An England Story ~ From Dancehall To Grime: 25 Years of the MC in the UK 1983-2008
Soul Jazz Records
June 17, 2008

Track list
Disc One:
  1. England Story - YT
  2. Somebody - Suncycle
  3. Gotta Man - Doctor & Davinchie
  4. So U Want More - Ty & Roots Manuva
  5. My God My King - Papa Levi
  6. Bump And Grind - Tenor Fly
  7. Tika Toc - Skibadee
  8. Ice Rink Riddim - Riko
  9. Deep - Jakes & TC
  10. Walk And Skank - Jah Screechie
  11. Love Mi Ses - Top Cat
Disc Two:
  1. Tings Change - Warrior Queen & The Heatwave
  2. Fashion Magazine - Glamma Kid
  3. Champagne Body - General Levy
  4. Money Mad - London Posse
  5. Ruffneck - Navigator & Freestylers
  6. Dollar Sign - Stush
  7. Ready She Ready - Tubby T
  8. Red Letters - Blak Twang
  9. Uptown Top Rankin' - Est'elle & Joni Rewind
  10. Complain Neighbour - Tippa Irie
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
In recent years London-based Soul Jazz Records have established themselves as a label to check for Soul, Funk or Reggae compilations. Now they've come up with a double cd which focuses on the culture of British MC-ing over the past 25 years. The compilers have decided not to stick to a particular musical movement, but to collect samples of various genres including Ragga, Jungle, UK Hip-Hop, Reggae, Garage, Grime and Dubstep in order to underline that these different musical styles are strongly connected. Besides that they also wanted to make clear that UK based MC's have taken influences from Jamaican and US music to mix them up with local references and styles, which led to the creation of the identity of Black British culture.

At first sight an interesting concept to show the links and musical path from the arrival of UK Dancehall and Soundsystems in the early 1980s, through successive musical movements. But after having listened to the 21 tracks of this compilation it's obvious that you'll have to be a listener with an open ear and mind, and at least a musical taste that is pretty broad. On the other hand you might want to purchase "An England Story", subtitled "From Dancehall To Grime: 25 Years of the MC in the UK 1983-2008", because you're interested in a historical overview of MC culture in the UK, and then it doesn't matter whether you like certain genres or not.

Of course, musical taste is a very personal thing, but Garage, Grime and Dubstep simply aren't our cup of tea. Therefore we prefer to skip tracks such as Riko's "Ice Rink Vocal", Jake & TC's "Deep", London Posse's "Money Mad", and Blak Twang's "Red Letters" (not meant as a disqualification), and stick to the tunes that bring back good memories like for example Papa Levi's "My God My King", Tenor Fly's "Bump And Grind", Jah Screechy's "Walk And Skank", and General Levy's "Champagne Body".

This release comes with a large booklet (31 pages) featuring extensive text, interviews with Tippa Irie and London Posse, and exclusive photographs.