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The Sound Of UKG

posted by on 28/02/2011

A few days ago I was in my car on the way home listening to the radio. I flicked through a couple of stations and all but one was playing the same generic popular songs of the moment as you would expect them to do. However one was playing some serious UKG that I am ashamed to say I had forgotten about and it has inspired me to write this post. For those who don’t know UKG stands for UK Garage which is a musical genre most commonly known simply as Garage music.

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UKG is a genre of electronic dance music originating from the United Kingdom in the early-1990s and is viewed as a descendant of house music. Over the years it has largely subsumed into other styles of music and production, notably within hip-hop and urban music and has spawned multiple off-shoots including Grime, UK Funky House, Dubstep, and Bassline.

Artists like M.J. Cole, The Artful Dodger, Jaimeson, Stonecold GX, So Solid Crew, Heartless Crew, The Streets, Shanks & Bigfoot, DJ Luck and MC Neat, Sunship (Ceri Evans), Oxide and Neutrino and numerous others have made garage music mainstream in the UK.

Here are a few of my favourite songs from a number of the mentioned artists.

Jaimeson feat Angel Blu – True


The Artful Dodger – Movin’ Too Fast


Female garage artists include Lisa Maffia, Ms. Dynamite, Gemma Fox, Kele Le Roc, Shola Ama, Sweet Female Attitude, Miss-Teeq and others

Again a few songs that I like from some of the artists just mentioned

Kele Le Roc


Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers


The early 2000’s saw an evolution of the genre with 2-step moving away from its funky and soul-oriented sound into a darker direction called Grime. During this period traditional UK garage was pushed back underground amongst the bad publicity emanating from the tougher side of the genre, and publicised violence surrounding members of the So Solid Crew. During this time early Grime artists music was not begin distributed on a wider scale as record companies would shy away from the genre due to its negative stigma and unhealthy connotations.

Dizzee Rascal and Wiley for example, although quite popular and commercially successful now, had to settle for appearances on pirate radio stations and locally generated buzz to keep up their presence and relevance.

Dizzee Rascal – I Luv You


After the change in direction for the genre UKG has once again rose to prominence and has shaken off the strong association with Grime. DJ’s playing what is now commonl;y refered to as OldSkool Garage started its resurgence and it could be said that it is as popular today as it was back in the 90’s.

Fairly self explanatory OldSkool Garage refers to DJ’s playing the old garge tunes that were played back in the 90’s. However this isn’t to say that new takes on the genre aren’t being made, in fact more and more artists are coming forward with new sounds which have quite obviously been influenced by the sonicis of the 90’s genre.

Magnetic Man featuring John Legend – Getting Nowhere


I started off this post by saying that radio plays the same generic popular songs but I don’t mean this in a bad way. The purpose of this post was to shed light on a genre that I had no neccarrily forgotten about but had forgotten how good song of the songs to come from in were. If you had never previously listened to this genre than I hope this has been educational if you were then I hope this has been a nice reminder.

I’ll end the post here with another favourite of mine.

Baby D – Let Me Be Your Fantasy