2 RUFF, Vol. 1

2 RUFF, Vol. 1

“We wanted to write a selection of tracks that we could play in the nightclubs week in, week out, and hopefully get a wheel up with,” Saul Milton tells Apple Music about Chase & Status’ second mixtape 2 RUFF, Vol. 1. “These tracks are all basically dance-floor bangers, aimed to play in the raves, to give to DJs—and hopefully, [D’n’B DJ] Andy C will play it on a Friday night.” For over a decade, the UK hitmakers have dished out game-changing tracks fusing aggression, emotion, and songwriting mastery. This project serves up 10 tracks that span generations of artist and genre, from the UK and further afield. Tagging along for this breakneck ride, rappers—including MIST, Stefflon Don, and ArrDee—add expansive crowd-pleasers to their repertoires alongside D’n’B kingpins Trigga, Flowdan, and IRah. “We’ve been making a lot of rap, drill, and Jersey [club], really engulfed in those scenes, you’ll hear a lot of those sounds on this tape,” says Milton. “A lot of these voices you haven’t heard on drum ’n’ bass, and you certainly wouldn’t expect to hear on these songs.” Here, Chase & Status (Milton and Will Kennard) take us through each track on 2 RUFF, Vol. 1. “Selecta” (feat. Stefflon Don) Saul Milton: “We often test tunes out in the clubs to see if they’re going to work, and this track has been an intro to our [live] set for a long time. We were working with Steff for her record when we wrote this track, but ended up using those vocals here. I’ve always wanted to use the sample from Ashanti’s [2004 single] ‘Only U,’ so we replayed that. It’s got a real feel of grandeur to it, and it nods back to an era where we really fell in love with music of all genres.” Will Kennard: “R&B crossed over with jungle all the time back in the day—it’s why we fell in love with jungle all those years ago. Loads of bootlegs, of course, nothing was cleared. So trying to bring back that feel into a more contemporary drum ’n’ bass sound was the idea here.” “Liquor & Cigarettes” (with Hedex) (feat. ArrDee) SM: “How this track came about couldn’t be further from how it ended, really. We’ve been doing a lot of production for other people in all genres: rap, trap, Jersey, drum ’n’ bass, you name it. Preparing to work with ArrDee, we had a whole folder of 25, 30 different drill loops. About 20 minutes before, we realized it’s the last thing he’s going to want to do. And we were right, he turned up and wanted to make drum ’n’ bass. He actually spat his lyrics on the drum ’n’ bass as you hear it, tempowise, with the same beat patterns. He had actually seen Will DJing in Ibiza and Brighton in the past, so very quickly we caught a vibe. He just got it and understood.” “Baddadan [Extended Mix]” (with Bou) (feat. IRah, Flowdan, Trigga & Takura) SM: “I love the fact that one of our best performing tunes of all time hasn’t got the crazy, expensive features on there. We’ve got IRah, Trigga, Flowdan, people from the scene for years—and we’ve got Takura, who we’ve been on the circuit with for so long. Initially, we put together a dancehall-sounding track with [Manchester DJ and producer] Bou, who is one of the most exciting names in drum ’n’ bass right now. Then IRah laid his verse. What IRah does is, he lays down loads, and at the very end, comes with an absolute moment of magic. So, after 25 minutes he just said, ‘Baddadan,’ and we were like, ‘Oh my word, what have we got here?’” “Massive & Crew” WK: “We wanted this mixtape to feel a bit more raw and not necessarily rely on the big vocals for every song, we wanted to make stuff for DJs, clubs, and club culture. We first played this track at the ‘Baddadan’ launch party with Bou, a small event in London. And when we tested it out, Bou just looked at me and went, ‘What the fuck’s this?’ Those little moments, those are things that you look for as a DJ and a producer.” SM: “But that’s not always the case. The first time we played ‘Pieces’ in 2008 [at The End in London], it didn’t go down well at all—people had never really heard a folky, emo song drop into a drum ’n’ bass tune, but that went on to be a big track for us. The same with [2011 single] ‘Blind Faith,’ arguably our biggest-ever song. The first time I played it at Eden [in Ibiza] in 2010, it bombed!” “Say the Word” (feat. Clementine Douglas) SM: “I think it’s really nice how this starts dark and deep, but really musical. It’s a massive moment, this huge vocal—and it could go further into this really beautiful song, but it switches.” “On the Block” (with Mozey) (feat. Savo & Horrid1) SM: “Drill music is so much about where you’re from. And so the areas, even in different areas of London, your accent comes through so strongly. I was really impressed with how [CGM members] Horrid1 and Savo were in the studio. Obviously their content, what they’re talking about, is quite mad and very far from our lives. But in terms of being in the studio, we’re simply hearing their voices like instruments.” “2Ruff” (feat. Takura) WK: “Takura is the dream vocalist to work with because he’s a bit of a chameleon: he can go from sounding like an African witch doctor to a really soulful R&B singer, or an Afrobeats singer. He’s really flexible with his voice, but also his attitude. He’s not precious about ideas and has an incredibly creative mind.” “Get Got” SM: “This one doesn’t have the biggest story really. It’s a straight dance-floor tune, made for the clubs. It changed shape a few times, and we tested it out loads over the year, and it worked really well. It’s the epitome of what this tape is about: tunes for the dance floor.” “Tough Talk” (feat. Kwengface) WK: “We didn’t do a session with Kwengface for this record. Our manager just sent us a folder of Kweng vocals—and it’s pretty sweet really from a producer standpoint, getting vocals like that from such an interesting artist. We managed to just find a nice section, chop it up, make it sound a bit more electronic. But I think, in the future, doing a session with him, you’d probably end up crafting more of a vocal-laid song.” “20 Man Down” (feat. MIST & IRah) SM: “Back in the day, you wouldn’t necessarily get someone with a Brummie accent having such a big hold of the rap game. MIST is a bit of a UK legend now. He’s really incredibly talented, and we produced [‘Damage’] on his debut album, Redemption. While we were doing the track we said, ‘Look man, we need you to 100 percent do something for us.’ And he was keen to do something drum ’n’ bass. All the musical elements you hear were basically in a rap beat to begin [with]. We just took all the music out of the rap beat, flipped it to a drum ’n’ bass track.”

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