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The Blackout Crew

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Described as "Middle England's worst nightmare," teenage phenomenon the Blackout Crew are responsible for introducing the U.K. to the genre of donk, a headache-inducing fusion of thumping techno, happy hardcore, and fast-paced hip-hop. The group, which consists of MCs Kurtis Chadwick (Viper), Robert Davis (Rapid), Kevin Allison (Dowie), Jordan Cover (Cover), and Zak Kabbani (the imaginatively titled Zak), formed at a lottery-funded youth project in Bolton in 2005. Influenced by the Hi-NRG happy hardcore sounds of the North West club scene, they began writing their own material, and after distributing their demos through various social networking sites, they signed to influential dance label All Around the World in 2007. Following an extensive under-18s U.K. tour, they released their first single, "Put a Donk on It," which despite a lack of any mainstream media attention clocked up over a million views on YouTube. In 2009 they released their debut album, Time 2 Shine, a cartoonish fusion of mobile ringtones, Willy Wonka samples, and old-skool acid rave, which charted at number 41, and teamed up with 2004 Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller for an unlikely collaborative exhibition at the Manchester International Festival. ~ Jon O'Brien

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