Not rated by many cognoscenti, at all - but strip away the novelty elements (the Casualty theme, the Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels sample) and as beats and bass this tune is tough and mean, clean and cold. And Neutrino's MCing is mad catchy in its nasal, borderline-irritant way.
A rival contender with "Oi!" for the first grime tune.
Which is why I included "Bound 4 Da Reload" in The Grime Primer:
So Solid affiliates DJ Oxide and MC Neutrino also scored a #1 UK hit with “Bound 4 Da Reload”. Initially a pirate radio anthem through 1999, “Reload” created a massive rift in the garage scene: older types loathed it, young ‘uns loved it. Today’s grime heads would probably disown their teenage favorite as a mere novelty track. Which it certainly was, from theCasualty TV theme sample to the “can everyone stop getting shot?” soundbite from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Gimmicks aside, Oxide’s production is heavy, from the ice-stab pizzicato violins (“strings of death,” perhaps, given the track’s allusions to the rising blood-tide of violence on London’s streets) to the doom-boom of sub-bass to the morgue-chilly echo swathing much of the record. Probably equally repellent to 2step fans was the nagging, nasal insistence of Neutrino’s rapping, which is remorselessly unmelodic but horribly catchy. Instantly transforming 2step from “the sound of now” to its current nostalgia-night status as “old skool,” “Reload” has strong claims to being the first Grime tune.
Mark Fisher memorably celebrated the follow-up hit "Up Middle Finger" and Oxide & Neutrino's debut Execute as punk garage:
"Oxide and Neutrino’s Up Middle Finger is as important for 01 as the Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK was in 76. Like Anarchy, Up Middle Finger is both a call to arms and an darkly exuberant gesture of joyful defiance....
Up Middle Finger captures a mood, a growing undercurrent of rage in the country about the discrepancy between the sunny vistas projected by managerialist PRopoganda and the webs of corrruption and incompetence that are lived everyday reality. Neutrino’s fury will resonate with anyone who has the misfortune to have tangled with Style London’s sad coterie of promoters, PR zombies and A and R people. But, more generally, his invective also speaks to and for anyone who has been blocked and patronized by the complacency and arrogance of all the bullet-pointed, empty-headed drones who officiate in the blurry liar lair of Blair’s Britain. Neutrino brings back an edge, an aggression, that has been lacking for too long in a British culture that has seemed to pride itself on its tolerance of mediocrity."
This was during a brief period when the Man like Kpunk wrote under the name Mark De'Rosario. And the piece was for Hyperdub back when it was a webzine rather than a label. Indeed now I think about it, the site was a right treasury of writings on garage rap (as well as proto-dubstep). Pieces on Pay As U Go Kartel, Ms Dynamite, an interview with Oxide & Neutrino, etc - and contributions from Mark, Kodwo Eshun, Bat, concept-engineer-in-chief Steve Goodman, Martin Clark, myself, and others. The original site no longer exists but happily the pieces are archived at Riddim.ca.
More singles by Oxide & Neutrino: