Sunday, February 15, 2015

garage rap # 7

Fact is, "garage rap" scored way more chart hits than grime ever did.

Including three number ones, which we'll get to in due course.

(In that sense the subject of the previous post in this series, "Oi!", was garage rap's last blast, immediately followed by a long period of grime in exile, apart from Dizzee's incursions into the outer regions of the UK chart.)

But then garage rap wasn't really a distinct entity, a phase or genre, but a subset of 2step, a flavour of UKG. Its success came as a byproduct of 2step's utter anschluss of  the UK mainstream.

Viz, Genius Cru - in the first rank of the swarming crus (and krus) of those marvellous days -  who scored not one hit but two.

First, the immortal "Boom Selection"

Here's the full-length version

And then Genius made the top 40 one more time with the delightful "Course Bruv".

Here's what I said about "Course Bruv" in the Grime Primer -

(KRONIK 2001)

The gangsta rap comparison isn’t an idle one. PAUG and Roll Deep pioneered criminal-minded lyrics. Taking them literally is not always advisable, as the imagery of “slewing” and “merking” is often purely metaphorical, signifying the destruction of rival MCs in verbal combat, the maiming of egos rather than bodies. Still, the genre wasn’t always so relentlessly hostile. Just before the grimy era, “garage rap” outfits like Heartless Crew and Genius Cru exuded playful bonhomie. The follow-up to their #12 pop hit “Boom Selection,” Genius’ “Course Bruv” talks about spreading “nuff love” in the club and stresses that they “still don’t wanna hurt nobody.” The chorus even celebrates the rave-era ritual of sharing your soft drinks with complete strangers, the “course bruv” being Genius’s gracious acquiescence to “can I have a sip of that?” Producer Capone weaves an effervescent merry-go-round groove of chiming bass-melody and giddy looped strings, while the MCs hypnotize with the sheer bubbling fluidity of their chat. The verses are deliberately preposterous playa wish-fulfillment: “Number one breadwinner” Keflon claims he’s “invested in many shares, many many stocks” while Fizzy purports to date “celeb chicks,” “ballerinas” and even have “hot chicks as my household cleaners”.

Placed "Course Bruv" at #10 in my Faves of 2002, even though it came out near the end of the previous year. 

It's a slim discography, Genius Cru's - I wonder if the Angel EP is any cop?

This one isn't even listed on Discogs. A not wholly convincing - or welcome - attempt to tuffen the image, gangsta it up...