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HIP HOP 4 RAVES -  UK vs USA 88-92

HIP HOP 4 RAVES - UK vs USA 88-92

This article is to show the contrast between UK and US Hip hop and to highlight how UK hip hop used to be a force to be reckoned with in clubland.   

New Uk and US hip hop records were regularly played at the UK clubs & raves in the late 80s early 90s. It seemed every DJ, including some of the scene’s biggest; Carl Cox, Graeme Park, Mike Pickering, Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling, Fabio & Grooverider, Sasha and Evil Eddie Richards all found space in their sets to spin it and unlike the pigeon-holing and elitism of some today’s scene, back then, dance music openly embraced a huge melting pot of musical influences as Hip Hop sections became part of the night's highlight, alongside Piano anthems, breakbeat, US House, Indie Dance and Techno. Such was the mark it made on the scene, it even spawned a new genre called Hip-House (which we dont tackle here). 

The Uk produced Hip Hop artists without the major label backing we’re in a heightened state of creativity and innovation.    Stars of the time like MC Duke, Cookie Crew, Outlaw Posse, Hijack, Caveman, Monie Love, Silver Bullet and the Blapps Posse (Mad Doctor X), SL Troopers, Krispy 3  as well as some one-hit wonders from Hibrid, Wildski, Bug Kann and Sheffield’s DJ Mink we’re made for dancers.  Also a notable track from Top Billin who went onto form Definition of Sound.  

In the early 90s, UK Hip hop artists such as Rebel MC (now Congo Natty), Shut Up And Dance and Demon Boys  showed progression and would later become pioneers of the Drum n Bass scene by moving their sound deeper into hardcore.  Footnote: Tony Scott and King Bee are not American or British therefore not on the list.





By 1992 you started hearing the last of the Hip Hop section in the UK clubs.  

Illegal raves had mostly dried up and ‘raving’ moved mainstream into the superclubs.    “Proper” dancers moved out the way to make room for the masses.  

USA Hip Hop also took a turn and really started to settle into 90bpm boom bap with the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Dre and Wu Tang.  UK Hip hop followed suit and began to take their their own sound away from the dancers and into the back rooms and smokers.   The dance Djs split into genres (house, techno, hardcore). The musical meltin pot in the club scene was no more.      

For me the UK win this battle.  Those early UK artists had very little to play with apart from a vision and talent.    Its versatility and invention to move forward and innovate outweighs the US.  I have no evidence but I would also guess at the UK artists having way less budgets and major label backing in terms of production compared to their US counterparts.  Im sure Chubb Rock and Big Daddy Kane weren’t working on a shoestring.  

Judge for yourself.  I’ve stuck it all on one playlist, all classics! -


Thanks to our Songz for Dayzz Facebook Group members for the inspiration to get this done and Andy Purdon for sense checking the opening paragraph.


Tony Green

Next Artist Newtrament - UK Hip Hop Pioneer - Where is he now?