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Baker's Dozen

Vibrations: Roll Deep Man Riko Dan On His 13 Favourite LPs
Yemi Abiade , February 28th, 2018 10:19

The grime veteran has a varied musical history, and his 13 selections across rap, soul and dancehall are proof.

In the varied and constantly growing grime scene, the impact of its originators cannot and should not be ignored. For every Wiley, Dizzee Rascal and Skepta, there are also the names that don’t immediately generate as much esteem, but are just as important. One of those is the East London geezer, Riko Dan. A member of the illustrious Roll Deep crew, he remains one of grime’s true personalities, spitting bullet-fast lyrics and flows with the hyper swagger and style of the wildest bashment MCs. Really, the London City Warlord doesn’t need an introduction but for those not in the know, he’s been a staple within London’s underground subgenres from day one.

Starting out as an MC in the mid-1990s in the midst of jungle music’s peak, Riko sharpened his sword rapping on pirate radio stations, earning praise from future grime innovators such as Wiley and DJ Slimzee. Now becoming a seasoned rapper, he soon linked up with Wiley, and both enrolled in the Pay As U Go Cartel, arguably UK garage’s most impactful collective. Sifting through influential genres was no hard task however, as his style had become transient, moving with the ever-changing times. With the birth of grime came a crossroads in Riko’s life; serving a five-year prison sentence until 2004 for armed robbery, he emerged a changed man and joined his old partners in the newly formed Roll Deep. Since then, he has proven as consistent as they come, dropping numerous underground classics and infecting Sidewinders and Eskimo Dances with pure energy and flair. Heaters such as “Black Dragons” and new single “Vibration” serve as worthy introductions for the uninitiated.

Fast forward to 2018 and Riko’s new EP, Hard Food, is out on March 2nd via the Tectonic label. A six-track onslaught, it features production by label head Pinch, Mumdance, Joker, Walton and Ziro, and captures an intersection between grime, dubstep, dancehall and progressive UK bass music, united by Riko's deadly flow and uncompromising style. A style made possible by the music of his past, and his eclectic beginnings are fully represented in his Baker’s Dozen, containing a myriad of legendary landmarks in music, across soul, dancehall, rap, and grime. “This list is a mixture of what I listened to when I was young, what was listened to by my parents and what I would later listen to,” says Riko.

Riko Dan's Hard Food EP is out 2nd March. Click his photo below to begin reading the Baker's Dozen