Artist: London Posse
Song Title: Gangster Chronicle
Album: Gansgter Chronicle
Label: Mango Records
Year: 1990; remastered in 2013
London Posse’s 1990 album Gangster Chronicles has rightly gone down in history as quite possibly the most important UK hip-hop album. The album certified UK accents in rap, created a uniquely black British identity, and paved the way for the likes of Roots Manuva, Dizzee Rascal, Skinnyman, Klashnekoff and countless others.
Before London Posse, most UK rap was trying to imitate American accents and beats which didn’t necessarily suit the British or Jamaican accents.
“For me, coming out with a UK accent, it went against the grain,” Rodney P explains. “It wasn’t accepted. We had to make big pushes.”
From there, he explains how they combined influences of reggae, hip-hop and sound system culture to forge the earliest iterations of UK hip-hop.
According to The Daily Telegraph, London Posse “finally gave British rap an identity of its own.” London Posse member Bionic lead the charge for UK and worldwide artists to use their own accents and languages rather than copy Americans and was the architect behind their biggest hit “Money Mad” introducing ‘road style’ to UK hip hop and mixing it with ragga/dancehall.
The group was formed by Sipho the Human Beatbox, and consisted of Sipho, Rodney P, Bionic and DJ Biznizz.
Sipho had gained the attention of Mick Jones (formerly of The Clash) through his performance in the 1985 documentary Electrorock, and had subsequently performed on Big Audio Dynamite’s track “C’Mon Every Beatbox” from the album “No. 10, Upping St.”
The group formed for the 1986 Big Audio Dynamite tour of the United States and Europe, as Sipho had been asked to tour and wanted the others to tour with him. Rodney P (then known as MC Rodie Rok) was two weeks into a YTS course when he joined the group and Bionic was performing as a reggae MC, although Rodney and Bionic already knew each other through mutual acquaintances and through attending Jerry Dammers’s Artist Against Apartheid gigs in Covent Garden.
As well as this, Sipho and Bionic had already been performing together – they had featured on the Irish TV show “Megamix” in 1986 as a duo. Also supporting on the tour were Schoolly D and DJ Code Money.