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Baker's Dozen

Ultimate Sad Boys: Fred Macpherson's Baker's Dozen
Patrick Clarke , January 19th, 2022 09:42

Spector's Fred Macpherson takes Patrick Clarke on a rollercoaster Baker's Dozen, taking in the similarities between Frank Sinatra and Drake, a love-hate relationship with Nick Cave, his friendship with David Tibet and more


DJ Target / Roll Deep – Aim High Vol. 3

We’ve had decades of white people pontificating over the importance of grime and I don’t want to add too much to that but having had no first hand cultural experience of the tail-end of the American hip hop that friends were listening to at school, 50 Cent and Eminem, grime was the first stuff I heard that was like ‘Wow, this is British, it’s bombastic, it’s weird, and it’s energised’. I had an era of interviewing and writing about rappers and MCs for Vice, and I interviewed Wiley and D Double E and Trim and people of that era just as a fan.

Roll Deep and the other crews from London at that time were undeniably making some of the best British music of the 21st century, but with the exception of Dizzee Rascal’s first album if you go and listen to their major label albums on Spotify it’s inherently disappointing because they were squeezed through the mangle of early noughties major label A&R, which was somehow even less enlightened than it is today. And it was before we had the re-assessment of grime when Skepta came up, and people realised ‘No, actually this is music that’s best left un-A&R’d’ There are a few mixtapes that tell their story much better, [Roll Deep’s] Creeper Volume 1 and Creeper Volume 2, and this series that DJ Target put together. I’m not an audiophile at all, but listening to this CD, it kind of sounds shit but amazing. You’ve got these kick sounds that hurt, they’ve either been left up by accident or are deliberately up to elicit a reaction, it creates a very different listening environment.

It was the first time I’d heard artists talk in the music about their record label experience and being dropped. That was something that became quite influential for me. On this mixtape, there’s a few tracks where they talk about getting dropped but with a bravado, an excitement. We got dropped, but this this is what we’re doing now. It was also one of the first times I heard Skepta with the ‘What D’ya Mean’ freestyle, which were some of his most famous lyrics of that era when he first came up. There’s a certain era of Roll Deep where Skepta had joined for a very short time, and Trim who went on to be a James Blake loved more alternative rapper is still in it. You still had Flowdan who ended up making albums with The Bug, and Wiley at the centre of it. So it’s a very interesting group of people, some on their way in, some on their way out. There’s a run of tracks on here, ‘Alligator Riddim’, where it’s loads of different rappers on the same beat. I hadn’t grown up with dancehall music so I had never understood that as a concept, the same beat with a different rapper going over it as a different track. I had to buy this again recently off eBay just to listen to it.