also crossing over to Dubstep (With the likes of Skream, Benga and Caspa), House and Elektro. He has also produced many hits for Dizzee Rascal, Emilie Sandé, and many more, and released numerous classic remixes like his take on DJ Fresh’s “Gold Dust“.
7. DJ SS
DJ Scratchen Stein (Born Leroy Small) started out (as his moniker suggest) as a self-thaught scratch DJ in his hometown of Leicester in the 1980’s. When in the early 90s Jungle and Hardcore were emerging in the UK DJ SS and his partner Eidris started promoting their own parties called “Total Kaos”.
Later that decade, around 1992, they founded Formation Records, with a must-buy catalogue for anybody that’s into the darker side of jungle. Not only has Formation released a stellar set of producers (Like Grooverider, Shy FX, Ray Keith, and even Carl Cox) But it (and he) also is responsible for launching the careers of such names as John B, Twisted Individual and Nero.
His biggest hit to date is the Piano-heavy track “Lighter“, released in 1995, that sampled the theme song of an old romantic film called “Love Story”. Try listening to it without shouting “LIGHTAH”. I dare you.
Fun fact: It was tha B-side of the single “The Lighter” that got famous, and not the A-side as was intended. The Piano intro also makes the B-side more rewindable than the A-side (and is one of the few tracks that justify a rewind.) (These views are my own and do not represent the scene in any way).
8. Stevie Hyper D †
The originator, the pioneer, Stevie Hyper D (Born Stephen Austin) was one of the first MC’s to grace the Jungle and Drum & Bass landscape and is often called the “inventor of Double Time MC’ing”, a style since then dominant within Drum and Bass.
He was the first Drum and Bass MC to have a major release on Island Records (Of Bob Marley fame) with his album “The Next Step”. Unfortunately he never saw the release of his record, as he died the year prior due to a heart attack attributed to “Deep Vein Trombosis” after a long intenational tour.
“I’m just a junglist so-o-o-oldier// Fighting to keep the jungle ali-i-i-i-ve”
“Junglists are you re-e-e-e-ady? Oh Lord a-mercy mercy…”
These are just a few of the many catchphrases-turned calls-to-arms he coined, and are repeated to this day, out of respect for the best MC that ever lived.
Check out this live set, recorded during his last living year, with Kenny Ken on the ones and twos.
Stay tuned for more Godfathers of DnB next week!
And enjoy our playlist, featuring songs from this and previous parts on our Godfathers playlist: