More on L.A.'s Bass History, Including "Gangster Ravers" | West Coast Sound | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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More on L.A.'s Bass History, Including "Gangster Ravers"

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Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 3:47 AM

click to enlarge DRUM 'N' BASS' FIRST STAR, GOLDIE, VIA GOLDIE.CO.UK.
  • Drum 'n' bass' first star, Goldie, via goldie.co.uk.
We recently published a piece on the history of L.A. bass music, which despite some good information neglected a few years. We'd like to fill in the gaps.

See also: A History of Bass Music in Los Angeles

First, let's take it way back. This will be a little controversial, but seeing that the likes of Egyptian Lover saw a comeback during the late-aughts' "electro" phase, let's go there: Los Angeles was an epicenter of early hip-hop music made for break-dancing:

2 Live Crew's Miami bass music in the early 1980s actually has L.A. roots and came via an L.A. label. And Dr. Dre's pre-NWA project was known as the L.A. Dream Team. It produced up-tempo break-dance music for the head-spinners.

Add DJ Unknown and Egyptian Lover to the mix, and you had a full on electro explosion only a few years after the seminal New York track "Planet Rock."

Rave's late '80s hip-house era (Jungle Brothers, Mr. Lee, Wee Papa Girls, Coldcut) was welcomed in Southern California, and by the early 1990s the break-beat rave sounds of the Suburban Base and Moving Shadow labels, not to mention Aphex Twin ("Didgeridoo") and Prodigy, were rocking warehouse raves.

By 1994 the up-tempo breaks sound of U.K. rave culture was being called drum 'n' bass, and it found a home with local DJs such as Josh Swissman, R.A.W. and Machete, who played at raves far and wide.

That year U.K. drum 'n' bass artist Lemon D produced a track called "South Central L.A.," and the followed up in 1995 with, "This is L.A.," a track that samples NBC's Tom Brokaw saying, "This is Los Angeles, gang capital of the nation."

Indeed, the L.A. D&B scene could be surly, to say the least. The term "gangster ravers" was not an exaggeration.

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