From Never Mind the Buzzcocks to ‘Blackberry Hype’, UK MC Maxwell D has never quite learnt how to go on about his job without causing a stir, and the last week has seen him involved in yet another controversy.
The latest incident started when Maxwell – a former MC in Pay As You Go Cartel with Wiley, God’s Gift et al – posted a freestyle to his Soundcloud page. The beat? Julio Bashmore’s ‘Au Seve’. So far so forgettable, especially given that it’s hardly the first time an MC’s jumped on a Julio Bashmore beat: Wiley’s ‘Glam Freestyle’ rode ‘Battle for Middle You’, and Boy Better Know performed over ‘Au Seve’ at Red Bull’s recent Culture Clash event in London.
Maxwell’s ‘Up & Down’, however, has had an impact. Various promoters and DJs from the London deep / tech house scene that centres around nights like Audio Rehab (see also: Mark Radford’s Rinse 18 CD and the whole shuffling thing) took offense at Maxwell jumping on ‘Au Seve’, reviving the age-old debate of house music and MCs that we last saw crop up at UK Funky’s prime – where tracks like Gracious K’s ‘Migraine Skank’, K.I.G.’s ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ and Maxwell’s own ‘Blackberry Hype’, a freestyle over Lil Silva’s ‘Funky Flex’ that Silva took issue with, caused the scene’s elders to publicly debate whether MC versions of UK Funky anthems (and their related novelty dances) would send the genre’s sound in the wrong direction.
UK dance music has a history of these debates – many people will have heard about the infamous drum’n’bass crisis meeting, for instance – and true to form, Friday’s Rinse FM show from Fonti and Bushkin featured Maxwell D debating with high ranking members of the London house militia – Marcus Nasty, MC Versatile, Mark Radford and more – about the merits of ‘Up & Down’, piracy, whether MCs are welcome in house raves and more. Frankly, there’s little here that hasn’t been debated in the context of UK Garage, UK Funky and more, but it makes for entertaining listening – there’s no one who vents quite like Marcus Nasty, after all. Oh, and keep listening to the end for a #rare appearance by Rinse FM boss Geeneus, who speaks total sense on the issue.
Check the debate here, and stream ‘Up & Down’ below.