Pick 10 Chase & Status tunes… Just 10.
No one is ever going to agree on one single list.
14 years deep, they’ve explored it all – pop to punk, ballads to bangers – as one of an elite force of acts who have operated in every corner of the bass game with authenticity and critical success.
They’ve fed the underground with game-changing hurters on some of the most important labels in drum & bass – Ram, Renegade Hardware, Bingo Beats, Breakbeat Kaos, BC Presents. They’ve smashed the charts with gatekeeper sing-alongs, switching new generations of music fans to the dark art of D&B since their first top 10 hit – End Credits – in 2009. They’ve dished out demolition-level dubstep and have developed a fat stack of grime over the years with some of the most respected MCs across two generations of grime from Roll Deep to Novelist.
They’ve also just released their fourth album. Fresh out today, we’ve been waiting almost four years for this: Tribes. Teasing us over the last two years with single-shots such as the aggressive punk-inspired Control with Slaves, the surging emotional ballad All Goes Wrong and two of their most heavily hyped dubs in years – Tribes and Step Away, they’ve finally delivered the full 17-track dispatch.
As always it runs the spectrum with no apology; from their understated jazz-licked love letter to the everlasting legacy of Marcus Intalex (Tribute) to a rudeboy UKG two-stepper with Craig David (Reload) via a sizzling dancehall skanker with Shy FX and Kiko Bun (Real No More) and everything in between… Yet the production, style and delivery remains consistent. You can spot a Chase & Status tune a mile off and they’ve just given us 17 more to consider for any top 10 Chase & Status list you be compiling.
In the meantime, here’s ours. Which picks do agree with?
Top Shotta (Feat Roll Deep) (Breakbeat Kaos, 2005)
The deep foundations of their 2015 London Bars series lay right here. Often overlooked, Top Shotta is such a significant moment in Chase & Status history. At a time when very few drum & bass artists were stepping outside of the 170 region, just months after their Renegade Hardware debut, Chase & Status were building big-league grime beats with king OGs Roll Deep. And they were doing it on Fresh and Adam F’s seminal Breakbeat Kaos. With the soundclash-slewing Duppy Man on the A-side! What a release.
Jenna G – In Love (Bingo Beats, 2006)
No explanations necessary. When this drops, you sing along. If you don’t, you need medical help, spiritual healing or a good old fashioned hug. Raw soulful power delivered during the peak of big liquid bangers. One of the biggest drum & bass tracks of 2006, not everyone knew the beats were Chase & Status to begin with, but no one was surprised in the slightest when they found out. 11 years later and you can still feel the love.
The Druids (Bingo Beats, 2006)
Bassline Stinker! Their last Bingo release before signing to Ram, this not captures the raw club-cutting energy and vibe of Will and Saul at the time but also the jumpy, broadsword sound of the time. Riffy, rolling and more infectious than a pool party with a fresh tattoo: this was (and still is) double drop dynamite.
Hurt You (Ram, 2007)
*Goosebumps* Chase & Status debuted on Ram with serious statement of unpigeonholeable intent that stands tall today. On the dark side we have Sell Me Your Soul, an authentic savage nod to the influence of Virus and Renegade Hardware on their drum & bass schooling. On the light side we have the beautiful Hurt You, the first song to emerge from the duo’s game-changing debut album More Than Alot. A quintessential mid-2000s power liquid hurricane, this was huge and still sizzles the nerve endings 10 years later.
Eastern Jam (Ram, 2008)
The psychedelic Indian sample, that hypnotic hangdrum and a toxic treacle bassline so fat it could feed a family of four for a week…. When dubstep tremors began hitting the drum & bass richter scale around 2008/9 it was the law for all D&B artists to lay down at least one 140 jam (if only to show these new bass punks how proper mixdowns were done) This was Chase & Status’s flagship dubstep hat in the ring and it knocked everything out of the game. Including a lot of records made by dubstep artists; the first Dub Police night in Fabric after this came out on dub every single DJ played it and reloaded it. Often more than once.
Streetlife (Ram, 2008)
If you’re a real badman, you’ll never back down. Not our words but the words of Manchester singer Takura who delivers them with purring harmonic precision over this deep, restrained and highly vibed out roller. Timeless cold soul; this was another major cross-scene supported tune, that had DJs agreeing from all camps (which all felt heavily segregated at the time)
No Problem (Mercury, 2011)
Three years after the gamechanging success of More Than Alot, came No More Idols. And this was the brutal opening gambit. One of those tunes you can still remember exactly where you were when you first lost your footwear to it, this was a savage of statement of intent for the album: it doesn’t matter how many different styles and ideas they tried and deviations they took from drum & bass… They could still deliver next level skin-scorching bangers that amount to at least 30% of post-rave shoe sales across the world* Nothing you can say. Nothing you can do!
What Is Right (Virgin, 2013)
One of the coolest things Chase & Status have ever done: worked with the ultimate disco hit-making legend Nile Rodgers. What’s more, they didn’t even go for the obvious party vibe. Instead they got into a deep groove that rolls with a soulful Unfinished Sympathy-style where Niles’ iconic guitar just sits there subtly as a texture and Abigail Wyles’ soar under the spotlight. There aren’t any Chase & Status ballads on this list, What Is Right represents that side of their repertoire and it does so with understated class.
International (Ft Cutty Ranks) (2013, Virgin)
Absolute badness: Halftime flexing, trap horn blasting, digidub-switching, this is rudeboy soul music before you even get to the fact that Cutty ‘Hitman’ Ranks vocals are being torns limb by limb. Measured, mean, packed with attitude, it somehow manages to reference so many musical styles (even elements of EDM which was peaking at the time) yet it sounds like nothing else.
Step Away (Ft MC Fats) (Virgin, 2017)
From the authentic grit of Ranks we conclude with the genre-defining harmonies of another legendary MC – the one and only Fats. One of the tunes we’ve been most excited about getting our hands on this year, Step Away has been an integral part of Chase & Status and Andy C’s sets for what feels like forever and is one of the key highlights of Tribes. Another one of those tunes that you know is them without even being told, it captures everything Chase & Status excel in; underground roots, infectious melodic components and a vocal you’ll never forget. Something for everyone without compromise. Biggup Chase & Status.
*Figure might not be accurate (it’s probably more)