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The Ruthless Rap Assassins

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Manchester, England-based, and self-styled ‘North Hulme’ sound sculptors comprising Dangerous ‘C’ Carsonova (vocals, turntables), MC Kermit Le Freak (vocals) and Paul Roberts (guitar). Ruthless Rap Assassins formed in that district in the mid-80s, earning their reputation via local gigs. They were signed by EMI Records in 1987 after they had heard their debut single, ‘We Don’t Care’. Placed on the Syncopate subsidiary, the first result was the Killer Album, whose ‘Go Wild’ effectively sampled Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’. Even better was ‘The Dream’, which utilised the funked up groove of Cynade’s ‘The Message’ to underpin this tale of West Indians moving to England in the 50s, and the subsequent dashing of their hopes and spirits. The militant aesthetics of Killer Album came as something of a shock to those who still considered such daunting music the preserve of inner-city Americans. The follow-up selection, however, cut much deeper. Tracks like ‘Down And Dirty’ proved an effective parody of rap’s pre-occupation with matters sexual, while ‘No Tale, No Twist’ observed some clever jazz touches. The group remained inventive and militant, the single ‘Justice (Just Us)’, proving a particularly defiant swipe at the majority white populace. Though they split afterwards owing to record label and public indifference, the Ruthless Rap Assassins’ legacy as the first worthwhile UK hip-hop band remains.

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