The Story Behind The Song: Jaguar Skills & KRS One

Jaguar Skills

I’m in your face! It’s like The Prodigy being DJ’d by Funkmaster Flex. It’s like an X-rated version of Yoda. It’s like a brick thrown in your face at high speed by a guy in a mask!

This is how Jaguar Skills personally describes his DJ style. Having experienced his blistering reference-rifling showmanship on more than one occasion, we’re not ones to argue.  He’s set to perform at two events UKF are involved in…

Firstly the forthcoming M*A*D*E event in Birmingham UK on May 3. UKF will be present and correct as we’re hosting our own stage with the likes of Chase & Status, Sub Focus, Camo & Krooked, Kove, Breakage, Dimension and more.

Then, in July, he’ll be performing with us at EXIT Festival as we take over the nocturnal schedule each night between July 10-13!

To get into the party vibe we called up Jaguar Skills and caught the full story behind his latest release… With legendary hip-hop pioneer KRS One!

The Story Behind The Song: KRS One – Big Up New York

“I’ve just finished an album for the famous US label Nervous Records. They were always known as a house label historically, but between 93-95 they started releasing some really cool grimy New York hip-hop. It was produced by these guys called Da Beatminerz. They had a really distinctive sound. Just like Wu Tang had their signature sound and Pete Rock had a signature sound but Da Beatminerz had this deep filtered jazz sound with big reverbed drums. I was a huge fan of that shit when I was growing up…. 20 years later Nervous Records called me up and said ‘come to our vaults, take it all and make something cool!’

I was sitting there thinking ‘these are the beats of my youth! This is so important!’

I took everything! All the cleared samples, all the accapellas, all the beats, all the tapes. Those tapes had all sorts of stuff that had never been heard before… I went through all of them. It took me two months but it was such a thrill! I was sitting there thinking ‘these are the beats of my youth! This is so important!’ It was so interesting to see how they made the tunes back in the day.

As I was going through the tapes I suddenly found this acapella. 100 bars from KRS One. 20 years old. Never released. I rang the label manager and said ‘what the hell is this?’ It turns out KRS One had produced one of their acts, recorded this but never got round to using it. No one had ever heard it.

He came back with ‘yeah, that’s my new record right there!’

I’d been collecting beats from the tapes and created a whole toolkit of kicks, snares, hi-hats and everything like that. I created the beats from the toolkit, made the track, sent it to the label and they sent it to KRS One. He came back with ‘yeah, that’s my new record right there!’

The intro bit where he’s talking about hip-hop and where he’s from. Those sounds – the trains, the street, the spray cans and the whole New York environment was engineered to make it feel like he was there. It was all found bit so I could give it that feel. I re-edited all of it, made the chorus and built it into the tune you hear now. It was a real feat of reverse engineering.

We’re doing a show at the end of this month in New York. It will be weird. As a teenager I was listening to his shit every day! I’m just a dude who DJs… To go back to where that culture came from and have one of my favourite rappers of all time saying ‘yeah this is cool’ I’m just like ‘really? Alright!’

Jaguar Skills – Nervous 90s Hip-Hop Revisited is out now. Check the flavours on Jaguar Skills’ own minimix: