Bashment, Afrobeat & London’s Thriving Hoodstars

Last year I wrote a post called ‘Return of The Rudeboys’ which was about the growing number of  Rappers that were adopting a new sound in London. A rap sound that revolved around ridin’ Bashment instrumentals in freestyles, effectively releasing Bashment lead singles for their mixtapes and in a nut shell, steering away from following the US Rap sound, and instead adopting a style that, in my opinion, makes for an authentic Rudeboy sound. A “Rudeboy” sound, by my definition, being a sound that fuses British and Jamaican Street music, and street culture; Grime being the most distinct “Rudeboy” sound of recent years. Aggressive hood anthems with a Dancefloor focused soundscape, wheel ups, cyphers; they’re all elements you would attribute to a “Rudeboy” scene.

Since then there’s been more development in this area of UK Rap. One of the most notable developments being that Afrobeat has become a growing influence on the creative direction of the Rappers who are most prominently producing this style of music.

Afrobeat has been growing in global popularity over the last couple years. It fits firmly within the realms of Bashment and Funky, but is the West African answer to that form of high energy dance music. In the previous post I mentioned that ‘Timbo’ one of the better known stars of the scene has an almost ‘West African’ delivery when he vocals tracks, but neglected to make the connection with Afrobeat. The instrumentals used by the artists I mentioned are closer aligned with a Bashment groove than that of the faster Afrobeat sound; so that kinda got overlooked. Since then I’ve come to realise that the vocal style of Timbo and a newcomer by the name of J Hus, are firmly rooted in Afrobeat; making this new wave in fact a marvelous mix of Jamaican, West African and British musical influences .

J Hus is someone who has seemingly come out of know where. Hailing from Stratford, the selfprocraimed ‘Eastenders Ugliest’ is a young rapper who has been contributing to the Rudeboy soundscape in London. Like the rest of the Rappers I mentioned in the previous post, he doesn’t exclusively make this style of Music. Grime and Hip Hop do feature in his catalogue of available tracks and freestyles, but, the Bashment Afrobeat crossover Rap is the stuff that seems to stand out the most and is possibly the primary catalyst in his fast ascent. His tracks ‘No Lie’ & ‘Dem Boyz Paigons’ have been shutting down the raves and his name is ringin’ on the streets as a result.

J Hus hasn’t even been around a year and he’s already turning heads. His Fli5star freestyle video was his first significant step into the Rap sphere, and that was only released in September. So it’s early in the game for him, but being that he’s young, humble, a charismatic performer, and has managed to plant himself at the forefront of a new wave of UK Rap you can expect he will be here for the foreseeable future.

Despite the 808’s and rapid hi hats more commonly associated with the “Trap” sector of Rap music, this banger has an undeniable Bashment groove. The instrumental seems to fuse the two sounds in a manner that makes for a tumpin’ club track with some serious swagger.

‘Hussalabaybeh’

As I mentioned earlier I touched on Timbo and STP in the previous post I did. So, It’s important now that the subject is being revisited, that I give STP and Timbo in particular an honourable shout out and some extra limelight.

If you check out J Hus’ ‘SBTV Warm Up Sessions’ he drops the line “I got your girl gassed off my lingo, eylelele nah my bad that was Timbo..”, which speaks volumes about Timbo’s influence on the scene. J Hus and Timbo are similar in their approach to Music; London rap + the Afrobeat vocals over Bashment instrumentals being the concoction that makes them special. Timbo was out there doing it first ofcourse, and is arguably more synonymous with this particular style of delivery, but for J Hus to pay homage the way he did displays a clear understanding that he and Timbo are doing something that contrasts considerably with the status quo.

I’m not gunna do too much talking on Timbo because this interview with the masked Nigerian YouTube prankster ‘Uncle Rafool’ will allow you to learn a bit more about him. Plus it’ll be far more entertaining than what I could’ve written.

Formula: Nigerian accent + incredibly dry sense of humour = hilarity in most cases.

STP are on to the 3rd instalment in their #STP mixtape series, and are aĺso on track for further growth this year with their distinct brand of club music; catchy Afrobeat hooks over Bashment beats laced with hood verses.

‘Eylelele’

From what I’ve managed to gather, N.A is basically THE guy providing STP, J Hus, Sneakbo, Adz, Shallow and a whole host of rappers with the Bashment style instrumentals that feature on their mixtapes; I guess there is only so long you can use Mavado, or Vybz Cartel instrumentals until you have to seek out your own riddims to feel creatively fulfilled.

Hailing from North London, N.A has become the go to UK Bashment producer for the hood rappers who want something for the Dancehall. If you check out his soundcloud it’s pretty evident that he’s played a major part in the development of this particular street sound, and has contributed significantly to altering the landscape of UK Rap music.

Here’s a couple of the more recent tracks he’s produced:

Large up Stormzy on the feature for the next track. These kinds of crossover collaborations are what’s gunna make the UK scene healthy.

I wanted to touch on this subject not just to flag the immergence of Afrobeat being a growing influence on UK Rap, but to point out that right now, on a broad spectrum, UK MC’s have got the dancefloors on smash! The Grime scene’s trajectory seems unstoppable right now; as the leading Grime acts are tearing up every rave in sight, and on top of all that, we have another sector of MC’s outside of Grime who are shutting down dances too. DJ Mustard, YG, Rae Sremmurd, Future, Schoolboy Q, O.T. Genasis and that wave of US Urban acts came in and took over the dancefloors for a minute, but our homegrown Hoodstars are out taking them back!

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