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Baker's Dozen

Gremlins In The Machine: Terror Danjah's Favourite Albums
Rory Gibb , March 28th, 2013 06:39

Grime innovator Terror Danjah tells a story of UK sound system culture, house parties, Versace sunglasses and the evolution of jungle and grime, via the medium of 13 favourite albums

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Buju Banton - Mr. Mention

I was only about 11 or 12 and my brother was showing me about Buju, and I was starting to get into the whole dancehall thing at that age, because being in school at that age, dancehall was how dubstep was or grime was [later] - if you wasn't into dancehall, or ragga as you called it then, you were late, that was it. So with Buju Banton, I got into him, and he was my portal into that world. Obviously already my family, [when we were] going to all the house parties, weddings, christenings, all sorts, dancehall and reggae music was always played, and old school rare groove was played anyway, so I knew the tunes. But this was my first CD I really got into and it was like, yeah, this is amazing. His voice, the way he puts tunes down. It's almost how you'd go mad for Wiley and that - Buju was like Wiley for me. So he was my favourite artist on that style of music, and that album, it speaks to me.

One thing that occurred to me when I was listening to this album yesterday was that what often doesn't seem to be discussed in wider media is how much of an influence dancehall's actually had on grime. A lot of mainstream media seem to have this fixation on this idea of it being some British variant of hip hop, when actually it's a lot more tied into the UK soundsystem culture that run through rave, jungle, dancehall, things like that.

Exactly.

So presumably dancehall beats were a big influence on your music?

Most definitely. I grew up in a soundsystem situation, and with jungle as well, that's how jungle came to us - because it was sampling a lot of the rare groove and reggae records and the Buju records, especially [Mr. Mention].

When it was all house - acid house and all that - I knew about it 'cause my brother was into it. Then it started to speed up until you've got hardcore, then hardcore turned into jungle, and then people were sampling all the dancehall records of that era, and all the R&B and revival and rare groove records: your Mary J Bliges, your Buju Bantons, your Shabba Ranks. And you'd hear these records and you'd go "Oh! That's sick!"

That's how we got into jungle. You couldn't run from it because you could hear your favourite records being sampled. That recognition just makes you think, 'this is sick, crazy'! Without me consciously knowing, [it was that] familiarity that maybe drew me towards the music, because I kind of knew where it was coming from. You know, now, my god, I'd be like 'everyone's run out of ideas for sampling records', but at the time, as a listener, it was almost like [shouts] "I know that! I know that! Come bro! I like this tune!" It was more a sense of that.


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