the records that changed d double e’s life

From the days of Jungle and D&B through to the early dawn of Grime, D Double E has been an integral part in the development of British MC culture.

by Hattie Collins
|
18 November 2014, 6:40pm

The Forest Gate born rhymer began lyrical life on local pirate stations around London's E7, before becoming part of N.A.S.T.Y with Kano, Hyper, Ghetts, Mac 10, Footsie, Stormin, Marcus Nasty and Jammer, among others. Over the last 11 or so years, the Bluku Bluku rhymer has splashed his ubiquitous ad-libs over tracks with The Streets, Dizzee and, of course, Lethal B's still eponymous Pow!. Soaking his angular alphabetical acrobatics in quintessentially Cockney verse and a plethora of echo-based adlibs, D Double has rightly become your favourite British rapper's favourite British rapper.

i-D sits down with D.E.E to discover some of the key records in the life of the Newham General…

The first song I bought was…
Snoop's Doggystyle. I was about 13, 14 years-old. I got a hold of it myself and I remember it was a tape - that doesn't sound like an official buy to be honest, but I had it on tape. I used to listen to it and write down all of his words and learn them and say it back. I used to be that guy. It was the way he was cool and calm; he reminds of myself now, but back then I don't know if I was that cool and calm. But it was just no effort for Snoop. There was a lot of rappers going harder, but I just liked the Snoop vibe. Snoop and Biggie were some of my early inspirations, as a rapper. A bit of Tupac but I was more into Tupac after he died to be honest. It was then I was like 'Ah ok'. I remember he had that one tune where he dissed Biggie Smalls. I was like 'He's hard, boy' and I looked into him. But Biggie and Snoop was more me.

The song that made me want to make music was…
Just before I saw Incredible I was onto the Jungle a bit as a little kid. And then I saw General Levy's Incredible on The Box, when we first got cable in the early days. I was like 'Oh he's doing D&B like I am and he murked it'. The way he did that rolling tongue, and the squeak, I used to try and do that too and I got it on lock. Yeah, I had my Jungle days. It was 93, 94 when Incredible came out, and I was doing Jungle as a teenager six years later so I must have been proper on it.

My memories of the Jungle years are that it was…
Proper hardcore. Them houses they used to have the stations in; you'd have doors not locked, just push it and go in and it's like an empty flat. Nothing was official. It was all mad, beat-down houses. They're my days of going on stations. I remember going to meet my mate who lived in a block of flats. One day he was like 'There's music coming out of the block'. I was like 'What do you mean?' There was a radio station just on his block and so we went outside the door, we pushed it and the door was open and we went in and walked up there and there was a DJ and he didn't even say nothing to us. So we just stayed there and we just watched him and then we left. Then we found out the frequency and we used to listen. One day I wanted to MC and so we went to the station and I asked the DJ if I could MC and he said 'Yeah'. So that's how I started MCing. I started going there everyday until someone said 'Who are you mate?' Then that station just left and I didn't go there anymore. I don't know what it was called. It was in Leyton in a block called Thatch House. It's knocked down now, it's gone.

The song that most reminds me of growing up in Forest Gate in the 90s is…
Definitely MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. See them two, cos I used to do a bit of dancing as well, them two remind me of them times the most. I was more sort of body-popping, jump up in the air and come down, go back up - that type of dancer. All of that. I was that guy as well. As well as liking lyrics, I was like 'You man have got moves too!' In Primary School we had to do a play or something and I was Michael Jackson. I done the Moonwalk and I just smashed it man. I was a mover! All of that technique has gone into my bars. It's in the riddim; it's there (points to chest). You can tell by the way some people bop their head, like, if you meet a drummer, the way the man is drumming the ting, the beats are going through him differently. Without playing nothing, they're listening to the beat on a next tekkers. You know them ones? I do bust moves now and again (laughs) but when I dance now, I think I add a bit of joke to it. But, yeah, MC Hammer was just a buss for everyone on the block. I wasn't really one of them kids hanging out and stuff. When I was 13, 14, I was more indoors. If I was outdoors it was cos I went to stay with my cousin and his mum. His mum was cool and let us stay out till 11. My mum was definitely strict so I was in the house.

A song that reminds me of my parents is…
When I think of music and my parents I think of artists that my mum loved like Garnett Silk. And who's the other guy? They say he looks like me. I can't remember his name. With my dad, in his car, he'd be pumping all the tunes. My mum was more selective where my dad listened to everything. He wasn't a collector like her really.

A song I listen to when I'm heartbroken is…
Woi. I don't ever cry. I put on the hardcore stuff like Rick Ross 'Get that money'. No one would know the difference between me normal and me being in that mode. I just be normal. I listen to some tracks that remind me of certain moments, but nice moments. Because when a girl listens to a track like that, what she's getting from it is power. Like (sings) 'I don't care about you' and they're like 'Yeah, I don't care'. It helps them think stronger. But for me, that would probably drag me down more. I need to not care. It would be more of a nicer tune about things being good than a sad tune. Or Rick Ross hahaha.

The song that, to me, defines Grime as a genre is…
I'd have to say Pow. It's a benchmark. If someone hadn't heard grime and you put that on, they'd get the energy, the tempo, the shock of it - it's the perfect balance. When I look back on Grime, I think it's all gone the right way. We shouldn't have done anything differently. We rode it all the way and everything's progressed perfectly. It's not been a rush so that's made us stronger. When you rush things, it makes it weaker. So if we've been held back, it's good cos it's made us work harder. Doors are getting knocked down and soon we'll be all over TV and then we'll be all over the world.

I have many great ones, but my favourite D Double ad-lib is…
Gonna have to be Ohh-ohhh. Bluku Bluku is my newest design. That gets mad feedback but Ohh-Ohh is a classic. 

If my best lyric isn't 'Think you're a big man cos you go gym…' then it's…
"Oh gosh, oh golly/ I'm not a wasteman I'm not a wally/ Man can't push me around like trolley/ I'll kick off his head with a Pelé volley." Yeah, that one is a sick one.

To me, the best MC alive right now is…
Busta Rhymes. I think he has mad lyrical ability. I feel like he should be bigger than he is as well. He's an all rounder; any beat, any speed, the clarity and how he attacks the beat - It's crazy to watch him. I listened to him from back in the day when he was with Spliff Star in that group [Leaders of the New Skool]. Snoop is good but I feel Busta is sharp. He's like me; everyone is shining but when you hear him it's like 'Yeah, he's cutting'. He's always doing his job. Everything he does is crazy.

My favourite track to perform is…

Streetfighter Riddim and Bluku and Bad To The Bone. But my favourite track that I love to perform is Bluku. It's not even about everyone going nuts - cos that's Streetfighter- but Bluku I like cos it covers all angles. Streetfighter is for a certain crowd but Bluku is going down and it doesn't matter what crowd it is because it's got that crossover feel. And I feel it more. I like Bad To The Bone but I'm going iiiiiiin so it's hard to enjoy actually performing it. Bluku is more me chilling out. I like to relax a little bit sometimes. I don't relax to tell you the truth, so any moment I get to do that, I try.

The last track I bought was…
Lord of the Mics VI, to support them. It's been a good few months for Grime. I think I've managed to stay successful because I've always had faith. I've never had a weak spot or see anything stopping me from going forward. I've always known what my music is worth and I'm not stopping until it gets shown in the right light. That keeps me driven. 

D Double's new single, Lovely Jubbly, which premiered on i-D, is out on Sunday. Pre-order here

Credits


Text Hattie Collins 

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