Welcome to Newham Generals: a grime duo so hype, Dizzee Rascal signed them personally. Coming from Newham, a borough in east London - the Generals are comprised of Footsie and D Double E.
Signed to the Dizzee's Dirtee Stank label, they represent a new era in the expansion of the UK street sound known as grime. Want proof? Check their mixtape, "Welcome to Newham Vol 1" produced in conjunction with underground dons Lord of the Decks. And if you can wait long enough until Dizzee's third album, you'll find Newham General productions on there too.
Dizzee fans will already know D Double E, the uniquely-voiced MC who supplied the hook on Dizzee's 2004 club banger "Give U More". Dizzee and D Double had known each other for years, since meeting on pirate station Flava FM in 1999. When Dizzee approached D Double about his solo material, he discovered the rich seam of material the Generals had been working on.
The then trio formed late in 2003, graduating from grime's legendary NASTY Crew, once also home to Kano. Growing up in Newham, Footsie and D Double were close neighbours and D Double and Monkey went to school together. They all lived along the same road in Newham...and do they still? "Of course man", laughs Footsie. "Otherwise Newham Generals would be false advertising!"
Footsie laughs a lot, but on the mic he's ferocious yet unmistakable. Each of the Generals have individual and different lyrical flows not a given with some MCs and Footsies is gruffer than gruff. Monkey's is rigid and clipped. D Double's is fluid and mangled. Imagine their flows were voices: Monk's would be German, Footsie's would be Russian and Double would be speaking in tongues! Footsie has his own analogy: "we are like different grades of weeds: all good."
Their name came from a trademark D Double lyric describing himself as a Newham General from day. Given their shared location, it was the perfect moniker. Each of them are individually well known in the grime scene, in particular Footsie for his big Scars riddim featuring Wiley and D Double who had a slew of underground anthems including star bars on Skepta's "Thuggish Ruggish",Terror Danjah's "Cock Back" as well as his own "Signal"
D Double is a remarkably original MC. His trademark flow, where words become mangled and syllables ooze like molten lava, was developed as early as 2001 long before there was such thing as grime. Now everyone knows his sonic calling card: "me!". "One day I affected it, explains Double of the expression. "People kept telling me there were feeling it. Now there's bare MCs with pure different noises."
Since signing to Dirtee Stank, the Generals have been on UK tour with BBC 1Xtra's Semtex, Dizzee and fellow label mates Klass A. The move was a success with new fans converted to the bassy, experimental Newham sound. This unique sonic signature - tough yet emotive, deep yet exhilarating is a direct reflection of what it's like to live in Newham.
"The ends is harsh," explains Footsie. "There's a lot of crime going on in Newham. The MP got robbed at the train station. "Welcome to Newham, where's your fucking Rolex? There's clubs that don't get started til 1am that go on until the following day. There's a lot of them tucked away illegal gambling houses."
This urban culture is reflected on their forthcoming mixtape "Welcome to Newham Vol 1" and their debut artist album "Generally Speaking." The latter should prove a landmark: the first album to both accurately represent the grime scene in its true form and to present it to the whole of the UK.
And after they've dropped their mixtape, artist album, made some music for Dizzee's new album and toured the UK, Newham Generals have some plans to build an empire.
"I saw the new Monopoly board and Forest Gate is on it," laughs Footsie. "I aint gonna front, it's on the cheap side just past the blue bits on the jail corner. Im gonna buy Forest Gate, build it up and make it worth something. "Newham Generals: hot property".
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