Dubplate culture, although enviable for its sentimental value, is an exclusive one; the result of this being that many tunes never actually get a full release. Example: the VIP of Giant's banger 'Drumstick' was, when first played out, generally hailed as one of the best VIPs to be produced. Obviously, DJs and fans across the country begged for its release, but to no avail. The original tune was put out on Hench and that, it still seems, was that. However, there are definite positive aspects to this which must be noted. Firstly, the dubplate format is cheap enough to encourage producers to be more prolific and, furthermore, put much of their output onto wax to be played out by whoever is lucky enough to be getting a steady supply of these 'plates: this keeps the scene fresh. Secondly, hearing tunes played out on dubplate raises anticipation for tunes getting a full release; and these first few months of 2010 are looking ripe for such releases:
Kryptic Minds - Badman / Distant
Since the first airing of the smoke-drenched vocal that introduces this tune, 'Badman' has been on the wishlists of any and all fans of a deep, threatening bassline. The fact that N-Type, arguably the best tune selector in the game, chose to open his mix for Rinse 09 with it is testament to its weight. Yet, it did not make an appearance on 'One Of Us' (Kryptic Minds' outstanding LP released late last year on CD and to be pressed to 3-piece vinyl for early 2010). Dissapointment was not to be shouldered for long, though, as 'Badman', it was announced, was to be given its own release shortly after the album. Bad pressing, however, forced postponement on the release until early 2010 which, unless we are very much mistaken, is now. So: ears to the ground for this one.
Rude Kid - Electric
This one's on a grime flex, but is surrounded by similarly vague release news. Featuring as the instrumental for Scorcher's 'Spartan Gang', this tune can be heard in use as an instrumental countless times on any grime radio show. Despite the Kid's trademark "are you ready?" sample making consistent appearances in grime sets, he is also notorious for keeping his tunes to himself and putting very few out on general release. 'Electric', however, has been flagged for release this month on No Hats No Hoods. So: ears to the ground for this one.
Hatcha & N-Type Present: The Croydon Dubheadz Pt.II
Less ambiguity about this one, but certainly more anticipation as Hatcha (with easily one of the most upfront boxes around) and N-Type (also with a steady stream of dubplates coming his way) collaborate again for the second installment of 'The Croydon Dubheadz'. With the first installment housing its fair share of exclusives from some of the scene's biggest producers, the second looks to continue this idea. Hatcha revealed that the forthcoming double-pack will feature tracks from: Skream, Loefah, Hatcha, Kromestar, Lost, LD and Cluekid. Whilst lips have remained tight as to which tracks will appear, both Hatcha and N-Type have exercised their exclusive rights in playing tunes from the double-pack on their radio on shows on Kiss and Rinse FM respectively: Cluekid puts forth another unique blend of spacious, squelchy bass with a tune which apparently combines his early 'Toadstep'-era tunes with his more recent junglist output; Kromestar has, it would appear, found the middle ground between the deeper, ambient sounds of 'My Sound' with the thinner, more aggressive textures of his 'The Other Syde' collection; Hatcha's effort is a dark stomper in the form of a tighter, heavier take on tunes such as Coki's 'Goblin'. According to N-Type, pressing is now complete and the double-pack waits now on artwork and distribution only. So: ears to the ground...