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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


Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet

That was just before I started school, and my next door neighbour - I call her my auntie because she's a good friend of my mum's - she had a lodger in her house, and he schooled me on the early dancehall stuff and hip-hop. Between him and my brother they got me into this whole Public Enemy thing. So I used to listen to their music and it was just like, wall of noise! It was crazy. Before that I was into your MC Hammer, your Vanilla Ice, Soul II Soul, what was on the chart show and that. All your typical stuff that was mainstream, but still on the urban side of things. Hearing Public Enemy was almost like 'don't tell anyone I showed you this', because it was radical at the time.

And hearing the way they chopped up the samples and the way the sound... Basically all the albums of that era, It Takes A Nation Of Millions, all that stuff, [are great], but I chose Fear of a Black Planet because it's probably the most obvious one. But yeah, just the Public Enemy [style] of just cutting up samples, scratching, the motifs, the way they put it together, it kind of reminds me of the way most modern electronic music is now.

And the words, the messages, they're very political - it was like, oh my god, what is this? It was a game changer. Obviously you either liked NWA or you liked Public Enemy, but Public Enemy were the original ones. Then NWA came along with even more of a radical outspoken way, but before then it was Public Enemy. They kick started this whole 'I'm going to say how it is, and if you don't like it, screw you' kind of situation.

Some of the samples, and the way they put them together, shouldn't even musically work. It's almost like they crammed them all together - 'I don't care, put in this record and that record... urgh! here we go!' The jigsaw didn't fit but it worked.

So it was quite a shocking thing for you to hear a record like that?

It wasn't even shocking. It just sounded amazing. I wasn't thinking as a producer or music head. If you played it to someone that's musically trained they'd be like, this is just noise, but I didn't know no better, so it was like, this is music. To me, it just sounded perfect.