D Double E and Footsie are ‘Newham Generals’. As Grime scene veterans, they are among the most respected and critically acclaimed underground acts in the UK today, having consistently forged new styles and concepts throughout a career spanning three decades.
Signed as Dirtee Stanks’ flagship act in 2006, the Generals have shirked riding on Dizzee Rascal’s coattails. Instead, the Forest Gate duo have focused on making the music that gained them notoriety on London’s pirate airwaves, continuing a legacy that has already yielded underground classics such as ‘Prangman’, ‘Tetsuya’s Theme’ and the devastating ‘Frontline.’
When not in the studio cooking up heat, the pair have toured relentlessly, having supported Dizzee on numerous European and worldwide tours. Opening his sell-out shows across the UK, the Gens have consistently built their repertoire and continue to push their music forward. As D Double E elaborates:
“Every piece of music we have written is something we could go and perform… lively…[it’s] always about making straight bangers.”
Indeed, debut album ‘Generally Speaking’ (released in 2009) surpassed many fans’ and critics’ expectations with its wide, electro-fuelled sound – a melting pot of styles and pattern. Promoted via a series of controversial Internet virals’ and featuring some of the most revered verses from their pirate radio career, ‘Generally Speaking’ was a pivotal moment in Grime – it proved it was possible to widen the Grime sound without compromising its hard edge.
Lead single ‘Head Get Mangled’, with its Prodigy-esque production, classic lyrics and creepy accompanying video (featuring a terrified Adam Deacon), was a statement of intent as much as a release. With ‘Generally Speaking’, the new Gens sound went truly international. From a small pocket of East London the Generals have taken Grime and Dubstep all over the world (Europe, North & South America) recruiting an army of ardent supporters in the process.
The pair had turned D Double E’s “You’re known in the hood and I’m known international” lyric from mere braggadocio into fact.
With their profile elevated, D Double E and Footsie soon found producers clamouring to collaborate with them. Breakage (protégé of Drum & Bass legend Shy FX) managed to pin them down first for the Dubstep Banger ‘Hard’, a vocal version of his David Rodigan-sampled ‘Together’ instrumental. This sparked an explosion of vocalled-Dubstep and is considered as one of the defining breakthrough Dubstep records of 2009. In 2010, the group began working on their follow up album, as well as their own solo projects; D Double E blazed into the charts after vocalling the inimitable Swerve production ‘Street Fighter Riddim’ whilst Footsies’ collaboration with recent Mercury Records signing Maveric Sabre on the melodicd/dubstep fused production “Inside”, has taken his production credential to a mainstream audience.
Today, as Grime MC’s soften their music in light of renewed mainstream interest, the Generals stand firm – continually versioning the biggest underground beats and working with some of the biggest and most credible producers in the UK. Their most recent release, the ‘Bag of Grease E.P’, shot straight to No.2 in the i-Tunes Hip Hop chart, heralding a new and exciting era in UK urban music – one without compromise.
With Footsies’ instrumental release and producer album in the works, D Double’s ‘Bluku Bluku’ project, not to mention the next Newham Generals album on the way, they have more than enough ammunition to accomplish their vision. Imagine, Dee’s idiosyncratic ‘echo’ vocals and Footsies’ call-and response rhymes, currently treasured nuances of Dubstep and Grime scenes, becoming staples of the UK urban sound scape…
Newham Generals are foundation, and if you don’t think so – you soon will be.