Where would The Beastie Boys be without Mix Master Mike? Or RUN DMC without Jam Master Jay? Saying this, where would hip-hop be without Kool Herc!!?
Of all the elements in hip-hop, the DJ is possibly the most important. When hip-hop first emerged it was the DJ who started the party, it was the DJ who dictated who got on the mic (and who needs to pass it) and today, with that legacy staying true, it’s the DJ we celebrate, by picking ten from the UK who have left their mark on the scene or who are currently breaking barriers. Enjoy…
SEMTEX1Xtra’s finest DJ hosts the Cornerstone Hip Hop Show at the BBC every Friday. If that wasn’t enough work, he also entertains crowds at various live events including Glastonbury, interviews top billin’ artists, has a Podcast and even released a book called Hip Hop Raised me! At nearly 450 pages deep this really is the bible of hip-hop and should definitely be on your Christmas lists – Grab one here
West London DJ from the ‘Golden Era’ of UK hip-hop, I can’t hear the name with out ‘VERB-T HARRY LOVE – BACK AGAIN’ ringing out! He started as one of the original members of Scratch Perverts before forming The Extended Players with Shortee Blitz, MK and Mr Thing. Releasing music on Silent Soundz and Low Life records there wasn’t many areas of the UK scene Harry hadn’t been a part of and still influences today. Oh, and he also starred in an IKEA commercial!
SARAH LOVEThe UK’s ‘First Lady of hip-hop’ Sarah Love is described as a ‘One Woman Wrecking Machine’. For over ten years Sarah has blessed the UK scene and we salute her. If you take any of the advice we give at Wordplay then lock into FUBAR RADIO regularly. Sarah Love and the mighty Mys Diggi (formerly Mystro) are on air every Monday 4pm-6pm with live performances, hip-hop chat and in their own words ‘The show where ignorance & intelligence don’t just walk that thin line – they do the running-man!’
DJ FORMATDJ Format’s debut album Music For The Mature Bboy was released nearly 14 years ago! DJ Format is celebrated for his true hip-hop sound, by this I mean strictly rooted in the essence of hip-hop culture. Breaks. Having toured and dug around the globe, Format’s Funk infused sound is embedded in rare breaks and gems of sounds, whether behind the decks or the mixing desk. He is seriously entertaining as a DJ, especially when re-united with his rhyming counterpart; Abdominal.
BILLY BIZNIZZ (London Posse) All hail London Posse, you can’t deny they took hip hop in the Uk and made it what it is today. Biznizz is a name synonymous with break culture, his name has circulated many circles in the hiphop scene for decades. A well known London OG, part of the legendary Live 2 Break crew, former DJ for UK hip-hop pioneers London Posse and part of Tha En4cers, alongside DJ Pogo & Cutmaster Swift.
MrTHINGCut Mr Thing open and he bleeds hip hop! Starting as a member of the legendary Scratch Perverts he’s a huge influence on most aspiring and successful DJ’s today. Tradition is his path and it’s set in stone. From digging to scratching and mentoring, dare I say the English DJ Premier!?! Stick his Boiler Room set on and nod…
SAMMY B-SIDE After setting the level for our Wordplay Sessions mix CD, of course DJ Sammy B-Side is on our list. But it’s not just a biased choice, B-Side is leading the way in the new generation of hip hop in the UK. He was there from the very beginning of High Focus Records and is listed as the first and only DJ to make the HF Artist list! Cuts & Scratches by Sammy B-Side is a phrase credited by many including The Mouse Outfit, The Four Owls, Dirty Dike, Leafdog, Verb T, Jam Baxter, Lee Scott, Fliptrix, Split Prophets and many many more.
DADDY SKITZWith his debut 12″ dropping in 1996 it’s about time we celebrated 20 years of Daddy Skitz! A serious UK hip hop powerhouse, Skitz has opened doors and launched the careers of some of this islands finest, including Roots Manuva! He is also the first British producer to have a record on Rawkus Records, been on the cover of various magazines (HHC, Fatboss) but it’s his hip hop show with Rodney P on 1Xtra that most will know him for.
DJ FINGERFOODFingerfood has been quietly building a rep for years now. Having spun for the likes of Four Owls, Ramson Badbonez, Split Prophets, Rag N Bone Man and many more. As a producer, clothing label creator (Squared Roots) and an all round nice guy! Fingerfood has been grinding for years, and a long time friend of the Wordplay Family. We love his Wordplay Sessions mix, check it here:
Not strictly a hip hop DJ, but we can’t have a respectable list without including a DMC champion, not to mention scratching started with hip hop. Jon1st is technically mind blowing, seeing him play live and witnessing his abilities is a must!