Freestylers – Ruffneck (Samples The JBs’ The Grunt)

So I’ve just got back from an amazing week in Cannes at the advertising festival, where the sun shone and we went to an amazing set on the beach by (apparently) Tiesto. And now, I’m at home, on the sofa, watching footage of people at Glastonbury dancing in the rain. Which I’m actually pretty happy about.

What’s slightly strange is that the Glastonbury coverage includes lots of clips of people like Chipmunk, who have taken modern British black music to the very top of the charts. And yet one of the stand-out tracks that Tiesto played was Ruffneck by The Freestylers, a bunch of multi-cultural Brits who were all the rage in the mid to late 90s, but who have disappeared without a trace*.

In the days when the Heavenly Social was the place to be, and Glasto wasn’t quite as much a middle-class weekend out of town as it is now, The Freestylers were one of the best bands around. I remember some friends seeing them in a little dive bar somewhere in London and swearing it was one of the best nights they’d ever had. After dancing to Ruffneck on a beach earlier this week, I can well believe it, particularly with its amazing JBs sample.

So, as you watch the new British wave of black musicians storm the Glastonbury stages this weekend, spare a thought for the fallen warriors of The Freestylers. And try to get your hands on a copy of their Future Sounds Of UK mix: it rocks.

*Apparently they’re still going strong-ish in Australia.

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