What Went Right With… Pure Genius?

What Went Right With... UK Hip-Hop group Pure Genius? An image of Nottingham by whatwentrightwith.comThere was an abundance of credible Hip-Hop being created in the UK during the mid-to-late nineties but unfortunately most of it was relegated to the underground. Case in point; Pure Genius, a group from Nottingham consisting of DJ Fever and Big Trev, in my opinion they were like a UK Blahzay Blahzay. In 1995 they released one hell of an underrated single which contained the tracks “Unbelievable” and “Undercover”. The songs were produced by Viking Productions and both were head-nodding, golden era gems, but like lots of 90’s UK Rap, you’ll rarely hear anybody speak about them.

The track “Unbelievable” featured a sample from Keith Murray’s “The Most Beautiful Thing In The World” (namely the line “Word is bond, I’m kicking rhymes ’til the A.M. vultures swarm”) and it was an impressive song with a bumping rhythm…

“Undercover” was another classic, it was a fantastic track which featured a sample from Lord Finesse’s “S.K.I.T.S.”, even to this day when I hear the line “If you ain’t from the ghetto this is undercover, shit is real like a motherfucker” it gives me goosebumps…

Then in 1996 Pure Genius released an EP titled “Law Of The Land” and it continued the band’s formula of making New York influenced beats and rhymes, and adding hardcore East Coast rap samples during the chorus. The stand out tracks from the EP were “Here We Go (Remix)” which contained a sample from Blahzay Blahzay’s “Danger” (the line “On some proper shit and it will never be the opposite”) and “Story To Tell” which featured a sample from Fat Joe’s “Success” (“For every shell that fell, there’s a story to tell”)…

Both joints from the group’s first single had the ability to become a hit, hell, any one of them alone could have been a one-hit wonder, but the fact that Pure Genius were slept on (along with numerous other UK Hip-Hop artists at the time) it left me wondering what the fuck was going on with the rap game. The further we got in the nineties it seemed that more and more talent was being suppressed or ignored and slowly the genre was being replaced by lame MC’s making corny shite. If music like Pure Genius’ first single was better promoted, one or both of these tracks could have become minor hits especially in the Hip-Hop charts, and although this single is now looked upon with fondness by both vinyl collectors and old-school fans alike, it’s now an uphill struggle to get Rap music back to where it was in the nineties. Maybe if we remind all these so-called fans what real Hip-Hop used to sound like, perhaps we could jump-start this genre into making great music again. Because if we leave it to the masses to tell the story of the old-school, they’ll undoubtedly omit great music like this. I mean, does no one else think it’s strange that everybody remembers stuff like The Outhere Brothers but nobody remembers Pure Genius?


2 replies »

  1. What are your thoughts on Triple Darkness? They are UK’s version of the Wu Tang Clan. They recently released an album called Darker Than Black. They are easily the best rappers in the UK right now.

    • Yes they’ve definitely been the best UK rappers since the noughties – you’ve heard me mention Cyrus Malachi before, he’s a member of Triple Darkness with M9, Iron Braydz, Blasphemy, Ray Vendetta, Tesla’s Ghost, Crown Nectar, Solar Black aka Phoenix Da Icefire, Ringz Ov Saturn, Black Prophet, Bad Company. They made an album called Anathema which was also great.

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