London Posse : Gangster Chronicle


British hip-hop milestone re-released

A musical Molotov cocktail when it originally appeared in 1990, London Posse’s sole full-length release has suffered with hindsight. Not only dated by the prominence of James Brown-type loops, Public Enemy noises and heavy dub reggae fusions, the concerns of Rodney P and Bionic seem juvenile and ignorant, in a way only hardheaded ruffnecks can be, in retrospect.

At the time, it was certainly a revolution of sorts to hear tales of gunplay, police harassment and sexual conquests set to a mixture of Cockney and patois. But, while ‘Money Mad’ and ‘How’s Life In London’ retain some relevance, hip-hop has changed so much soundwise as to render ‘Gangster Chronicle’ quaint and nostalgic.

It’s true that the UK variant of hip-hop has remained underground and refused to engage the popular imagination, beyond novelty hits, in the intervening years. The greatest contribution made by London Posse and their peers has been as blueprint artists for jungle, drum’n’bass and garage. And it ain’t hard to see why.

The attitude, in-fighting, rivalries, verbal disses and youthful indiscretions contained on tracks like ‘Oversized Idiot’ put paid to a scene that’s still not fully understood, even now.

Dele Fadele