Monday, August 20, 2007

Bon Anniversaire Big Dada

Ten years have passed since music journalist Will Ashon established the UK’s finest hip hop label in conjunction with Ninja Tune and presented the country’s rap CV on ’97 compilation “Black Whole Styles”. Few of us knew who Roots Manuva or New Flesh were back then, some of us had yet to discover Saul Williams and Lewis Parker who also featured heavily on that seminal double LP. Ten years later and we’re still learning. How many people had come across Spank Rock – arguably the most original and instinctively fresh sound to emerge from the genre in the last couple of years – before Big Dada unleashed their album “YoYoYoYoYo” last year? And this year has seen Rollie Pemberton aka Cadence Weapon find an audience for his reinvigorated take on leftfield hip hop on British shores thanks to a licensing deal with the label.

Then there are those acts that you can’t imagine anywhere else. Juice Aleem has contributed to his share of the label’s better moments either as part of New Flesh or Gamma, the latter’s ace “Killer Apps” still a bonafide party classic. Infinite Livez is the situationist nutter in residence, if you haven’t seen “The Adventures Of The Lactating Man” video, well, you’ve, er, missed out on one of the promo art’s most idiosyncratic moments.

From Paris (TTC), via the Bay Area (cLOUDDEAD) and onto the Bronx (Mike Ladd/Infesticons), the label has managed to avoid becoming that most endangered of species, the UK Hip Hop Label. In fact, latest UK signing Wiley confirms the wide berth with which Ashon’s office has regarded the purist backpacker mentality.

To celebrate their decade, Big Dada have a double CD/DVD for us which they claim covers just about every artist album they’ve released to date. “Well Deep: Ten Years Of Big Dada Recordings” arrives in early October with some essential hip hop units for those still in need of schooling. And, honestly, it can't be easy work trying to make money out of an independent hip hop label these days. We should be grateful for their perseverance, especially if there'sanother 10 years of this quality in them.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home