March 1, 2013

Recognize! We’re about the dive deep into the origins of UK Grime, and who better to talk to than genre pioneers Ruff Sqwad. With members of the crew including the likes of Tinchy Stryder, Dirty Danger, Rapid and producer Slix, the ever evolving crew are regarded as THE grime supergroup.

Listen in! Ruff Sqwad curated an exclusive UO mix tape…

Forming in 2001, the original Ruff Sqwad crew could never predict the effect of their tunes on modern music culture. To them, a group of East London school kids at the time, it was nothing more than a platform for self expression, bunking off school and mixing tracks on their home computers. The sound created was unique, an aggressive take on the current scene; hard hitting lyrics and fierce soundtracks captured the imagination of a like-minded crowd.


Their popularity boomed and as did the ambition of the crew, almost becoming a boot camp for up and coming MCs and producers. With attention elsewhere, Ruff Sqwad seemed all but diminished, a few low quality tracks knocked around Youtube, and the original CDs/LPs were notoriously hard to find.

Enter 2012, the re-uprising of the Ruff Sqwad legacy. Producer Slix took it upon himself to revisit the original tracks which launched UK Grime, reproducing Ruff Sqwad hits to create the ultimate grime album, White Label Classics.


Follow the page as we chat to Ruff Sqwad about life and grime, as well as listening in on their Spotify playlist.

Hello Ruff Sqwad! Where are you right now?
In East London shooting a video for latest track from the V day EP.

Tell our readers a little about how Ruff Sqwad first formed…
We were friends from school or Bow. We all made music together in Youth Clubs and then progressed to forming a group and releasing tracks.

You’ve recently released tracks from the very beginning of the Ruff Sqwad Era. How’s the response been now people can finally get their hands on these previously rare recordings?
The response has been fantastic, we’ve had great support from old fans that used to listen to us on pirate radio and bought the tracks on White Label vinyl as well as new fans that have just discovered us through the release. When we made these tracks we just made them for our pirate radio show we never thought 10 years down the line people would still want to own them.

With being so young when you first made these tracks, did re-releasing them spark any good memories from back in the day?
Loads! From going to Pirate radio in different areas to pressing records and the whole journey we’ve been on. The music industry has changed so much from when we started listening to these tracks bring us back to a different time.

You’ve collaborated an exclusive mix for Urban Outfitters. Tell us what inspired the track listing and what you hope people will enjoy about it?
The mix contains a few tracks from the CD as well as some that didn’t make it such as the all Day Long remix, which is a personal favourite, and some newer tracks we’ve been working on. We’ve built a reputation for our own distinctive sound so hopefully people who have never heard us can get a flavour of what we are about as producers. A lot of people that don’t normally listen to grime like our music because it incorporates lots of different styles.

Do you have any surprise musical influences? Something people wouldn’t associate with the type of music you produce?
We enjoy listening to a wide range of music that you wouldn’t typically associate with grime. Both our families are Ghananain so we grew up listening to Afrobeat as well as rock and hip-hop. Some of our more unlikely influences are Enya and Bonjovi.

If you were to live the life of any other producer/MC, who would it be?
Timbaland because of the singers he has worked with such as Aaliyah.

What’s the best lyric you have ever heard in during your years as MCs?
I don’t have a favourite lyric but Monkee MC, formerly of Newham Generals, is my favourtite lyricist.

Nike or Adidas?

Your house is set ablaze with furious fire (touch wood this doesn’t happen). What’s the one and only possession you would try and save?
My Mac as it has all my music on it!

Which artist involved in Grime music are you most excited about right now?

Aside from music, how do you spend your time? What do you do to chill out?
I relax by playing Fifa, reading books and socializing with friends.

Now check out Ruff Sqwad’s Spotify playlist.

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