OMG, they’re dancing!

Notorious puts the G in grime; WZBC DJ pleads ‘Guilty’
By DAVID DAY  |  October 27, 2008

G NotoriousWhen word came that G NOTORIOUS (a/k/a Geoff White) was putting out a promo-only grime mixtape, two questions came to mind. “Where’s G Notorious been?” And “Why grime?” After a few e-mails and instant messages, these questions were put to him at his Somerville home. “It’s just another unique sound coming out of the UK,” he says of the in-vogue genre. “I think there’s more of an opportunity for grime parties now. It’s a new name to yell down the street at people.” Notorious was one of the crew behind the Runnin’ party, which had a successful, uh, run at Boston’s Ekko Lounge a few years ago, keying in on UK garage and drum ’n’ bass, two other genres born from the primordial ooze of jungle. White was also part of the Toneburst movement alongside Boston icons DJ C, HRVATSKI, DJ FLACK, and DJ/RUPTURE.

Now, with his mix CD A Lasting Impression, he turns to grime. “But it doesn’t really matter what they call it,” he notes. “As long as it’s got a heavy bassline and an interesting beat, I’m into it.” White also runs the Soul Champion Web site, the largest garage and grime Web site in North America. “There were other sites that were here, but they’re not around anymore” he says with a laugh. Does it pay? “No!” he says with a much bigger laugh. “I don’t have good enough tracking to really sell advertising. We did break 150,000 raw hits last month. I do it just to let people know, to spread the music and promote myself as a DJ. It’s a pretty small, tight-knit scene.” White credits the recent attention to bluzz (that’s blog buzz, folks),’s monthly grime column, and the modest stateside success of acts like Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, and Lady Sovereign.

White still DJs, but no longer runs a weekly night. Most recently he played to a packed room at FLUID, Northampton’s weekly drum ’n’ bass night, alongside long-time New Englander DJ PARALLAX. “It’s a little bar and from what I hear they don’t dance as much,” he says. “That was the response we got from the manager there. He was like, ‘Oh my god they’re dancing! This is awesome!’ ” White hopes to play out more as the slithering basslines and up-tempo rhythms on jungle’s progeny return to the spotlight, but running a party again is out. “It’s been so dismal lately. People keep starting nights and they keep going down. Part of it is people are so lazy and don’t promote — but it’s also hard to get people to go out these days.” In the meantime, the mix CD is available for a small fee at “I’m trying to drop what’s current, for people who seen Dizzee or heard the Run the Road CDs on Vice Records and wondering what else is out there.”

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Notorious G-R-I-M-E

G Notorious runs down the top five grime bangers on A Lasting Impression  

Ask Boston’s G Notorious how a junglist ended up spinning grime, and he’ll tell you “it’s dirty, street-wise music rather than the glossy, focus-group-approved, marketing-campaign-driven dreck that we are constantly bombarded with on the radio.” But it’s also kind of a no-brainer. “I've been listening to hip-hop for years while playing mostly dance music, plus I've also always liked Dancehall reggae. Grime MCing combines the lyrical styles of hip-hop and dancehall with a uniquely British flow, while the beats and instrumentals pull from those genres as well as garage, drum ’n’ bass, dub, and even techno.” Here’s a few of his favorite recent tracks, all of which can be found on A Lasting Impression:  

1. “Run 4 Cover.” “It's a remix of the huge Dancehall anthem ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ and the MCs toast over it in full Ragga style.” 

2. “Top Shotta.” For the heavy top-quality production and bassline, plus the MCs bring rhymes that are more clever than most.” 

3. “WMD.” “This is really lyrically one of the most interesting grime tracks I've heard. Faction G goes off on a tirade about the US involvement in Iraq and accuses Tony Blair of basically playing ‘lap dog.’ It's great to hear someone step aside from just bigging themselves up and trying to murk the next man and really try to put a message across.” 

4. “Broken Wings.” “Okay, the first time I heard this, well, if I was on Springer I would have said ‘Oh, no they di-int!’ The ‘Take these broken wings’ sample from whatever ’80s tune that was is so bad but they made a HUGE tune out of it.” [ed. note: Google ‘Mr. Mister,’ kids.]

5. “There are also several tracks by up and coming US-based grime producers J Courage, Rugged & Prez, and my own remix of Lady Fury's ‘Too Much Drugs,’ which you're probably not going to hear except on A Lasting Impression and on”

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