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The links between drum & bass and hip hop have always run deep and the parallels between the cultures are undeniable. But only a handful of US voices have really crossed the genre boundary with authority: KRS One with Goldie and, years later, Noisia. The Jungle Brothers with Micky Finn & Aphrodite. TC Izlam and Hive. Much more recently there’s been the undeniable force of nature that is T.R.A.C, an MC who understands the flow and groove at 170 he could easily be compared to DRS.
Now we have Bizarre; the instantly distinctive, occasionally shower-cap-rocking, always left-sided rapper from D12, the rap supergroup where Eminem has cut his teeth. He makes his D&B debut this week on Drumsound & Bassline Smith’s Technique with No Concept. Fittingly it’s called Weirdo.
“We wanted to find some way of pushing things to the next level for our second single,” explains Brian co-captain of No Concept, the duo who we introduced on the site earlier this year (You might also recall him as Dubba Jonny from UKF Dubstep’s earliest uploads)
“We were initially planning to pair this up with a UK MC. The more the instrumental developed, however, the more it started to feel like a more rowdy US hip hop vibe would be the best approach. We’re both long time D12 fans and, coincidentally, the same day we were debating what to do with the track Bizarre happened to post on his socials that he was in the studio and was interested in taking on a last minute project. I suggested him almost as a joke as I assumed he wouldn’t be interested!”
It turns out Bizarre, real name Rufus Johnson, replied the same day explaining how he’s not usually a fan of dance genres but felt the vibe and was happy to collaborate.
“He had ideas for it right away and sent us a demo the next day,” explains Brian. “Initially we played it safe and tried something more party themed, but we ended up going for something more
hardcore, as Bizarre fans would expect!”
Bizarre delivers with the oddball brutality you’d expect from the rapper who first emerged on D12’s Attack Of The Weirdos EP in 1997. “I love the song,” he tells us. “It’s crazy and full of energy. If you sit down while this song is being played in the club then something is seriously wrong with you.”
Fresh from being namechecked on Eminem’s surprise (and remarkably vitriolic and raw) new album Kamikaze, Bizarre didn’t allude to whether he’d continue to bring his weirdo heat on more D&B bangers in the future. But the very fact he was open minded enough to jump on a track from a rising D&B duo who had no affiliation or roots in hip hop whatsoever (besides being fans since childhood) and turn in something so quickly and heavily suggests he’d be up for doing it again some time. No Concept’s brazen reach out to Bizarre is proof that if you don’t ask, you’ll never get.
“Yeah, it’s definitely a good look! We have to big up the No Concept boys for making it happen, they arranged it all with Bizarre and then presented it to us as a completed track,” explains Simon Bassline Smith. “There’s a long tradition of crossover between hip-hop and drum & bass, and guys like No Concept who draw from tradition but then add their own creative twist to the formula are exactly the type of artists Technique Recordings is about.”
And let’s not forget, this isn’t the first time Eminem’s clique have been associated with drum & bass…. Harry Shotta stole Slim Shady’s Guinness World Records crown for Most Words In A Hit Single in 2015. The links between drum & bass and hip hop will always run deep.