Gilles Peterson’s BBC 6 show does it again!
There’s three music styles that defined the sounds of the 1990s - New York City hip-hop, New Jack Swing, and the variety of sounds derived from that music out of Bristol, England.
Starting in the late-1970s, Bristol’s underground music scene flourished with Reggae and post-Punk sounds from bands like Black Roots, Maximum Joy and The Pop Group. The sounds of early rap music began to make its way across the ocean from New York via cassette tapes. That new sound captivated the world, and began to influence the direction of the music coming out of Bristol. As DJ Krust mentions in the piece, “we saw some guys, who didn’t look like they had much more than us, create a culture that’s now taken over the world.”
By the early 1990s, new sounds began to inspire the music in America. That sound, from Bristol, was Trip-Hop. Groups like Massive Attack (which included Nellee Hooper who went on to produce Soul II Soul, Björk and Madonna, among others), Portishead, Tricky and Roni Size, are considered legends, and for a good reason, they are game changers.
This show tracks the history of the Bristol, England underground scene. Listen via BBC 6’s iPlayer Radio app.
Today is our first weekly focus on the voices of rappers. Our subject today: James Lewis.
It's weird how we associate voices with a time and place. The moment I heard James Lewis I could picture myself when I was in college, some twenty years ago, and Gang Starr or PM Dawn might be playing in my headphones. His voice is reminiscent of a time when the diversity of rapper's voices was a commodity. His tone is husky and matched with his flow makes you feel like he might be singing, but he isn't.
Listen to James Lewis, preferably with red wine and maybe some candles ... and maybe that someone you consider special.