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A Magazine for Sheffield

Gangster Chronicle: The Definitive Collection

Going into the studio “without knowing what the fuck we were doing,” London Posse created arguably one of the most influential UK hip-hop records ever made with 1990’s Gangster Chronicle. One of the first groups from our shores to rhyme how they spoke, in a broad cockneypatois hybrid, they were also pioneers of reggae-influenced hip-hop, with singles like the classic ‘Money Mad’ as relevant today as it was 23 years ago. British MCs have a lot to thank Rodney P and Bionic for, and it’s thanks to Tru Thoughts that this material gets the thoroughly deserved reissue treatment alongside a second CD of unreleased material and new remixes.

Unashamedly British, brash and blunted, the back and forths, comedy one-liners and classic 90s production set a trend for truly representing your area, telling stories of 90s London, tours in the States and tonguein- cheek sexual conquests.

For anyone who’s familiar with Gangster Chronicle, it’s the second CD that will provoke most interest. ‘Future No. 1’, ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, ‘London Massive’ & ‘Roughnecks’ are lost gems. Nothing groundbreaking, just fresh, 90s hip hop, with that golden age sound. On ‘London Massive’ though, Bionic raps in a style way ahead of its time, a precursor to grime, garage and all the other offshoots of hip hop that have emerged since.

As someone who takes drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep remixes of hip hop tracks with a healthy dose of scepticism, I wasn’t overly excited at the prospect and in truth I think it would have been a better idea to include more older material, but if it introduces London Posse to a new generation then that’s no bad thing. Personally I would’ve preferred some more B-sides. The remixes do very little for me and I had to skip a couple.

Gangster Chronicle is an important album and hasn’t aged badly at all. As Tru Thoughts A&R Robert Luis puts it, “The slang may have changed, but the stories are about a day-to-day life that many people still experience.”