In just over 4 weeks, 2022 has already brought in some great music from the Dubstep fraternity. Now, the deal sweetens with the return of the legendary duo, Skream & Benga, after 19 long years apart!
Following a surprise announcement from Oliver Jones, aka Skream, on January 8, 2022, the Dubstep community has been a-buzz with anticipation for the Skream & Benga recoupling that is to come. The tweet teased a reunion, with Jones laying down words of praise for his used-to-be and soon-to-be partner-in-tune:
Just letting you know. @iambenga is fucking back and I’m warning if you thought you was an even half decent producer or songwriter you’re in for a shock ?
One of the best to ever do it mate
— Oliver Jones (@I_Skream) January 8, 2022
The genre’s earliest vibe scientists released their last collaborative material in 2003 for ‘The Judgement. After touring extensively in the early 2010s, Skream left the genre to explore the lands of House and Disco, while Benga took an indefinite break from music, making occasional appearances in 2016 and 2018.
Benga, aka Adegbenga Adejumo, started making music when he was 14. By the age of 24, he was already pioneering the Dubstep genre, while steadily ousting the UK Garage sound from Britain’s club circuit.
To listeners in 2022, Benga’s releases from 2002 and 2018 are indistinguishable. They could’ve been released yesterday, and you wouldn’t know the difference! That is the beauty of Benga’s progressive style of music, which, coupled with Skream’s own elite sensibilities, make for a duo of epic proportions.
In anticipation of their return, we thought of taking a trip down the memory lane by revisiting five of Benga’s iconic tunes, in our opinion. This should get you hyped for his return!
BENGA – SKANK[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlUfIFbCF5c]
During Dubstep’s formative years, Big Apple Records’ influence on the scene was unparalleled. Run by John Kennedy, Arthur Smith and DJ Hatcha, Big Apple was the first label to release tracks by Benga, Skream and the Digital Mystikz. ‘Skank’ was Benga’s first release as a Dubstep producer in 2002, and it was with this release that the producer cemented his potential within Dubstep, the world over.
Fun Fact: Big Apple’s inceptive name was Apple Records before The Beatles threatened to sue them for having the same label name as theirs.
BENGA & KANO – FOREFATHER[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AztXQjgPk0]
Controlled aggression, deep sounds and steady progression was the beauty of peak Benga’s dubstep, and this tune with Kano is testament to the fact. Part of the Croydon-based artist’s second studio album ‘Chapter II’, ‘Forefather’ reminded the Dubstep world of Benga’s supremacy within Dubstep. We still pray every night for this style of Dubstep to resurface, which will hopefully happen with Benga’s return.
You may also like: Skream & Benga To Make A Return This Year
BENGA – I WILL NEVER CHANGE[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKFGrg–Cc4]
When Skream tweeted about Benga’s return, he described Benga as “one of the best to ever do it”. This track provides context to compliment, because its easy to see why Skream regards his best mate as one of the best to grace the bass music game. Once again, controlled aggression and steady progression, but this time, Benga takes the listener on a proper sonic ride.
BENGA – CRUNKED UP[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB5UZOLZaJ4]
This is how Dubstep was supposed to be. This is how Dubstep was meant to be. ‘Crunked Up’ is a lesson from Benga for producers who want to make Dubstep, and make it in Dubstep. This tune is generational and, in our opinion, nests comfortably amongst the best Dubstep tunes to have ever been made. ‘Crunked Up’ debuted on on the legendary Dubstep label, Tempa, and features raw melodies, hyperclean basslines, and loud bass noises. Bring back the old times already!
BENGA & COKI – NIGHT[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHDvybumHAk]
Peak Dubstep music is how where we’d place this tune. ‘Night’ with Coki made its debut as part of Benga’s first studio album ‘Diary of an Afro Warrior’. From the celebrated Digital Mystikz collective, Benga delivered one of the biggest tunes that the genre has come across in the last two decades, at least. The effective simplicity ‘Night’s eerie sound scaping is what sets this tune apart, and it still refuses to leave DJ sets after 14 years since its release.
Now that we’ve turned your gears enough, go ahead and hop onto the hype train, and get ready for some explosive Dubstep coming your way from Skream & Benga!