Ruff Sqwad were there at grime's first explosion, a vastly creative crew who set the template for what was to follow.
Prince Rapid's productions pushed them forward, a heady brew of UKG's darker elements, hip-hop, dancehall and more, all fused together into an intoxicating grime distillation.
His work has been sampled by everyone from Chip, P Money, Dave, and Stormzy, providing grime with some of its sonic bedrock, a foundation to be built upon.
Matching devastating sonics with sublime use of space, Prince Rapid's productions are perfect for MCs for spraying on or for absorbing as blocks of aural sabotage in their own right.
As part of Seven Tracks we sit down with Prince Rapid and look over some of his most iconic productions...
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This is a track that is close to my heart as it was one of the first productions that I experimented with. I stripped everything away to the bare minimum but added different types of sound effects as fillers because I wanted the MC to be the focus.
There was nothing that sounded like it at the time which is why this record is very significant in grime music, it causes uproar in a rave as soon as a DJ chops it in. Rude Kid also samples this track in Stormzy's 'One Take' freestyle.
This production for me started off being my least favourite because it was the opposite to what Ruff Sqwad music sounded like. It had no structure and no bassline which was weird for me at the time. Many people have told me that they can hear my African heritage within the very progressive main melody.
Within the last three years Stormzy, AJ Tracey and Dave have used elements from this track which is a good indicator that this record still lives on.
'Top 3 Selected'
This will always be one of my favourite productions as I feel it possessed a very energetic and vibrant energy that is still hard to deny. I made this beat in half time (bpm) as I felt the need to implement my love for hip-hop and grime together.
This got such a great response that I had to make a remix and Ghetts arranged Devlin, Kano, Wretch 32 and Durty Goods to feature which took things to the next level. Tracks such as 'Pepper Riddim' have evolved from 'Top 3 Selected' and I’m sure that there will be many more tracks that evolve from it to.
I remember making this beat back in 2007, I was in a studio with Roll Deep and Skepta. It was a positive time as everyone was working and completing projects under one roof. Skepta offered some advice which was to add some more sub to the main bass in the track but other than that it was a hit. This was before the world heard it.
To this day DJs are playing this track on sets and the synth strings at the beginning still give off a real euphoric feeling that none of my other records can match.
'Tings In Boots'
This was my first ever official track which set the bar for me as a teen. I made it on fruity loops on my 10 attempt on the programme. I had been listening to loads of old skool garage at the time which inspired my to make a track which progressively built up and then dropped with a roar bassline.
After a few weeks of seeing the response we decided to vocal the beat, we bunked school and went to a studio in Essex which is where 'Tings In Boots' the vocal was born and Tinchy Stryder was picked up by Wiley and Dizzy which was very detrimental to the huge success which later on followed.
For me this track shook up the grime scene, as it dropped when things were a bit quiet and stagnant. Evolving from 'Top 3 Selected', 'Pepper Riddim' was created using the same instruments and structure as I felt that intense energy was needed for MCs to go on over sets.
Since 'Pied Piper' none of my music had been used as a version excursion but the likes of Chip, Youngen, Sas Killer, P Money and many more all did there own versions of this beat which was very positive for the grime scene.
'Dick Head' Instrumental
This is a favourite of mine because it sounds like war. It reminds me of when I’m watching a film and a battle scene full of thousands of warriors is about to commence. It’s very orchestral with the deep brass being the main drive in the track with hard hitting drums which back them up.
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Prince Rapid's 'Fresh N Clean' is out now.
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