Still Embedded In The Underground – A History Of Drums n Bass

The year is 1991 and the setting is a warehouse in the middle of nowhere in the UK. Looks like someone broke into it and decided to have a ‘smash and grab’ dance party. And the music too sounds unlike any other – its called hardcore.

Hardcore flourished for the next few years to come, sometimes being referred to as rave. But as soon as Prodigy came out with “Charly”, and it gained widespread success, hardcore’s underground feel began to lose sheen. Some called it too cheesy whereas others began to look out for something new.

And it is this uncertainty that gave rise to drum n bass or jungle or D&B. Not content with the chipmunk vocals and manic piano combos used in happy hardcore, D&B took on a more breakbeat approach, and its popularity has only grown as the years passed.

While the first versions were essentially hip-hop beats on speed, with the likes of DJ Hype, subsequent D&B offerings featured more complicated breakbeats, thus providing oxygen for the jungle scene to breathe and prosper.

It went through phases of Ragga, with the likes of Ganja Kru, M-Beat and General Levy making it their signature, before finding its feet. Today, there is so much delineation within bass n drums that it has become a genre in itself. And its greatest allure till date remains its flexibility of serving outdoor events and the clublands of UK with equal ease.

Today, you would find terms like darkside, artcore, intelligent etc being served up but its important to remember that these are all forms of D&B. And its heart-warming to see D&B DJs finally getting their own radio slots as well as residencies in UK’s top clubs.

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