“London is a multicultural city… it’s like a melting pot of young people, and that’s reflected in the music of UK garage” – M.J. COLE
For people who are about to read this and have no idea about UK garage, I’ll go into detail a little further down, but the only way we can go on is if you embrace this genre for yourself by listening to a track below. Anyone who is already aware of this style of music, you know where this rant is coming from…
In the late 1980s and early 1990s the UK was submerged in house music due to influences from the nightclubs such as the Hacienda, Orbit and Shelleys. It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that ‘speed garage’ came about due to iconic figures such as Todd Edwards and DJ EZ. Edwards who hailed from the US was notorious for remixing soulful house records with more time-shifts and vocal samples than your average house track that would have been played at the time.
Across the pond in London, a club in Greenwich, London, was a bubble just waiting to pop. Resident DJ, DJ EZ would take Todd Edwards tracks and speed the tempo up drastically, thus creating a new sound. That sound was soon to be ‘UK garage’.
With every year, this upbeat sound got bigger and bigger due to acts such as M.J. Cole, Artful Dodger, Goldie, Grant Nelson, Craig David, The Streets and more. Pirate radio in the UK was also a massive contributor to the rise of UKG, with many new stations filling the airwaves and taking the genre to a new commercial audience. Tracks like ‘Artful Dodger – Movin To Fast’ and ‘Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers’ carried this momentum into the early 2000s before the genre jumped into many sub genres such as 2-step, grime, dubstep and future garage.
Over the past 4-5 years many artists have emerged from the UK producing 2-step tracks such as Disclosure, Zed Bias and Mark Hill (one half of Artful Dodger). Even though this point can be argued because many people wouldn’t categorise the likes of Disclosure and AlunaGeorge as UKG, but if you where a new-comer to this genre, there are major similarities.
2015/2016 also saw the return of Craig David, who kickstarted his career with the likes of Artful Dodger and that UKG sound. Many artists are starting to dabble in the genre again, some of them include Kurupt FM, Skream, Wookie and Tuff Culture. We can’t help but lick our lips at the thought of UKG making a massive come back, because the foundations are well and truly laid, no matter what you think of the artists dipping into the genre presently.